Born of Rain

Born in the days of autumn rain and slushy snow, the colour of rain and salty spray of seawater still shows in my eyes. Neither clearly grey nor blue, so I just call it the colour of rain, of steel-blue clouds, of a wall of fog on the mountain side, clinging to the golden trees like a sheet of grey silk. I’m born of rain, and rain is what runs in my veins, steaming and bubbling when meeting the fire flowing from my heart. I’m born of rain, and when I feel blue, blue like rain and fog on a forsaken shore, I’m larger than the sum of my parts, I’m more than one raindrop – I’m a storm, a force of nature, and yet just a drenched figure, huddled between rocks and watching myself pass into the fog. I’m born of rain, and it remains inside and outside of me. There is a cloud following me, watering the thoughts I mindlessly sow in the furrows my inner storm tore open, while I follow a the trail this gale I am is blazing in front of me. Sometimes the thoughts I sow are seeds as blue as a clear-washed sky, sometimes as dark as a thunderstorm rolling heavy with rain. I’m born of rain, and I won’t ever escape what my eyes betray. I’m born of rain, and I’m learning to choose to embrace the clouds, to stuff them with white feather-dreams to make them less heavy, hugging them close like a pillow or a blanket, listening to the rain inside and watching it drawing patterns in my mind, tracing story lines down a window pane in intricate patterns, stories to write down, to escape into like sailing on paper ships across foreign seas, to capture in my cupped hands and watching them spill on crumbling paper, sometimes for myself, sometimes for others to read.

Confused moments of the week

A few days ago the weather seemed to be fine and sunny. I started walking over to the mall a few streets away, when suddenly a rain drop fell on my forehead. I looked up – and just that moment a lightning bolt flashed right above me. It was a somewhat confusing experience. On I went shaking my head, when suddenly a heavy torrent of rain and moments later also hail came pouring down, accompanied by a rather stormy breeze. When I tried to hold the hood of my anorak (waterproof, luckily) in front of my face to protect my eyes from flying hailstones the cold rain poured into my sleeve. Wait, so the hail is blown in one direction and the rain in the other?

All the sudden changes in the weather tend to give me a headache. Today I decided to get a pain killer from the kitchen and ended up opening the fridge instead of the medicine cabinet.

Confused Starfish is being confused.

under the golden ginkgo biloba

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Under the golden ginkgo biloba
I stood and gazed at all its autumn splendour, ivy entwined,
wondering why I stood there alone
in the rain

I saw its blazing glory when I had passed the lawn,
longingly gazing at the green
wondering if anyone would be there to play
if it wasn’t for the rain

On that rainy afternoon, just before dusk
I discovered anew
a sense of wonder
standing under the golden ginkgo biloba.

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Pictures just don’t do this beauty any justice. It’s the old ginkgo tree, overgrown with ivy, standing next to the university building in which I spent many days in the last few years.

I’m back from Ireland!

IMG_0475_output_0001.resizedLast weekend Darling and me went to Dublin, Ireland for a short vacation. We had a lot of everything: A lot of rain on the day we arrived, a lot of sunshine on Saturday (we went on a half day trip to the fishing village of Howth, where I took the picture above; and we even saw a seal in the harbour!), we walked a lot, and we ate a lot of fried food – fish and chips, burger and chips, more chips, and another burger. I took several hundred pictures, we went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday morning which was cancelled after maybe 15 minutes due to a fire alert (false alert), and we slept in really small hostel cots (at least in a double room with enclosed bathroom, we’re a little too old and solitary to share a dorm with noisy teenagers or drunken tourists). We walked around Temple Bar at night, wandered quiet backstreets, bought raincoats, watched birds taking a bath, and watched the sun go down from the top of a hill at Howth (the hill in the background of the photo, actually). Both plane rides went better than expected, though I had a little trouble with breathing and feeling panic on the way to Ireland – the trip back was much easier, despite some small turbulences. Music, a massage ball, and a hand to squeeze were really helpful.

I went shopping and came home with red hair dye and blue shoes.

Today I went shopping after handing in my last normal term paper – now I’ll have to start working on my master’s thesis soon – and having lunch at university. It’s been raining the last few days, the world is grey and depressing, so I longed for a little more colour in my life. Plus, I had been going through old photos last night and was surprised about the light shade of bronze my hair had been on the school trip (the one to Ireland) at the beginning of my last year of school. So I thought it would be cool to be a lighter redhead again instead of dying my hair in the dark, reddish-brown shade close to my original hair colour a few more years back*.

