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Home Planet

Archive for January 2012

To See the World Through a Child’s Eyes

(Photo by Jenna Millsap)

 

 

   My first grandchild arrived late last Sunday afternoon. As I sat by the phone, waiting for the call that she was here, safe and sound, I thought about what life will be like with this new little girl in our lives. I recalled late-night feedings, first words, bicycles with training wheels and first days of school, thinking it wasn't that long ago that I was experiencing all those things with my own firstborn. And now she's a mother.

   Looking ahead, looking for one special thing I can be to her, I imagined the places I can take this new granddaughter of mine, the parts of the world I'd like to show her.

   There is nothing like traveling with a child to open your eyes and ears. Our youngest daughter has traveled with me quite a bit and always, upon our return, I am startled by the things she teaches me. As only the young can, she notices things that escape me.

   Three years ago we sat in a garden in China, resting from the breakneck pace of the trip, and she pulled out the camera and set it to video. I asked what she was recording, looking around to see what had gotten her attention.

   “Nothing,” she said. “Just the sound of the birds.”

   I'd been so focused on my aching back and taking in the details of the exotic design of the garden and temple we'd been exploring, I hadn't even noticed the air was full of birdsong. Every treetop trembled with birds calling out and trilling to one another and we sat silently, listening, capturing that moment forever.

   The new baby is home now and everyone is adjusting to their new roles. I'm adjusting to being an advisor, not the CEO, and my daughter is learning to trust her own wisdom. But I look at those tiny feet and I am filled with secret plans to take them to the most wonderful places. To see the world anew through the eyes of this beautiful child.

Read more here.

 


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. She blogs about travel and photography at CAMera and antiques and collectibles at Treasure Hunting. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Taking the Bay View

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

A bridge is more than a way to physically cross from one side to another. Many are works of art, sculptures of steel and wire. And the image of a bridge is a good metaphor for change, for leaving one state and entering another.

As someone crossing into new territory, bridges have been on my mind a lot lately especially as I sit down to write my next Home Planet column. So when I was looking at photos to post on my CAMera travel blog, I came across this image of the Oakland Bay Bridge. It was taken at the end of a June weekend spent exploring San Francisco, on the evening before I was to fly back home.

Like most everyone who flirts with the City by the Bay, I'd fallen under it's spell.

Although I love to travel, I'm willingly grounded for the next few months. My suitcase is in the closet and my passport is put away until spring or even summer. My next big adventure is closer to home, but that doesn't stop me from daydreaming. But I'll write more about that later.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane. Follow her on Twitter at @CAMillsap

The Solitude of Snow

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

 

 

The winter’s first real snowfall blankets the city, with more predicted, and for a moment the flakes have stopped falling. A window in the weather has opened and the time is right.

I pick up the snow shovel that is kept beside the back door this time of year and it doesn’t take long to find a rhythm. As I work my way down the driveway, the shovel slides cleanly over the concrete, scooping up mounds of the fresh white powder. Up and down the street other people have come outside, moving like dark shadows against the brightness of the snow. A few call out to a neighbor but most, like me, work silently.

The city’s big plows push up the main street, scraping against the asphalt as they clear the streets for the morning commute. I catch a glimpse of the flashing yellow lights as they speed past at the corner and then the quiet returns.

When shoveling snow, when working or exercising in any way, it’s hard not to marvel at the intricate mechanics of the human body. The heart pumps , the mind directs, the muscles obey, the bones bear weight and the process repeats so quickly and smoothly we forget that we are, at our core, a living machine. Built to work.

The cold air bites at my face and my fingers begin to ache so I stop and pull off my gloves, tucking my hands under my coat, pressing them against my stomach.  My body, warmed by the exercise, comforts itself and soon I am back at work and my mind plays over people and projects and problems as I push forward, and, as always seems to happen when my hands are busy and my mind is free, there is a clarity that too often escape me indoors. I am startled when an answer, a solution or simple resolution that has been eluding me, pops suddenly into my head.

The snow sparkles like diamonds scattered over the ground in front of me, catching the reflection of the single lightbulb that hangs over the garage and I am reminded that with each shovelful I am lifting and tossing away more tiny, singular, crystals than I could ever count. But it is only the ones that catch the light for an instant and glint in the night that stand out.

It is, when you think about it, the same with ideas and and memories and shooting stars. There are more around and within us than we can ever imagine and yet we only glimpse the precious few that streak through the deep quiet of solitude and, without warning, light up the dark.

  

(See more of my work at my CAMera photo/travel blog)

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons  and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Buon giorno!

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)

Maybe it's because I shoveled snow twice yesterday. It might be a reaction to my cold nose and hands and the pile of boots and gloves dripping on the floor beside the back door. Whatever the reason, I've been daydreaming about Italy. Remembering time spent in the lush, green, warmth of Tuscany.

So, with a bit of longing for olives and good wine and pasta served by a flirting waiter, I posted a picture of Lucca on my CAMera photo blog.

Buon giorno!

Hoping for an Accessory Afterlife

(Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)



   If you were to ask me if I believe in heaven as a place where I’ll join all the people I’ve known and lost, and with whom I can spend eternity laughing and eating potato salad at one idyllic family reunion, I’d stall for time and finally fall back on that old relationship standard, “It’s complicated.”
But if you were to ask me to believe heaven is a place where I can be reunited with all the little things I’ve lost here on earth, especially the gold and silver that has slipped through my fingers, I’d have myself sent away like King Tut, laid out in style and surrounded by approximately half the jewelry I’ve ever owned. The hope would be I could finally find the missing half.

   My personal history is full of stories of the ones that got away. Starting with my school ring which I slipped off my finger and dropped into my purse. This would have been fine if I hadn’t put my purse on the top of my car and driven off. The purse, and the ring, were never seen again.

   Then there was that pair of tiny diamond earrings I lost in college. I remember taking them out before I went to sleep and pinning them to a piece of college rule (naturally)  notepaper. I also remember thinking I should get up and put them in my jewelry box. Unfortunately, the next time I went to put them on, I couldn’t remember where exactly I put that particular piece of paper. My roommate probably wadded it around her gum and tossed it. Or, it might have been me…

   As I grew up and began to travel, the trail of lost jewelry just got longer. There was that little gold chain that broke and slipped off somewhere on Broadway in New York City. And the bracelet I left behind in Memphis. And the silver hoop that went missing in Budapest. And the pearl earring that disappeared in Tuscany. And while it wasn’t a piece of jewelry, I’m still grieving for the cashmere scarf - five feet of comfort and warmth that cost more than I’d made that week-  the wind picked up and carried away while I was waiting for a bus in Reykjavik, Iceland. Really. The wind is fierce in Reykjavik, Iceland.

   I’m a sceptic when it comes to pearly gates and streets of gold, but I would become a willing believer in the idea of an accessory afterlife. Until, of course, I misplaced my halo. It would be all downhill from there.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com
  

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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. She is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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