Tag Archives: aerial photography

Guest Post: Inside the Camera with The Aerial Horizon


Welcome to my blog post about another person. This particular person is a friend from high school who’s all grown up now and is a commercial pilot. He is also a phenomenally gifted photographer and all-around nice guy. While his interest in philosophy and life’s riddles share a place in my heart, it’s his imagery from 30,000 feet above the earth that has stolen it.

After maybe a year of viewing, lurking, “liking” and reading his posts, I had to know more. I picked my favorite 5 or 6 shots and asked him about them.

Putting this post together is a labor of love, we started talking about it in early June. Photography guest posts are also really hard to compile because you need to get the photo, save it to your desktop and then upload it… but it was worth it. Amongst our respective vacations, kids leaving for camps, his numerous trips taking him to the ether and touchdowns through turbulence you don’t want to know about, and the excitement in my life in recent weeks, it’s been a challenge and something I absolutely wanted to see through and share with both my readers.

Please welcome my friend Malcolm Andrews, the eyes and thoughts behind The Aerial Horizon where he shares his visions from one of the best seats off the planet. Click on each of the images to see it larger than the blog allows and if you’re able, zoom in…

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Me: Tell us about this image and why / how it started your sharing of your photography. Where and when and how it was The One that took you to where you are now:

Sun Setting on Canyon Walls (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Sun Setting on Canyon Walls — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: I shot this photo of Canyon de Chelly in December of 2008 while flying a late afternoon trip from Dallas to Los Angeles. The sun was beginning to set as we approached the canyon at 35,000 feet and I caught something with my peripheral vision that made me look toward the canyon. At that moment the low sun was illuminating the orange canyon walls in dramatic contrast to the snow covered terrain. It was an exhilarating moment and thankfully I had a camera in my bag and I took this shot.

The serendipity of this moment amazed me…the right place at the right time and something makes you look at the signpost in front of you. I shot this with a broken 5 megapixel Canon. Later I posted the image on National Geographic’s “Your Shot” web site and they picked it up in their “Daily Dozen.”

Me: !!YEAH!!

TAH: Until I captured this moment and NG shared it, I didn’t realize how much pleasure I could extract from sharing my perspective with other people. Shortly thereafter, I got a Nikon 35mm DSLR and started shooting in earnest and learning more about the technical aspects of photography. I still have a lot to learn, but I find that, through constantly self-critiquing and practicing the art, I am constantly improving.

The lesson of the broken 5 megapixel camera is that opportunities are always out there to capture something meaningful as long as we are prepared see them, regardless of what equipment we have on hand. I find it ironic that my old “happy snap” camera had far less capability than my current iPhone and yet it captured a moment that lit a passion and changed the way I look at the world around me.

Me: Sigh. How fortunate you are to not only have that moment, but to recognize it and then continue to honor it with more imagery. And have Nat Geo pick it up?! Holla.

Me: Tell us about photo 2: “A Delayed Homecoming” – I love flying home. I’ve never had the view of course that you do from the cockpit, and seeing this image strikes me spiritually — that “it’s all going to be ok” and yet it’s almost like an image from another planet. Why did you select this image, of all the ones you can take on a flight home, to share about coming home?

(c) M.C. Andrews Photography

A Delayed Homecoming — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: Sometimes I can be struck by a photo that I think is just spectacular and I want to share it. Other times, it is less about that shot than the mood or the thoughts that the shot emotes. In this case it was all of that at once.

To address the coming-home aspect of this shot…Ordinarily, when I’m coming home I am also one of the guys flying the airplane and, though the sights coming in and out of my base are regularly spectacular, doing anything other flying the airplane and ensuring the safety of our passengers and crew is strictly prohibited. The end result is that most of my homecoming images are captured in my memory only.

