Beautiful Things

Heard this song in church this morning, coming off from an extremely rough week of practicing, a piano competition, and work.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

This song is hopeful without being saccharine, reassuring without coming across as empty. It’s just straightforward, direct, and honest. It doesn’t make a hard thing seem simple, or a simple thing seem difficult. It just says what is truth.

Because sometimes we need to know that beautiful things can come out of the dust. That out of “old ground” hope can spring up and new life can be found.

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

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strike up the band and make the fireflies dance

I really like this song for some reason.

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance
Silver moon’s sparkling
So kiss me

I think I am half hopeless romantic, half pragmatic planner who lays all her options out on the table and thinks them through.

It’s a strange combination.

I’m a risk taker in the sense that I’ll take some really wild risks.

I’m cautious in the sense that I’ll stop to think: “is this reasonable? Is this fair? Is this best?” I do have a tendency to over think. You should see how reasonable I am when it comes to thinking about future options, though I have to remember that everything could change in a heartbeat (and did). You should see me evaluate all my options for graduate school. What career should I choose? Which would be better suited for me? Etc etc etc.

The wild risk is that I’m aiming for Columbia University, in New York City.

But I’ll think nothing of falling in love with someone who probably won’t love me back.

What about you?

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Shall I at least set my lands in order?

Buildings burn after an earthquake near Sendai Airport, northeastern Japan March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/KYODO)

I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me.

Houses are in flame while the Natori river is flooded over the surrounding area by tsunami tidal waves in Natori city, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, March 11, 2011, after strong earthquakes hit the area. (AP Photo/Yasushi Kanno, The Yomiuri Shimbun)

Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

A whirlpool is seen near Oarai City, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Kyodo)

Fires burn in the port area of Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture following an earthquake in northeastern Japan, March 11, 2011. (REUTERS/KYODO)

Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina*
Quando fiam uti chelidon–O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’Aquitaine a la tour abolie

Houses are swept by a tsunami in Natori City in northeastern Japan March 11, 2011 (REUTERS/KYODO)

These fragments I have shored against my ruins.

A view of flooding and destruction in Natori city, Miyagi prefecture, Saturday, after a tsunami was unleashed by an 8.9 quake. (Picture from CNN)

———–

*From Dante’s Inferno: “Then dived he back into that fire which refines them.”
**Quando… : “When will I be like the swallow [so that I can stop being silent]?”
***The Prince of Aquitaine in his ruined tower
Complete text of The Waste Land. Excerpts from section V: What the Thunder Said
Pictures from TheAtlantic.com, compiled by Alan Taylor

you are so sweet (once more)

Sometimes I wonder what stories people have to tell.

This is why I like people-watching. I like imagining what brought them on to the subway late at night… what they are going home to, what they are thinking of… the things their face reflect. Is it peace, joy, sadness, complacency, disgust, blankness, humor, love?

What shaped them into the people they are?

Where are they going?

That, or I’m some creepy stalker.

*Pictures taken by me.

starting on a road less traveled on

Why can’t you stay in your room five minutes in the silence?

I wrote this four weeks ago, as well. I didn’t have internet at the time. Just thought I’d post it anyway.

I’ll admit that sometimes I do have a problem with silence. I’m so used to having music playing all the time even when I’m by myself in the room. I need the internet to browse the web and connect with people and write blog posts and have people read my blog posts and comment on my blog posts and I’ll comment on their’s back, yes, yes. Or so that I can be an attention prostitute.

And now I’m without internet and I feel woefully deprived. As if something’s missing. The boredom is killing me, because without internet, I don’t have anything to do. I already practiced piano today, I forgot to bring a book just in case I didn’t have internet (because I assumed that I would have internet) and I have more than an hour until bedtime and I’m just sitting here with the computer open and music playing (again) and trying to think about stuff to write because I simply have nothing else to do. Plus no one’s here yet, so I can’t socialize, not that I am any good at that, either.

Then this song started playing. It’s a song called Five Minutes, by the Boston-based boy band (Woo! Alliteration skills!) Forget the Girl. I have no idea what they’re up to, but last I heard they were in the process of recording a new CD, which would be slow in coming because band members went to graduate school and got married and important stuff like that.

Anyway, it’s weird the way some songs will speak to you your own thoughts at the right time. Or even give you what amounts to a lecture on the very topic you’re thinking of, or trying to avoid.

This song is a little like the “forgotten song” I’ve talked about in a previous blog, and not just because I forgot about it for months and months. It’s reminding me of things I once knew how to do but forgot how to. Like sitting still and figuring it out.

It’s making me feel as if I’m so close to finally getting things right.

I can’t sit still. I need to be always moving, always running around, always feeling as if I’m useful. I do like being useful, and I do like helping people. At the same time, I realized that sometimes, my serving only serves as an excuse, a distraction. Something to keep myself from thinking too hard. Something to keep myself from postponing decisions to be made, and things to be figured out.

Like figuring out why I can’t stop thinking about past mistakes I’ve made, no matter how stupid they are. At some point, I need to stop worrying that I’ll make the mistake again and let go of it and just live. I can’t change the fact that it’s already happened, and all I can do is learn from it and move on.

Maybe we do worry too much at times about things like acceptance, and the question of whether we’re so messed-up that we’re beyond redemption, not to mention friendship. Whether people will leave our sides once they realize how much is churning below the surface — and because they’re afraid that we’ll draw them into our struggles.

