Monday, July 19, 2010

the force of youth

image via newyorkette

i don't have as many photos of my mother when she was young as i would like. the ones i do have feel precious, like they belong in a jewel box and not a photo album. there is one in particular that i love. it's of her laying out with her mother on a beach somewhere, maybe florida. there are rows and rows of beach-chairs behind them, with people on their stomachs and backs, sweating into their towels, and then, in the top right corner of the photo, the sea begins to sprawl out behind them. my grandmother is sitting up, with her knees pulled up a bit closer to her body. maybe she was feeling shy in front of the camera. on her head is a bathing cap, neon green and almost fluffy looking. she is wearing a one piece in a swirling black and white geometric pattern. it must be the early sixties. actually maybe the mid sixties because my mother looks like she might be fourteen or so. my mother is stretched out right next to my grandmother, her thigh touching her mother's bent knee. she has on a yellow bikini with ruffled trim. her eyes are closed. her blonde hair is shiny and the ends hit the tops of her shoulders. everything about her looks bright and young and golden. her mouth is parted and her fingers rest on the fabric of her bikini bottoms. she looks perfect. and though it's a photograph, when i stare at it it's as if i'm watching a short flickering film. i see so much movement, i see the moment so completely. i see the force of her youth so clearly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

lucky teeth

georgia jagger
via ilovemuffins

lara stone
image via

ashley smith
via mademoisellerobot

dents du bonheur— it means "lucky teeth". I read that's what the french call gap teeth. i agree. i really really like them. i think they somehow open up a face, make it brighter, more vulnerable, more honest. i think it looks incredibly sexy too. since the middle ages it has been assumed that women with gap teeth are wanton and lustful... maybe because there is an inherit boldness in imperfection. it's easier to fit in. it's easier to close the gap. but i think the open space between two front teeth should be kept as is, honored and celebrated.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 if someone turned off a light

image via wunderground

joyce carol oates said— night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off a light. it's true... things come hard and fast and full in the desert. i used to live in a small town along the texas/new mexico border, just south of las cruces, in the upper mesilla valley. you had to drive a good four miles on a dirt road to get to our house. we lived with the desert right behind us. high plains, creosote bush, feral dogs, mesquite, and broken rusting barbed wire fences. i was a kid. but i remember that darkness came fast and so did the heat. and thunderstorms. in the rain the creosote smell came fast too, damp and strong and earthy. i didn't miss the desert until recently. until i went back to visit. it had been such a long time. and now i have this small unexpected ache, this slow swelling nostalgia.