On this occasion, I was a passenger hitching a ride home after attending my Uncle’s funeral in Boston. After leaving my relatives behind, I was in “go mode” and intensely focused on getting home as fast as I could…that didn’t work out. I missed the early flight and got bumped from the next one. Finally, I got the last seat on the last jet to DC that evening…My mood immediately transitioned from that of the frantic frustrated commuter to that of the relaxed and thankful traveler. The story is relevant because of the mood…

As we approached Mockley Point on the Potomac at about 2500 feet, the golden hour (just prior to sunset) had arrived and the light was spectacular. [This is the ideal time to shoot monuments in Washington as they illuminate in the same golden wash.] I was thankful to be a passenger and able to enjoy the moment. The scene filled me with emotion and I was at once relieved, relaxed, grateful, and reflective…Had I caught the first rushed flight home, I never would have experienced the range of emotions or the joy of the scene…For me it was another lesson in serendipity – Right time, right place, suddenly a purpose… When I looked at this image the next morning, it seemed to tell me that story so I had to share it.

Me: Sigh again. I can’t help but be moved by this; I know so much — we all do — that wonderful punch-drunk feeling of FINALLY getting home and dumping your bags to hug your family and flop on the couch. The gratitude is immeasurable.

Me: THIS PHOTO! I can’t get enough of these colors. Has this been altered? If so, do you have the original? I’d love to see what you’ve done with it. Regardless of any altering, the fantastic chunkiness of the clouds balanced by the trees on the left, the placement of the road, down the right part of the frame but the light in the center… it’s a great image. Very enigmatic and yet serene.

(c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Imagining the Trail — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: I took the photograph in Culpeper, Va., looking down St James Church Road toward the Brandy Station Battlefield. The purple glow on the horizon drew me off the main road in an effort to get a better look. The sunset was trapped under the heavy cloud deck and the purple haze was very distinct to the naked eye, but only came clear in the photograph once I had applied a 50% polarization to the image and doubled the color saturation. Doing landscape shots like this one, I don’t like to over saturate the color too often as it can really start to look unreal and I start to lose other desired details. The line of buttercups pointing down the road was more distinct in the unmodified photo, but I had to sacrifice that to get the color of the sky back to what I had originally perceived. The other source of light on the right was from the headlights on my car.

Me: The original untouched image is below; I can’t decide which one I prefer. The first one is dramatic, the kind of thing you’d see in a movie. But the one below, the original, places me there… it’s not so impossible to imagine myself standing Right There taking in those buttercups.

(c) M.C. Andrews Photography

(c) M.C. Andrews Photography


Me: This image sends me. I / you / one can see colors in the stars — the blue ones to the right. I used to fall asleep in my parents’  astronomy and space photography books as a child. What’s going on in this image — it looks like cloud formations / or galaxies? And the ground lights — where were you guys? Coming in on a landing? Taking off? It’s fantastic.


Night Lights and Milky Way, (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Night Lights and Milky Way — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: I shot this photograph on a cloudless night while cruising over North Texas and the Panhandle. When I wrote about it, I tried to convey the sense of motion and light. There are three elements to this scene: the fixed stars on the horizon, the blurring lights on the earth, and the cloud-like stars of the milky way.

The camera really helps to tell this story better than our eyes do. Our eyes adjust and refocus, so we see each light as a distinct source while the camera focuses once and captures streaks of light. We can only differentiate between the colors of some of the stars and we think of them as white lights. With a long exposure time, the camera captures the broad spectrum of colors in the stars and we see them in the completed shot.

Thinking about photographing these lights is somewhat analogous to dreaming, seeing, and remembering….

We see lights on the distant horizon and they are as crisp and as clear as our dreams, but we can’t always interpret their geometry. When the lights are upon us, we are in the now and our perception of their reality is exact as we see them pass below us. We look down at cities, towns and baseball fields and we experience them in real time. However, as we try to capture these moments, “real time” passes by so quickly that the camera can only capture a blur of light. Meanwhile, on a perfectly smooth night, we look over our shoulders at the oldest lights in the sky and if we are lucky we can capture the blue cloud-like memory of the Milky Way. It’s a pseudo-scientific romantic way of interpreting the night sky, but it works for me. I’ve always loved flying at night and interpreting the lights.