Or because we believe that we’re such screw-ups that we’re afraid that we’ll fail those people as well.

We need to go on and live our lives how we were meant to live it.

Silence is good for me. I don’t have anything to distract me for a while, so I can confront that sense of wrongness that I’ve been feeling for a while. Perhaps I’m only five minutes away from finding the answer.

Maybe we keep on adding to the noise in our lives because we’re so afraid of figuring things out. Or maybe because we’re so afraid of the darkness we will find when we shut the music off.

But then, perhaps we can still become free.

‘Cause you’re five minutes from
Starting on a road less traveled on
Five minutes from
Knowing why you need distraction
You’re five minutes from
Five minutes from real life

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

I could speak till nothing’s left unspoken

I love words. In my blog posts, I have a tendency to become very wordy. A blog post that is supposed to be a list of five places I want to visit becomes a 1000+ word essay on the wonderfulness of those five places even though I haven’t visited them yet. I need the little word count feature to keep track of whether I’ve rambled on for too long, and when I should at least attempt to tie the post up without going on for another thousand words.

Too many words.

I fear that I am simply using words for the sake of using words — to fill up empty spaces and empty silences and drowning out the sounds of my own thoughts instead of expressing them.

Because of this, I feel as if it is a good thing for me to sit and listen without talking too much.

Sometimes it’s good to be still and let the silence speak volumes.

meadow by gato-gato-gato.

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

Hello Sunshine

Hello sunshine, it’s been too long since I
Felt your beautiful warmth upon my face
And how much have I missed
‘Cause I’ve been focused on everything wrong

This road just felt so long
I forgot to lift my head to see you…

— “Hello Sunshine” by BarlowGirl

Right now, I’m at Colby College for the Atlantic Music Festival. Unfortunately, it appears that I may not have access to internet for at least a couple of days (hopefully). Because I checked in early, they don’t yet know the internet passwords and what not. Hopefully after  Monday I will get internet. However, in the meantime, I will not be able to easily visit other people’s blogs. I apologize in advance! Thank you for all the comments, I appreciate them.

Things I love about summer:

1. Sunshine. I dislike cold. I love heat. I can’t deal with snow. I can deal pretty well with high temperatures, as long as it’s not humid. If it’s humid, then you can’t separate me from my beloved air conditioner. I have a love affair with rain, but after a long, cold, wet winter, enough is enough.

2. Having the time to listen to old favorite songs that I haven’t listened to for a while due to school. “Oh, this song is awesome! I remember now how much I still love it!”

A good example is BarlowGirl’s song Hello Sunshine. It’s so whimsical and summery and instantly uplifting. I also like how the music fades out completely in the middle of the track and then gradually comes back in full force before the song ends. When I first listened to it, I thought the song was over, and then the music gradually faded back in and I was pleasantly surprised. “Oh.” Pretty cool.

Fill my dark skies
Make me see the light, life is fine
So bring in the sunshine

Or another summer favorite, Irish band The Corrs’ Summer Sunshine.

Just sweet beginnings and bitter endings
In coffee city, we borrowed heaven
Don’t give it back, I’ve never felt so wanted
Will you make me a home?

I love the offbeatness of this music video! In the beginning, a couple is looking to kiss in some shady, dark, musty places. Members of the band open the shutters and tear out the blinds so that the light hits them, and they run away. The band chases them throughout the old house from each and every hiding place, while literally tearing the whole place until the building collapses on top of them. In the end, they uncertainly emerge from the wreckage into the “summer sunshine” and marvel that they’re still alive.

Summer sunshine

In the end, they’re not afraid of the sunshine, and whatever else it might symbolize. Their love is not longer a thing of secret, a thing to be ashamed of, but something to openly embrace.

I also love how Andrea Corr looks in the video.

Listening to it again after so long reminded me that this is one of my favorite love songs for a reason.

Also: where is this “coffee city,” and how can I get there?

3. No school.

4. Having the time to read beautiful, inspiring blogs. You know who you are.

I dread fall when school will start and I will inevitably get busy with all my music classes and whatnot and therefore won’t have as much time to visit blogs and leave comments and even write my own posts.

5. Time to read, period. During the school year, I didn’t have time to read any fun reading — just textbooks and psychology papers and biographies of Ravel. During the past few weeks, I reread several of my old Star Wars favorites, like Yoda: Dark Rendezvous by Sean Stewart and the Hand of Thrawn duology by Timothy Zahn. And enjoyed all three books as much as before.

I’ve also read so much fantasy in the form of those fairy tale novelizations that I so love. I’ve always loved fairy tales, especially if an author has a new and fresh retelling of an old and well-known fairy tale. It’s like looking at it with new eyes. I also recently read a book about a werewolf, titled Shiver and written by Maggie Stiefvater. It was a good story, told from the point of view of the werewolf who was in love as well as the point of view of the girl who loved the werewolf. I got slightly annoyed mainly because the heroine seemed to be a different person as presented in each perspective.

It’s good being able to be with books again. I had almost forgotten the feeling of being totally lost in a book while I could forget that life was happening around me.

6. Being able to do nothing,

and

7. Sunshine.

In the heat of summer sunshine
I miss you like nobody else
In the heat of summer sunshine
I kiss you, and nobody needs to know

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.