red violet

quinn’s favorite crayon at the moment is red violet. he has been choosing to color in bed before going to sleep most  nights lately, and over the weekend i went in to turn off his light and he had red violet laying directly in the center of his chest, safely tucked there for sleep. it was always my favorite, too. i think i know why, now that i see it lying next to the heart of a sleeping child i love enough to burst my own heart wide open. red violet, the color of love.

i look up and see my man pull the almost-empty jar of pears out of the fridge and open it up with his big man hands and take a swig of the juice that’s left… getting to watch that sure beats my default method of tossing the dregs into the next smoothie. i don’t know how to say this, and it feels vulnerable to admit that all this time i’ve been writing about me and what i’m doing and what i want out of life… this was right up there on that list. it may have been unspoken… i may never have admitted to wanting someone who appreciates, as he calls it, my goofy hippie food. i know i did admit to feelings of loneliness a time or two, in rare instances when i paused long enough in my manic food-gathering endeavors to experience them, but underlying all the gardening and canning and fruit picking and cheese making and skill learning has been a secret longing for someone to share all of it with. i would never undervalue how important this process has been for myself, and in no way has man-getting been my primary motivation (there are many other motivations including my own health and sanity and quinn’s health and education being biggies, not to mention simply feeding ourselves sustainably, literally obtaining the calories needed to maintain homeostasis) but i find now that i am settling into this new phase of life with an enormous appreciation for the extra harvesting i did last summer and a permanent smile when i get to feed it to someone who has been on a vacation from cooking for some time. (surely he won’t be embarrassed if i publish on the internet that i removed a box of falafel mix from his cupboard with a sell-by date sometime in 1997, a bagel from 2008- can i say wow to the ingredient mold inhibitor?, and other items scattered throughout the decade in between).

i know i’m not the only one feeling this way… in a rare january occurrence of nice weather on a non-work day, i spent saturday afternoon pruning blueberry bushes, grapevines, and trees, and hacking away at blackberry canes in one of the garden patches that has been waiting for me to come along… next to a guy who has been waiting for me to come along and do this with. there were years and years of preparation leading up to us being in the same yoga class on the same night… years of fixing his own cars, to get him ready for when he would get to fix mine (and give me rides to work when the mechanic had to fix it more- hard to describe the weight lifted off my shoulders on just the one subject of mechanical stuff). years of me waking up to the farming instinct i’ve harbored since birth, to get me ready for when i would have space to let it loose on. years of us both getting ourselves sorted out and secure and in all other ways ready for this big love. i find myself gently detaching from the need to be entirely self-sufficient. i find myself able to lean on someone who is also gently leaning on me, because we can both stand up straight on our own two feet and have been for quite some time… the give and take is easy to open up to, and i couldn’t have seen that coming, for all my self-sufficient feminist single mama superwoman-ness.

a little over ten years ago, i got to do a retreat where we visualized our future self, ten years hence. my future self was alone, and the leader of the exercise remarked on the rarity of  aloneness in that particular exercise. she said most people visualize their future family or friends around them, and i was just me, in a small room/house/yurt, feeling self sufficient and “just enough” and “whole” (words that resonated at the time and ever since that are still written in a prominent place above my desk) and yet with a sense of loved ones nearby (though they were not in the picture). when i left future me, i gave her a kiss on the lips and have wondered ever since, why i was to be alone all my life… why was it that i somehow had to do this whole life thing by myself when everyone else gets to find a mate and settle down happily ever after? you know, it never occurred to me one single time, in all the many times i’ve thought of that visualization (which has clung to me like water ever since), that year eleven would come along. but now i suddenly see the red violet writing on the wall…


15 comments to red violet

  • It's so amazing how while we're just living our lives, things are happening that are leading us to paths and people and projects and places we can't imagine…and yet, there they are fitting perfectly into our lives. Love how that works and I am happy for you.
    6512 and growing recently posted..fermented ginger ale

  • I'm so happy that love has found you! I have to say, your story definitely gives me hope in life and love too. Your boy is so sweet, love that he eats with his bear sitting by his side 🙂 You are such a wonder, most definitely a woman for me to look up to and learn from. The photo of your boy and your man is sweet too, again I'm so happy for you. *hugs*
    Celynne recently posted..The Power of the Dress

  • tim

    You're great.

    When I grow up I want to be like my big sister. Only bigger.

    My future self was wearing khakis and a beige sweater. Which would have been VERY WEIRD for me ten years ago, but today I am wearing khakis and a beige sweater. Ha!

    I'm pretty sure Natalie and the boys were represented somewhere in that visualization, too.

    But I never did like that color of crayon. I didn't appreciate the subtle in-between colors. I disliked when the de-labeled Sunday School crayon I thought was brown turned out to be raw umber staining my paper(or was it mahogany?). Roy G. Biv for little me!