So my first makeover purchase today was all natural hair dye made from henna and other nice plants.

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Normally I use a different brand (“Logona”, they are the only ones on the market here with sustainable certified organic cultivation of henna, to my knowledge) but the lighter shade of reddish-blonde I wanted to mix with natural red was not available in the local health food store where I usually get my dye. So I went to a drug store and bought my backup brand, Sante. My hair is pretty long now, so I need 1 1/2 packages at least. I just put everything in a jar, shake it well, and put as much of the powder mix as I need into the old cooking pot I use for mixing the paste.

Next stop: thrift store. Originally I had planned to try on skinny jeans (the two pairs I used to own had to leave my closet a few months ago, they just fell apart) and look for a winter coat. And to see if the lovely belt I had been ogling for a few days was still there. It was. What I came home with was this:

P1300534.resizedThe belt, a pair of  shabby skinny jeans, and two long sleeved shirts. The jeans are something between skinny jeans and jeggins, and I only took them with me because they were cheap enough to donate them if I don’t feel like wearing them more than a couple of times. And the blue shirts, well, they are in two shades of my favourite colour (we call it “petrol” over here, but it might be aqua or cerulean or whatever in other parts of the world), they match the belt, and as I said, I needed a little more colour in my life. For some years I’ve lived with long sleeves for layering in black, brown, and white, but at least two of the black ones are a little too short now. All in all I spent €10.30 (which equals $13.76) on the lot. Sadly I didn’t find a good winter coat yet, but then again, we still have late summer and they are just beginning to stock autumn clothes. Patience is essential for thrifting.

The last item on my list for today were shoes. The blue sneakers I had bought in spring are pretty worn already and will have to be replaced in autumn, so I decided to hit the summer sale in the outlet store within walking distance of my home instead of waiting until they break between sales and making me buy more expensive ones. The shoes I came home with aren’t exactly what I had planned to buy – I had envisioned simple leather sneakers in grey or a neutral dark blue with good grip – but these made me smile the instant I saw them:

P1300526.resizedAren’t they lovely? Leather in my favourite shade of blue (a little scraped, but hey, they were on sale!), with little star shaped cut-outs showing the neon yellow plastic layer beneath. So bright. And so perfectly me. You know, old me, the starry-eyed new student coming to live in a huge city for the first time, still secretly dreaming of becoming a juggler or a travelling peot. The one who went for a run at night in the deepest winter, in summer followed overgrown railway tracks for hours, and had a hair accident with really bright red henna from a cheap Turkish supermarket. I have missed old me recently**.

So here I am, with red hair dye setting in and ready to rock my new blue star shoes tomorrow when going with a friend to visit a university she might like to attend in the future.

In the meantime I’ll catch up with work (being able to work from home is really nice when sitting around with a towel turban and a messy blob of henna underneath) and maybe try to install Toolbox in Wine so I’ll be able to work with the data I’ll have to go through for my thesis.

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* My hair is weird, you know? It keeps changing.  In my early life I was the lightest blonde you can imagine. Then it changed to a middle to dark  brown which had an ashen undertone and a tiny bit of reddish shine at the same time, which does not occur according to these online quizzes to find out your season type. (I still like the concept of season types for it’s helpfulness, but when a quiz starts with the “ashen” vs. “reddish” decision I’m lost.) Some years later it began to fade and now my natural hair colour is a nondescript mix of dark blonde, middle-to-light-ashen-reddish-brown, and a little bit of grey. Yes, I have more then ten grey hairs already. And they are not my main reason for buying hair dye.

** The last few months (or more than just a few, to be honest) had been full of too many long and nasty colds, being anxious about university related topics, and generally feeling a bit under the weather – many depressed days, feeling tired all the time due to a lack of essential vitamins and other nutrients (falling asleep for hours in the afternoon is NOT very “me”), and all these things. I sort of forgot who I used to be, or at least I didn’t feel like I could be old me ever again. I’m feeling much better now after I started taking better vitamin supplements, cutting down sugar, and spending more time outside with my camera again. When I worked on that stupid, stupid last term paper I even was able to pull three all-nighters – hence the star and moon pictures on my photo blog.