On Being Okay With Dying

The steps for writing a poem are as follows:

1.  Don’t write a poem for a year or so, only use previously written poems when people ask you for one, and wallow for that year in your inability to write anything quality.  Feel crushed.  Consider becoming a stripper to pay the bills. Buy only lettuce to try to channel and bask in that “starving artist” mentality.  Give it up cuz lettuce sucks and eat an entire pizza.  Feel briefly and primally satisfied.

2.  Stay up way too late one night so your brain is a mess of emotions and words and stanzas.  Read Dickens.  Turn out the light and listen to your bird make his way over to his perch in the darkness.

3.  The inspiration comes: it’s often just one line that just makes you want to take your muse by the shoulders and whisper sweetly

you are brilliant you are

 

(because apparently I can’t get through a post without including a Doctor Who gif)

4.  Your heart rate increases dramatically.  Gotta get the adrenaline going in order to make the trek across your room to notebook and pencil.  Much to the annoyance of your bird, you turn on the lamp again.

5.  Then you write.  It’s like how whittlers say the shape of whatever they’re carving is already in the wood, and they’re just coaxing it out–in writing a poem, you want to feel around in the corners for every scrap of imagery and line that’s supposed to be a part of it (I’m very spiritual about this okay) and make sure it all gets there somewhere.

Usually at this stage my mind is 90 miles ahead of my hand and sometimes words get combined or even whole stanzas.  Afterward I have to go back and disentangle them.  The important thing is just getting everything down.

6.  Stay up for another hour or so, heart still racing, unable to sleep because you’ve penned the Great American poem,  you feel it, and won’t your mother be so proud?  (It’s midnight now so you can’t rush to her and brandish it under her nose.)

It’s always much worse when you wake up, but, eh, it’s something.

Without further ado, I guess: the poem I wrote last night.

***************************************************************

On Being Okay With Dying

Maybe, someday, kids everywhere are gonna have to memorize your name

cramming first and last, middle initial, basic life stats

down their throats the night before History finals.

 

Maybe, someday, you’ll be a scorch mark in a family ledger

that obscure branch of the tree your nieces can’t quite remember

because, as far as they can recall,

it bore no fruit.

 

Maybe you’ll crawl into bed with someone some night

and to them your smile will taste like lemonade spritzers, watermelon sangria

and your laugh is like orchard workers tossing apples to each other from the tops of ladders

The way you move to turn off the lamp is peach brush strokes on a gray canvas.

 

Maybe you’ll start spending too much time in cemeteries

swaddling yourself in black and buttons and a scarf thrown over your mouth

walking with the crows and mostly trying to avoid one grave in particular

because you know how you’ll scuff your toe along the empty plot next to it, thinking,

Mine.

And who’s to stop you digging into it now,

folding earth around you like the cloak of a magician

performing his final disappearing act?

 

Instead you waltz, alone

slowly and gimpily

the way they never quite managed to teach you.

You can see your breath suspended in the chill

and you start to laugh

because you’re quite literally dancing on your own grave

and then you stop because you wonder if it’ll still be funny

down on the receiving end.

 

Maybe, someday, they’ll dig up your diaries

and you’ll be a relic, and a legend

a little girl in a checkered dress

imagined in sepia,

scented like yellowing old books and dust and sunbeams in an abandoned house.

Not watermelon sangria.

 

Maybe they’ll dress like you and your friends

at a theme dance at a middle school.

 

Maybe you’ll do extraordinary things with your life.

 

Maybe you won’t.

 

Maybe you’ll go down in textbooks.

 

Maybe you’ll go down quietly in the obituary section of your town newspaper,

circulation 800,

like a late-summer peach no one notices shuddering and bumping to the ground.

 

Maybe someone catches you before you bruise;

maybe something comes along a few days later

and leaves

with sticky whiskers and paws.

