New Things I Did This May
A Labyrinth, The Praying Mantis, and Greek Gods
- I built a labyrinth over the course of a few weeks with the help of friends and family who came to visit. Labyrinths are not mazes. They are not designed to trick you. You might feel lost, but you are not. The winding path winds in your favor, inching you closer to the center, if only you keep walking.
It’s set between a grouping of creosote bushes, which determined its size. It’s… huge. We didn’t fully understand the seriousness of the task until the first circle had been completed.
There is no shortcut, no labyrinth-building machine. Each stone was laid hand by loving hand.
My favorite time to walk it is the evenings. It’s warming up here at night, and the sky gets all pink and dewey.
- I got a private tour of the Oscar’s Museum in LA, which was fun. I couldn’t help but get giddy over the ruby slippers. These were the ones used for her heel-clicking closeups. This was my first favorite movie as a kid. I used to secretly pray for tornados.
- I finished my gardens with the help of professionals and friends alike, and I became Queen of The Cacti, Madame Steward of All Things Prickly. I have dozens and and dozens of species, along with a few desert-friendly trees.
In researching some of them, I learned something about cacti, which is that tons of them are medicinal and most were used ceremonially at one point or another. Cacti are ridiculously understudied.
- I see praying mantises at odd and important moments. A strong, electric thought is always accompanied by their greeting. A message. During a bath, I thought about that, and figured I wouldn’t see any anytime soon, living in the middle of the desert and all. That’ll show me. A few days later, I was on the phone with a friend talking about feeling isolated and wondering if I needed to rush back to the city. Then, I saw this tiny praying mantis - truly the smallest little guy - scurry past my feet in the sand. He stopped for a moment, and I knelt down to get a closer look.
The electric jolt said something along the lines of, Stay, for just a bit longer. Be still. Use this time and space to let things come to you.
Okay, tiny-dancer! Or should I say, tiny-manter. (I do not forgive myself for this joke but I will still ask you to forgive me for this joke.) Anyway, message received.
- My Mom and I built five complicated-ish folding Adirondack chairs and a foot bridge. Okay, okay, maybe not impressive to you, but I didn’t even know how to use a drill before this.
Anyway, the chairs smell good, like pure cedar incense. I’d recommend them.
- I read:
- Circe by Madeline Miller. It was stunning and beautiful and strange. I’m a sucker for a lonely woman with herby, mud covered hands and a kind but occasionally violent romantic streak. I named my side garden “Circe’s Garden” afterwards.
- Song for Achilles by Madeline Miller. (Because how could I not after Circe). It was heartbreaking and gorgeous. I haven’t read prose quite like Miller’s. Time moves in odd and fun ways while reading. The books end quickly.
- And became re-obsessed with the band Bitter Ruin. They’re really difficult to describe and even more difficult to sing along to. They’re kind of operatic, Shakespearean, and musical-y, but in an almost silly, dark fairytale sorta way.