“Beauty through my senses stole / I yielded myself to the perfect whole.”
Does anyone else find themselves increasingly disinterested in buying or picking flowers, only to watch them lose their luster, cloistered from the sun and the rain? During the angst of 2020, I read a poem by my man Ralph Waldo Emerson that spoke to this preference to immerse myself in Nature, rather than to package her up and take her home. In “Each and All”, he speaks of capturing the bird from the forest, and removing the shell from the shore, only to realize that — without the context of their natural surroundings — they suddenly please him less.
Around this time, I spotted an enormous, beautiful maple leaf on the grounds of the Virginian countryside resort where Chuck and I spent our 10-year wedding anniversary. It was glistening from a recent rain shower. I picked it up and brought it to our room, then went about my day. Hours later, it had dried and sat looking lonely and crispy on the bedside table. Removed from the lush, dewy grass, the cool, misty air, it had suddenly lost its magic. I thought of Emerson’s poem, then.
I haven’t picked a flower or brought a seashell home since! These days, I prefer to meet them where they are – in the wild 🙂
Nothing is fair or good alone. I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven, Singing at dawn on the alder bough; I brought him home, in his nest, at even; He sings the song, but it pleases not now, For I did not bring home the river and sky; — He sang to my ear, — they sang to my eye. The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave Fresh pearls to their enamel gave; And the bellowing of the savage sea Greeted their safe escape to me. I wiped away the weeds and foam, I fetched my sea-born treasures home; But the poor, unsightly, noisome things Had left their beauty on the shore, With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.
Beauty through my senses stole; I yielded myself to the perfect whole.
I posted this image mostly because I love squirrels.
This is a rather new found love. Although I’ve always been an animal lover overall, squirrels didn’t necessarily make the cut at the top five — or even top ten — of animals with which I thought I would form a special bond. This is due in part to the fact that the last few places I lived, squirrels weren’t a part of the surrounding fauna. Here in the big city, they’re basically the entirety of local wildlife, and I can’t tell you how much joy they’ve brought me in this depressing year.
I also posted this image because the text is true. In fact, it’s underselling the extent to which I have blessings to count. This year has been hard for all of us, but my blessings are large and abundant. Not even remotely small.
I recently learned a rather poetic way of describing morning people vs. night people – are you an owl, or are you a lark?
While I’m not quite a night owl these days, I always wished I was a morning lark. I do enjoy mornings – once I’m already up. I struggle to get myself out of bed, and for no good reason. I get plenty of sleep, have very little to burden me in terms of responsibilities (i.e., no kids or dogs), and overall I am a healthy person. But when that alarm goes off, I just want to snooze some more. Five more minutes please!
It’s cliché but true – the ocean does wonders for both the body and soul.
When I lived in California, Okinawa, and North Carolina, I knew I took it for granted that I lived by the sea. I knew I would miss it when it was gone. I always appreciated it, and realized how special it was, but by the time I hit the one-year mark of living in DC, I was craving salty air and sandy toes something fierce.
Of course, the global pandemic has made every potential getaway more complicated and guilt-ridden than before. But when Chuck’s parents said they wanted us to join them for a few days in Kill Devil Hills, NC – and promised they felt comfortable exposing themselves to our cooties to such a degree – of course I jumped at the chance to escape.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by my man, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Earth laughs in flowers.” You can find it all over my social media profiles, and I even considered getting it tattooed somewhere on my body, I love it that much.
I’m sure no one is surprised, given my incessant floral photography and love for both Earth and laughter. I don’t even know how I found it, originally – probably on Pinterest, or something extra #basic like that. Although I knew it was an Emerson gem, I had only ever seen it standing alone — never within the context of a larger piece of writing. Until now!
Hey y’all. It’s been a minute. No, it’s been a YEAR. Except, wait. It’s only been just-over-half-a-year. Feels like decades, you know what I’m saying? But now I’m just being dramatic.
I don’t need to re-cap the debacle that has been 2020, but I do want to pop in to say that it’s time for a personal re-brand. If you’ve followed me a while, you know I went from Pink Piglette, to Bad Kitty, to Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake, to the Gypsy Kitty Diaries. Each rendition of me was right for the time and place in which I found myself. But this year, given my ongoing and imperfect attempts at self-improvement, I’ve decided to move on from Gyspy Kitty and tell my story through a new lens (or filter, if we truly want to keep this 2020.)
I hope that everyone reading this is actively engaging in social distancing, for the greater good. Your excuses of youth and vibrancy mean nothing to the elderly, the healthcare workers, the immuno-compromised, the asthmatic. Stay home, if you can.
I know, this is all so very, very strange. And I honestly hope that social distancing and quarantine will ultimately prove “alarmist.” But, I’d rather that be the case, than the alternative of under-reacting and increasing the number of illnesses and death.
The hardest part, in some ways, is that it’s springtime in DC! There are so many things I had planned, and now everything has been cancelled or closed. What that means is more time at home, and more time to write, share, reflect. Soon, I’ll share a much belated recap of my trip to Italy! And Utah! I’ll also likely share some thoughts on the virus and its various implications, because I certainly do have thoughts on the matter.
In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands, watch out for the more vulnerable, don’t go crazy at the supermarkets, and take your vitamins! Last but not least, enjoy these pretty photos of springtime in DC. Parks and gardens may be closed, but I am blessed to have magnolias, daffodils, and other blossoms in abundance in this sweet little Capitol Hill neighborhood 🙂
It’s pretty hilarious to look back on early evidenceof my journeytowards a plant-based lifestyle. There is plentiful hemming and hawing as I gradually convince myself to exploit animals less, making various justifications and exceptions along the way. Recently, I even stumbled upon my handwritten journals from high school, in which I lament the way vegetarians made me feel guilty for eating meat (early cognitive dissonance FTW!)
Even now, I am not 100% plant-based. I eat exclusively vegan at home, but make allowances when I’m at a restaurant, traveling, or a guest in someone’s home. In those instances, I typically compromise to vegetarian or pescatarian levels. In other words, I’m still working on it.
But, I am far more “radicalized” today than ever, and I speak up passionately for the cause. That said, I am perpetually conflicted about it. Not about veganism itself, but about my advocacy. There are days when I feel horribly guilty about “telling people what to eat” or about pressing my viewpoint on others. I remind myself that it’s less and less a matter of opinion. The more we learn about animal sentience, environmental degradation, health, global hunger, and climate change, the less we can dismiss veganism as a lifestyle choice or dietary preference. Now more than ever, it’s an existential and moral imperative. Continue reading →