**********************************************

So…that’s all, folks.  As always, things are ©The Girl in the Orange, BUT if you luuurve (or hate?) things then any feedback or sharing (via reblogging, Twitter, Tumblr, email, shouting from the rooftop of your school gymnasium, etc) is GREATLY appreciated.  I’m pretty serious about this writing thang; every bit of constructive criticism/exposure helps.  Happy Sunday! 🙂

On Sprites and Body Image

Remember when I talked about my year-long bird-training project last year? (Yeah…that went so well…)  Well, every student in my grade did this, and at the end of the year, every student had to give a presentation about their project. A lot of people created RPG video games.  (I think that’s what they’re called.  You know me, oh-so-knowledgable in the field of gaming; MMORPG looks like a weird onomatopoeic snort to me.)  During his presentation, one of these game designers said something that really resonated with me.  Yes, this was over three months ago–I’m not sure why I’ve sat on this idea for such a long time and deigned to post it–saving the topic for a rainy day, perhaps?  (If that was the case, I shouldn’t have waited this long.  It’s Washington, for cryin’ out loud…)  I think it was probably more along the lines of lack of conviction in what I would be saying.  My knees and the ensuing weight gain have made it tough to really have a positive body image lately, especially when I’m around the horserace-sleek cross-country team (no one tell them I described them as horses) or with some of my friends.  A lot of my friends are just naturally skinny.  They don’t starve themselves, think about it all that much, or even eat a particularly healthy diet.  😉  It’s just their physiology–so, good for them!

Bad for me.

As you guys know (since I tell you about it fairly regularly!), I’ve always been on the heavier side.  Being woefully vertically challenged doesn’t help matters.  And yeah, now that I can’t exercise as much or as hard as I would like to for fear of reinjury/stabbing pain, I’ve outgrown even my curvier frame and should probably nix with the desserts.  (Which I have been doing!  Saving my treats up for a big splurge on Friday, a la Carrots n’ Cake) Smile  And living in a location and zeitgeist obsessed with thinness, this is hard on me sometimes.  Probably because of my perfectionistic tendencies, my lack of ability to say “What the heck, no one’s judging me!” and let lie.  Body image (and “face image”, for that matter, if such a thing exists) has never been exactly one of my strong suits—but, back to RPG-guy’s quote!  I promise this all relates somehow!

Describing the creation of the characters in his video game, which are called “sprites”, RPG-guy (who will be referred to thusly henceforth for privacy reasons) said something along the lines of this:  “The basics of creating a sprite are this: first you choose the physical body for the sprite, the attributes and combat skills, general appearance, et cetera, and then you design a personality for the sprite—whether they’re hostile or docile, smart or…not-so-smart…skilled at forgery—you get the idea.  That’s really what’s going to determine how they navigate the game, how they get out of tight spots, once you program them into the storyline.”

Wow, you ask, how can this quote possibly relate to body image?  It doesn’t—at all—really, except I have this habit of chronically overthinking every single message my brain receives, and I was able to dig deep enough to find some metaphorical resonance within this. Open-mouthed smile

This was the quote that made me realize exactly what my body image problem was.  It wasn’t that my body was too big or didn’t look like everyone else’s—it was that I had a problem separating my sprite’s appearance from my sprite’s personality, mentally.  Body shame doesn’t result from a fear that people are going to judge our bodies, but a crazy irrational insecurity, a genuine terror that people will judge our personalities, our selves, based on the exterior we present to the world.  Up until this point, I had a definite problem realizing “body” and “self” are two totally different things!  I really like this quote from the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, (not that I’ve ever read the book, but it’s a pretty famous quote):

“You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”

So why do so many women (and men, for that matter), forget to take this into account?  Your sprite’s appearance might determine how easily it shoulders a bow, but it says absolutely nothing about how slyly it can negotiate a dangerous deal. Smile  (Just stick with the RPG theme here—I’m on a roll.)

