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All the small things

" You wouldn’t know it could feel so redundant—

the wolfish starlings plunder the grass

and nothing burns. Big Sur. We came here to rest.

The coast, a color. The thought of nothing,

the blue middle of my life—

A cliff side and a footpath

down to the small beach. And fire, there

a cold wind. Long waves the whole year—restless,

leafy and metallic,"


A few weeks ago I was in the US. It seems like a lifetime away.

All travellers face the same thing in the end: going back home. The return of normalcy. Or maybe actually the absence of normalcy. All the small things we usually forget to notice, becoming the right size again. Water. Rocks. A bird darting. A deer standing by the side of the road.

(The Northwest is abundant in those things that for Dutchies have become special. Seeing a deer? We have to go to a special place at a special time. Sparrows? Squirrels in all shapes and sizes? Not in our backyard.)

And all travellers probably make the same resolution upon returning: not this time. This time I will hold on to that calm, peaceful feeling. This time I won't get stressed out, at least not as fast.

I don't know about you but with me that lasts for about a day - or until the first stupid email.

Also, especially when I have been on a writing trip, I have the added bonus of 'The Bad Mood Because of Less Writing'. After having spent some time doing just what I love, it's always a bit of a detox to have to subdue that side of me in order to.... work.

But this time it would be different.

This time I decided not to long back. This time I realized; I was there then. I am here now (see, Zen!). That helped. At least now when I was plunged back in to the maelstrom, it was without my usual resentment.

What didn't change: the losing of my vacation calm. Somehow I always happen to come back from holiday in Extremely Stressing Times so somehow our US road trip seems a long, long time ago.

That's one of the reasons I like this poem. Even though we didn't go to Big Sur but to Yellowstone and Arches, it reminds me of those place. Of all those very big small things.

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