    • mb

      awwww. i just got all choked up, brother t. i love that you remember your future self visualization too. hilarious about the beige. i'm pretty sure beige doesn't fall under roy g biv though!
      mb recently violet

  • tim

    sure… red orange yellow green beige indigo violet. What, did I leave something out?

    I suppose I've grown up some, to be able to appreciate such an in-between color as beige. Though a beige crayon might be a little frustrating to use on white paper. You could use it to write secret messages. To decode, just dye the paper a dark color.

    • marybethrew

      hahaha how crafty! i guess i did rub off on you some. 😉

      mom just wrote me this in an email and i wanted to stick it on here because it's sweet:

      Dear MB, Just read your red violet post. It was my favorite color in the crayon box too. I made a copy of it because it speaks to a Mom and a Grammy's heart. I forgot that I was low on colored ink. But it was perfect. The pictures are all shaded red violet!

  • oh marybeth — i got goosebumps at that part when you said "year eleven comes along." it seems like the perfect code for possibility, renewal, awakening, the continuation of life itself.

    so happy for you.


    Stacy @ Sweet Sky recently posted..January Goodies

  • mamaC

    Such a sweet post. I join the "so happy for you" sentiments. And I also feel happy for the fact of you, here, "out there," on my own behalf.

    Dang, I cook a lot and I still have some seriously out-of-date falafel mix in my cupboard (I might have finally purged it after my latest rediscovery of it. Or maybe I just shook my head and put it back up there….) I think it lingers & languishes because of the "convenience" factor, like it's for "in a pinch" use or something, and it never happens. (That rationalization is supposed to be in my defense, I think.) But there are some scary things date-wise here & there on my shelves that indicate that I moved already out-of-date dry goods from my former pantry way back when I moved HERE, in 2004. lol

    Glad to hear about the pruning activity, and the future foraging (or at least, harvesting) to be done.

    And I have a serious fondness for "eleven," particularly when delivered in an English accent. (Think: This Is Spinal Tap.) Where can you go when you want one louder? (than ten) Eleven! One louder.

    Yay for year eleven! One more than ten! And one more, come along.

  • mamaC

    Oh, and with the crayon color talk I immediately thought of "raw umber" because as a child, Joe totally believed that this color crayon was the exact color of his eyes and used to tell people, "My eyes are raw umber." (His eyes are hazel; I don't know what he was thinking.) It might have been his favorite crayon color, too, but I'm not absolutely certain about that.

    So funny that your brother actually mentioned that one by name, here!! (Did you ever wonder what was up with "burnt sienna"? "Raw umber"? And I think maybe there was "raw sienna," too. lol)

    For myself, I remember putting red violet & violet red side by side, coloring swaths of each color and studying their differences, contemplating the particulars that determined their naming: which color was more prominent in the mix–the first-named or second-named? The same with blue green & green blue (I returned to those two a lot.) And also with red orange/orange red. I don't so much remember getting a strong sense of violet blue/blue violet. lol

    I think my own fave crayon was green blue. At least, I was very fond of it and turned to it regularly. "Cornflower" seemed nice but in terms of actually spreading the color on paper, green blue was much more satisfying to me.

  • i seriously got so teared up at the image of the red violet crayon on quinn's chest. that is IT, right there, those moments so true and luminous, they capture all of our reality in that moment. scrumptious and heartbreaking.

    and MARYBETH! i do declare! you are head over heels! but not in that crazy out of control love hormone way…but in some kind of kama sutra yoga way…ha! again with the REAL…your description of your budding relationship and your delicate vulnerability around it all….i feel like you just pulled me up a chair next to the seat of your heart. i have another bloggy friend who is FINALLY pregnant, when it seemed it would never happen, and the RIGHTNESS of it all is giving me more vicarious happiness than i've really ever felt. i feel that same way in knowing that in your eleventh hour, partnership has found you, gives me such a surge of joy. it's splendid when wonderful things happen to people in a way where "it all" just lines up. it gives me faith.

    love to you and your man with man hands! 😀
    mary good recently posted..Chop Wood, Carry Water

  • This is so nice MB, but at the end did you mean to write violent or violet? Just curious, different meanings to both…
    Teresa recently posted..Sending you…

  • I mean you could just be so happy that you used the crayon violently so it wouldn't ever come off! 🙂 Hugs to you, and have a FANTASTIC Valentines Day tomorrow with that super sweetie of yours!!!!
    Teresa recently posted..Sending you…

  • beautiful. Those last two sentences…made me cry the happiest tears for you. You go, girl. You deserve ALL of this. I'm sooo happy for you. xo
    Debbie recently posted..embracing learning

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