Most importantly, you actually have the power to change your personality, though it takes work.  If you decide you’d like to be kinder, more perseverant, or mature, eventually you’ll be able to become that person you’ve always imagined yourself to be.  While you do have the power to change your body, to some degree, there’s a certain max-out point—the Sprite-creator in the sky, if you will, determines the basics of how you will look.  And most of us, given the choice, would probably gladly trade in the hand we were dealt for a different figure.  But we forget to recognize the most important part of our sprite Smile–the personality, all the wonderful memories and talents and kindness crowded up into our skulls.   Don’t overlook your skill with forgery! Winking smile You are not your body.  Your sprite is two happily independent parts that happen to be in a mutually beneficial relationship; the physical exterior of the sprite is simply the container for the personality, how the sprite is going to navigate in the virtual game world.  Of course, you can always choose to be proud of your sprite’s appearance, further enhancing said mutually beneficial relationship, but please, sprites everywhere, remember your programming.  You’re part of this convoluted storyline for a reason, and your role in your preprogrammed Valiant Quest has nothing to do with your appearance.  Have fun discovering what said Quest is.

 

Safe Haven

In lieu of a proper Poemography post this week (because those take WORK, and I’m kind of not willing to expend that right now #sorryimnotsorry), I’m going to spare a few minutes (or thirty) here rambling about magic places.  Magic, safe places.  Enchanted places.  Wonderful places.  Wondrous places.  See?  Ramble.

First there is the library.  There isn’t a card system, or any overdue fines, or any computers or organization system or even librarians, unless you count the moths and mice.  There’s a short, winding footpath that you take to get there.  There’s an American flag flapping outside.  This is the building where my parents married, and there are antlers affixed to the wall inside.

DSCN3796

It’s made of logs, like everything here.  There’s a few decrepit washing machines inside, a bucket of ping-pong paddles and balls but no table, and cushy moth-eaten daybeds.  There’s tables to be rolled out come the 4th of July, when everyone brings their famous Jell-O Salad Spectacular and their most festive garb.

There’s a typewriter with no paper or ink, on a table next to a hibernating Shop-Vac, for the kids to bang around on.  Including this kid.

DSCN3809

DSCN3810

Typewriters thrill my soul.

And this is the inside of the library.  It’s nothing much, but it’s everything.

DSCN3799

DSCN3803

DSCN3805

DSCN3800

DSCN3801

DSCN3802

DSCN3806

I found a Copyright-2006 book there today, which is an immense rarity.  Mostly these are 1950’s-70’s, at the latest.  They’ve all acquired that lovely and acrid and wholesome yellowing-book smell.  And mostly they aren’t literature books, but they’re books with character, books with backstory and history and so many varied noses inside of them, all laid out and free for the taking.  It’s like a home for misfit books, and I want to make all of them my babies.

Honestly, the fact that places like this still exist are what kindles my hope for the future.  Pictures can’t really capture the aura of the free-for-all run-down library.  It’s magic, and mysterious, and historic, and lovely.

Then there is the dock.  Nothing actually docks on this dock.  It’s T-shaped and floats in the middle of the oh-so-creatively-named Second Lake.

DSCN3731

And it’s rickety and creaky and bobby and old and overall not too structurally sound but you step onto it and suddenly you are The Focal Point of the World.

DSCN3755

DSCN3732

DSCN3742

There’s just no other way to describe it.  It puts you in your place.  You are small and the world is huge and beautiful and amazing and you better galdang appreciate that for the brief time you spend here.  And it’s quiet.  The kind of quiet that you literally can’t imagine after living in a city.  Sometimes people fly-fish, and then there’s that soothing skimming of the line, and there’s the trill of bird and the creak of the planks, but it’s silent.  In a way that really should be eerie, but is the exact opposite.  Peaceful.  Very peaceful.

DSCN3757

DSCN3750

DSCN3751

I meditated on it.  Which, really, what??  I know; not usually my thing.  I’m pretty high-strung and, to be honest, I revel in being high-strung.  It keeps the ideas flowing and the mind bouncing around so as not to dwell on any one thing for an inoptimal length of time.  But it felt like The Thing To Do, and kind of renewed my faith that there is A Thing “out there”, regardless of what that Thing may be.

