Lily Dale

So, Leif ordered me a book, “Lily Dale,” by Christine Wicker.  It’s about the Spiritualist community in upstate New York that has existed since the 1800’s.  Apparently in the summer, swarms of people descend on the town to talk to their dead loved ones.  It was interesting–less of a history than the author’s experience with New Agey stuff.  The author could believe some stuff, but not all of it, not even most of it.  But here are some neat quotes that I wanted to save:

 That’s how it is, and that’s how it has always been.  Those who must see to believe don’t believe enough to see.  And those who believe enought to see won’t stop believing, no matter what they see.

I didn’t believe it all.  No, I didn’t.  But I could.  I had permission now, enough proof that I could believe anything that seemed real to me.  Just to me.  I didn’t have to prove it to the rest of the world. . . the world is full of wonder.  I was less afraid.  Work was easier.  All failure was temporary.  Everything counted to the good.  Lessons that I learned late were as valuable as lessons I learned early because I had all eternity to use them.

She said I was intent on a question, but it was the wrong question.  Instead of asking whether I should be doing this, I ought to be thinking about how to make it fit with other things that I valued, such as family and friends.  She never said what “this” was.

After Life

There’s a movie I saw a long time ago called “After Life.”  From Wikipedia:

Koreeda’s After Life is set in a waystation where the souls of the recently deceased are processed before entering heaven. “Heaven,” for the film, is a single memory from one’s life.

The movie is set in a structure resembling a decrepit travel lodge. A group of people who have just died check in at the beginning of each week, and the “social workers” resident in the lodge explain to each guest their situation. The newly-dead have until Wednesday to decide what the single happiest or most significant memory from their life is, and then for the rest of the week the workers make short movies to recreate each person’s chosen memory.

At the end of the week, the movies are shown in the screening room. As soon as each person sees his or her own memory, he or she vanishes to whatever unknown state of existence lies beyond and takes only that single memory with them into eternity.

That movie has stayed with me over the years.  Sometimes I will think about what I’m doing in the present and judge it—would this memory be one to keep?  Today, I was sorting papers in the bedroom.  Rowan came in and came up onto the bed.  She found my little skeins of embroidery thread and started draping them around my neck.  I couldn’t have been happier.  The feel of her little hands as she carefully tied each thread, the heat of her breath as she concentrated working on her little project.  It was such a little thing, a day in the life, yet so sweet.  Touch is so precious.  I kiss and hug her all the time, but when she reciprocates, I am filled with joy.  I am so in love with that girl.

I remember one of the things that surprised me when I became a mother is how sensual babies are.  Nobody likes to say things like that for fear it will be mistaken for sexual feelings.  But having a baby is like having a lover, you want to be with them and close to them all the time.  They occupy your thoughts.  It’s sad, but our society is so limited in that we think of love as either sexual or non sexual, but that doesn’t begin to encompass the nuances of the emotion.  I want to hold Rowan all the time, kiss her, hug her, that touch is important to me.  I know the smell of her breath and scent of her hair, the light pressure of her fingertips.  And I enjoy the closeness I have with her now, because by the very definition of growing up, she will grow away from me for a time.


I had a dream last night that Leif and I had bought a new house right near campus. (A fictional campus) It had no garage, so I worried a little about that. And it was smaller that what I was used to, but it had a little indoor stage and curtain so that one could put on plays. I thought, that’s interesting; it would be cool for Rowan. Despite the smallness of the house, the stage was about 9 feet off the floor and I could see statues and gargoyles stowed in the back. I realized the only way to get up there was to climb up the left hand wall and then swing sideways to the stage. But I was too scare to climb up, I was afraid that I’d fall off.

It’s interesting, because I’ve had a number of dreams about houses, it keeps coming up. Usually they’re huge, beautiful, and I think “I can’t believe I was finally able to afford a big house”. But there’s usually something wrong with them. Continue reading “Dreams”


This morning I was listening the radio and they were playing U2’s “Window on the Sky”. It’s really catchy, and Rowan started singing to it, though she knows none of the words. It made me so happy to have her in my life. She brings such light and life to my existence.

We went and saw Sadira on Saturday night. Rowan was pretty well behaved. We went out with Christy and her 2 boys, Noah and Isaac. Boys are pretty funny. They were a bit bored, but luckily there was a paper tablecloth, so we got out some crayons. They started drawing, but in the end it was all destruction. “Here’s the world. . .and it’s DESTROYED.” Leif would then draw a tree, and say “What about this tree?” At which one of them would promptly scribble it out and say, “It’s DESTROYED.” Apparently, the world, and the entire universe are DESTROYED. Watch out, Bill and Olya. This is gonna be you.

Musings at 3:00

Late post, but last Thursday night/Fri morning, Rowan woke up at 3:00 am. I think she had kicked off her covers and she wanted a drink. So I got her a drink and tucked her back in, and as I was putting the milk away, I notice the edges of the curtains were glowing in the living room. I went and peeked out the curtains and the whole backyard was bathed in moonlight. With all the snow, it was incredibly bright. Everything was completely still, and shadow of the big tree by the house lay across the snow like a huge spider. If I knew how to use our manual camera better, I would have taken a picture (f-stop, anyone?) but all I could do was commit to memory. And if it hadn’t been freezing, I would have gone outside. It was just a perfect winter night, a perfect prussian sky.

There is something about the silence of the night, when everything is sleeping. The stillness. It’s strange to think of the moon circling and where will I be at 3:00 am in the midst of a winter night 10 years from now? Or 20? Or 50?

A memory to keep.