Tepee (my cabin village) has always been my safe haven.  You can’t feel sad, or stressed, or pressured here.  There’s no one here you don’t know and there’s nothing really disturbing the peace and most importantly there’s no Society.  I blame the constructs of Society for a lot of life’s daily stress and problems, which is maybe not the most healthy or proactive attitude to have about life, but…being here just reinforces that belief system.  Here, a boy from another state that we didn’t even know randomly dropped by our cabin last evening to ask if he could play with Little Bro, because he’d seen him in the yard earlier.  Here perfect kid strangers strike up impromptu baseball games with one another—here even I can bond with someone over fort-building and minnow-grabbing.  I don’t have to be a high-performing teenage academic or any of the other labels that are inevitable slapped on me—I can revert to Wild Child status in its most innocent form, and romp in the stream at the base of a waterfall.

DSCN3787

Special-looking toes, grimy sweatpants, and all.

This is my safe haven.  It’s wonderful here.

DSCN3754

Allow Me

A poem I wrote, stumbling into my bed at midnight after the play’s cast party.  It’s dark…did I even have to say that?  But, like I said, that night was one of the best I’ve had in a long time; just because I wrote a dark poem does not mean I was in a dark mood!  I’m not quite sure how this is possible, but most of the adults in my life are skeptical of this–I promise, I was VERY happy.  In fact, I was HAPPIER after I wrote this!  It’s like bile; I need to get these little (or big) things out of my system through poetry in order to feel like I should.  In fact, here’s a shorter poem, a haiku, expressing this:

I spin my poems from

black thread; it keeps me smiling

at all other times.

 

Okay? 🙂  Okay.  So, now that you don’t fear for my emotional welfare:

 

Allow Me

Allow me this.  Please.

 

I am so, so tired

of trying to decide what’s a mask and what’s not

whether your smile conceals a thousand crooked years of weary agony,

and whether that’s something I can fix;

trying to figure out who I should be to them and who they are to me.

 

Why must so many people hide behind their makeup and their smiles?

 

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

 

How many anguished deaths occur every minute while I, naive to the things people lock away with their grins and hushed whispers,

dance on?

 

We are all contained inside

a bubble

of happiness now,

or at least

I think we are.

So allow me this.

Everyone’s smiling and laughing and singing and even if

the sobs are just being mistaken for giggles, let’s let ourselves be

swept up by this

This…

joy

free of suspicion,

not bound by skepticism or analysis, rationality

Please hug me and smile

Tell me you’re okay, but DO NOT LIE

I don’t think I could take it if you started speaking in those tongues they use

dry deception

 

Allow me this moment, please.

I need to believe people contain some truth.

 

 

(This poem was also published on my Figment channel.)

Letting Go of Perfect: I Doez It

(This post was originally written on February 11, 3013, but technical issues got in the way of actually posting it :).)

Throughout my years of blog-browsing and seven months of blog writing, I’ve picked up on a common, unspoken rule:

Bloggers, especially orange happy-happy-joy-joy bloggers like myself, should only post things that are inspiring to others and portray themselves as angelic, glorious role models.

NEWS FLASH I’m not.

While I think it’s important to have role models and like to think that there’s probably SOMEONE out there who looks up to me, I also believe that it’s inspiring in its own right when said role models talk candidly about their personality vices or things they struggle with.  (Don’t worry, this will all be relevant soon!) So…

Confessions of Le Girl in the Orange:

  1. I am master procrastinator l’extraordinare.
  2. I daydream in class.  Sometimes.
  3. I eat way more chocolate than can possibly be good for me.
  4. Sometimes I neglect my bird’s out-of-the-cage time in order for me to have free time.
  5. I’m majorly cynical sometimes.
  6. I tell lies.  (And that wasn’t one of them.)  Though never on the blog.  Blog is place for purity and honesty and awesomeness.

7.  (clears throat) “Um, hello everybody…My name is The Girl in the Orange, and I’m…a perfectionist.”

Everybody else at (Type A)non now: “Hi, The Girl in the Orange.”

I told you guys I was off taking a scholarship test.  And the English exam was pretty lemon-squeezy, and so was the first math exam, but the second math exam…well, to quote directly from my journal in the emotional aftermath:

“The math exam was actually kind of funny, in an FML kind of way.  I had painstakingly made sure to review all of my Geometry notes from the year, to prove to the admissions directors that I was ready for Algebra II next year–and the math exam turns out to be 1.5 hours of concentrated Algebra I.

EXPLETIVES (edited to add: Yes, I actually wrote “expletives”…)

The first test, I know I did all right, because the second one was wickedly harder.  (But I know I made a few errors due to nerves, which gave me an actual nightmare.)  Then, on the second test, I just wanted to be like (in the words of a former student at my school): “Don’t ask me about numbers!  I’m in Geometry, I draw triangles!” ALGEBRA I IS A YEAR IN THE DUST, PEOPLE.  LET’S NOT BE JUDGING OTHERS ON STUFF THEY LEARNED A YEAR AGO, NOW, NOT IF THEY’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO STUDY FOR THE TEST.

It was brain-blanking at its finest  (…) I left a whole entire PAGE of the test blank (…)

I know I should totally stop stressing about this, because there’s nothing I can change now, and stressing will make me pimply/chubby, and there’s probably some divine reason that I got whatever score I got–but I still ca’t help feeling that I might’ve blown something really big, just because of a lack of motivation to study (even though we weren’t supposed to…).  I don’t often “blow” really big things.  What’s worse, I might’ve blown this to blog and read for pleasure–immediately gratifying things, rather than focusing on success in the long run, which I’m USUALLY very good about, but…this sentence has too many commas.

Que sera, sera, I guess.

(dies a little)”

There you have it.  This probably sums up my thoughts on the matter quite nicely.  I’m both torn between a deep level of shame and #innerperfectionistwringinghishands, and a strange spiritual “What’s done is done” sort of attitude toward the whole matter.  The point is, it was not a good experience and I know it will continue to eat me alive until a weeks from now when my results will arrive.  (That rhymed…sigh…)

All my life I’ve been excessively perfectionistic.  In fact, I think pretty much every major emotional letdown I’ve faced has been caused by this (sad over moving because I don’t like “my groove” to be thrown off, crying over test scores because I missed a point, freaking out over the fact that I can’t run anymore because that will mean I’m not “perfectly” healthy, etc.).  And now…this happens…something so important, and yet I let myself down…

I want to make this a journey.  By the time my exam results arrive, I want to be able to say that I’m at total peace with whatever the contents of the envelope may be, and be content either way.  Life is full of awesomeness and mistakes, and I can’t let either of those things in the past continue to overshadow my future.  After all, I’ve got TONS of other things I can be focusing on at this very moment (homework perhaps?); hopefully enough to keep me distracted until Judgement Day.

Most of all, I want to just…accept my humanity.  That sounds frighteningly hippie-like, but truly accepting myself is something I’ve struggled with my whole life; I mean, yeah, it’s super easy to accept the AWESOME parts of me, but what about my flaws?  The things that separate me cleanly from my heavenly relatives and make me human?  And alive?

The fact that yeah, okay, I didn’t study for that test as hard as I should have?  The fact that I am Socially Awkward with a capital S and A?  The fact that I’m heavier than most girls my age?  The fact that I write dark poetry?  The fact that chocolate makes me break out like an escapist jailbird but I could never give it up?  THE FACT THAT I WILL NEVER, EVER, TRULY MEET MY STANDARDS OF “PERFECT”?

Could I maybe even accept the fact that I have an insanely difficult time accepting these things?  Whoah, paradox alert.

By now, I’ve probably incorporated much more philosophy into a math test than is probably healthy, but I can accept that. 🙂  This test does not define me and it’s actually most likely a much smaller deal than I’m making it out to be.  I’ll let you guys know my results at the end of…(cue hippie sitar music) the journey.

Fellow perfectionists, will you join me? 🙂

Final Entry of the Positive Poetry Project

So…this is it.  This is the post I’ve been prepromoting all week, the poem I’ve described as the epitome of this challenge, the pinnacle of positive poetry–a poem about happiness itself.

I actually wrote this one a couple months ago; believe me, I’ve TRIED to write a better poem about happiness, but at the moment, in the mix of all my adolescent fervor, I’m gosh-darn confused about what happiness is, exactly–this poem explores that confusion in the least negative way possible.  (You should have seen the other ones I was writing…)

Also, this poem is SUPPOSED to and NEEDS to be spoken word, and it is very much bugging me that it’s not at the moment.  I AM looking into audio hosters that would allow me to embed it in here, but for some reason the very thought of posting my voice on the internet makes me feel quite vulnerable.  There is also the indisputable fact that I will hate how it sounds if I DO upload it–recordings of your voice never sound right, know what I mean??

Without further ado…

Science

We study fear

and isolation, depression, death

so we have data to turn to in our most desperate hours

some small thread of logic that feels soothing to weave into the folds of our brains

 

We study terror

if only because that thread will stitch us back to a state in which we no longer have to analyze

 

When you are drunk with love you don’t want to think of

the hormones coursing through you, the biological need for reproduction

because perhaps,

you think,

just perhaps,

it defies science entirely!

and then it

doesn’t.

There are textbooks

written on the theory of love–

I checked.

 

But–I am writing this poem and I want it to be beautiful.

I am not writing this poem to trigger all the pleasure centers of your brain.

 

I am aware

that we have specially advanced brains for calculating and discovering

but we also have hearts that bleed

and I am also aware that that’s much too woo-woo to include in a poem about science so I’ll just say this–

 

When I’m elated, jovial, ecstatic, thrilled,

impassioned, joyful, cheery, radiant, overjoyed,

on Cloud 9 in 7th heaven,

You look at me and affirm, “Dopamine.”

But I want to ask you

why it is,

then,

that we have so many other words for it.

 

 

Ahhh…so positive. 😉  I have a feeling that my poetry didn’t get MUCH more positive over the course of this project, but I did learn some interesting things about myself through this eight-day foray into…poetray (couldn’t resist, sorry); I’m thinking I’ll do a recap of the whole experience later.

(Speaking of recaps, what on earth happened to my Monthly Recap for January 2013?  I’m sorry.  Without running to keep me sane, I appear to be going a little bit senile…in my teens.  Nothing really awesomesauce occurred, at any rate, so don’t think you’re missing out on too much :P).

–The Girl in the Orange

Thoughts on the Connecticut Shooting

I’m not going to lie to you–even with my great (heheh) philosophical skill, I’m not going to attempt to answer anything in this post.  I’m not going to try to figure out Why It Happened or try to blame anyone, because no one can because there’s so many sides to things like this and all we can say is, “I’m so sorry.”  And then, after a bit of contemplation, once they’re out of earshot, “Let’s pray it doesn’t happen to us.”  Because no matter how hard we try, we will always be selfish creatures.

Small, personal tragedies occur every day around the globe, but we give this one special attention because it is a Loud Tragedy, grasped by media and publicized and well-documented.  It hits us hard and profound and we cry because it happened and we cry because we cannot pinpoint why it happened.

These tragedies have always been around to haunt us like pale little moths in our bedcovers, irking us and moving us to sobs but, ultimately, not disrupting our daily life.  And for this we should be grateful, and for those people directly involved in this shooting we should be in agony.  I don’t know why this type of thing is occurring more and more, but rather than assuming it’s the human race getting more evil, I think it’s just the human race getting…more.  There are SO many people in this nation, in this world.  So many minds whirring, fists clenching, blind voices shrieking.  And then when one gunshot rings over the roar, then we fall silent.  Then, we ask ourselves, how did we not hear this coming?

I’m so sorry.

Deep Thought Of the Week: Compost Bin 180 (Or, ‘Life from Death’)

I was scrunging around in the garden earlier this weekend.  It’s surprisingly therapeutic (or it would be, were it not for my sudden apparent allergy to all things propagated by means of pollen) and somewhat necessary to feed myself. 😉  I’m the only vegetarian in my family.  I was on a bike ride earlier with my father this morning and we were discussing my archery skills (which are wicked, mind you) and whether we would attend any 3D shoots this year.  I told him I would gladly accompany him to any shoots as long as we were killing foam targets and not actual deer.  He said something along the lines of poking fun at my diet, and I responded with, “Oh, I have mad hunting skills.  You should see me in the garden.  Those peas never even see it coming.” 😉

There’s my entertaining little story for the day!  Laugh along, if you’re vegetarian and can relate or whether you think the whole idea of vegetarianism is for ninnies like my dad.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, I was scrunging around in the garden.

So, anyway, I opened the compost bin to toss in this week’s worth of pig slop compostable material and what do you know?  Inside the bin–this black, plastic, lockable rotating compost bin–is a family of frogs.  About five or six of them, I would imagine, only they kept moving around so.  After a while they settled down, assured that they were camouflaged enough that I, the big scary vegetarian predator, wouldn’t see them and wolf them down.

I ran to get my camera.


This got me thinking, as any out-of-the-ordinary (or sometimes just ordinary) scenes are apt to do to me.  I blame it on my strange tendency to think in poetic verse.  But anyway, these humble little frogs got the cogs a-turnin’ (or are they toads?  Locals, a little help here?).  They seemed perfectly happy and content, and in fact a little smarmy, about their newly adopted habitat.  It was where they found their needs best suited and where they enjoyed themselves most.

And that place was this:

Yeah, I don’t really blame you if you said (or thought) eww.  I suppose it is kind of beautiful, in a jumbled-up imperfect graffiti type of way.  The way all the different colors mesh together.  But still.  It’s disgusting, primarily.

It’s cliche, but the saying “when life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic” popped into my head.  Oh, wait, that wasn’t it.  It was actually “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.  Or, taking this whole analogy thing a bit further, you could decide that maybe there was a point to life giving you lemons and that you actually really like them.  Maybe you never really noticed it before, but the way each of their little ends tapers off into a cute little bulb is kind of charming.  Maybe you love what their juice and zest can do for your salad dressings.  And eventually you just might get to a point of such inner positivity you’re like heck, why was I all upset over a free basket of lemons anyway?

These frogs found a way to make that rotting pile of disgust into something beautiful, hospitable, even.  We have a pond in our yard, so it wasn’t like there was a shortage of places for them to live.  They chose to live in the compost heap and decided they would be pleasant about it.  Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing them a bit too much.  After all, they probably were just a big fan of the flies the compost attracted.  But I think we can all take this message to heart.  I mean, if you had told me two weeks before I found out we were moving that this was where I would be living out the next chapter of my life, I would’ve socked you.  And hyperventilated.  As it was, finding out when I did, I still sobbed for a day straight, and when we finally moved, it felt surreal, like it couldn’t actually be happening.

And I know I’ve been a little bitter about the whole moving thing in the past.  All of my friends certainly know that I like to poke fun at this place and throw in little snippets of how glorious my home state was in random conversation.  But hey, this is my compost heap.  My lemon.  The frogs (and spiders and all manner of creepy-crawlies) in that big black bin have taught me that really, all it takes is a new angle on things to start seeing them for their true beauty.  They breathed new life into what literally was a big pile of dead.  These are the most inspiring amphibians I’ve ever seen.

How about you?  What’s your compost heap?