My original post with this photo:

The joy of flying the red-eye is that we get to chase each new star as it rises in the East while racing past the lights that dot the landscape. The chase never ends and the race is always won. But what we don’t always get to see, unless it is very dark, is the Milky Way. Last night, the Milky Way expressed itself so brightly that it looked like a cloud bank we could reach out and touch. In this photograph, a portion of the Milky Way appears high above the horizon to the southeast while the lights of the Panhandle stretch across the dark landscape and reflect off our nose.

And now for the technical…A very slow shutter speed (20 seconds) at an aperture of f/1.8 was required to capture the cloudlike appearance. We were traveling at roughly 8 miles per minute. With a little simple bar napkin math, we can figure out that the lines of light from fixed sources on the ground are each about 3 miles long… fascinating, I know… and now it’s time for bed.

Me: Eight miles per minute … that’s roughly my jogging speed. >snort< And bar napkin math: nope. Not me. I’ll doodle thank you. 

As you can tell from these transmissions between Malcolm and myself, we can easily go meta. I haven’t seen him in at least a dozen years two decades, but when / if I do again, it’ll be very cool. We will need a set of rocking chairs and a blanket (for me) and I’ll play my kazoo.   

Me: I think this was the first image I saw of your photos. I have always had a “thing” for that utterly black expanse beyond the atmosphere. I admire it as possibly the sexiest thing about space — that boundary when we have our shell, our atmosphere that protects us and then … silence, the beginning of it all. It says, “silence.”

What would you say is your theme for when you not only shoot, but when you decide to share an image?

Winter's Approach - An Umber Scene in the Sierras (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Winter’s Approach: An Umber Scene in the Sierras — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: The aerial horizon and its curvature provide the dominant theme for my aerial photographs. I started shooting this way trying to get the most unobstructed and reflection free shots out my window. It was due to a physical constraint. Then I started realizing the effect of a longer horizon line in my photos…The curvature of the earth became more perceptible and more interesting. I think there are a couple of factors at play.. the change in orientation of the horizon starts exercising our brains and we stop looking at the horizon with our preconceived notion that it is a flat line, instead we study it and recognize the curvature. We are using both sides of our brain when we look at the scene set upside down…I find that scintillating. Shooting with a wide angle lens can also exaggerate the curve as the lines spread at the edges of the photo.

To get back to the theme, it’s about trying to communicate the scene as the story of a living planet rather than a snapshot of static landscape. When I am editing, I ask myself, “Does this picture draw me into the scene? Is there a motion to it?” I want to make the planet talk, if only in a whisper. I think my better photographs are beginning to accomplish that. I don’t have a set criteria for what I choose to share, but I try to share the shots that I am excited about.

Me: This one, “Settling Skies” — clouds! I LOVE clouds! They look like I could bounce on them down the sky and then fall asleep on them… The composition of the photo with the wide slant and angle of the horizon point … was the sun “setting” or “rising” here?

Settling Skies (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Settling Skies — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH:  In this shot, the sun is setting as we cruise over a broken cloud deck over South Florida. These clouds are the remains of a failed storm that ran out of energy when the sun began to set. Flying relatively close to their tops, the light and shadows really accentuated the drama of the scene. Turning the wide angle lens at various angles helped me create a sense of motion instead of trying to capture a static sunset. The weather sort of speaks for itself and becomes the story and it is complimented by the light (rather than the other way around). We cruise around between 200 and 500 miles per hour (depending on our altitude), but it feels as though we are moving slowly. The fun part of flying around the clouds is that they are our closest source of relative motion so when we pass a nearby cloud, we get a sense of how fast we are moving and it can be exhilarating. By focusing on the clouds in this shot, I tried to share some of that sensation.

Me: The sun never actually “sets” or “rises” it’s the rotation of earth that makes those things “happen” — speak to that. So, you’re sort of chasing the sun, aren’t you? (Aren’t we all?)

TAH:  You have the right idea…as a pilot, I often find myself riding on a ribbon of light between night and day. We may take off after sunset only to experience it again once we get up to altitude. Depending on our direction of flight, that sunset might last a few hours. When flying to the west coast at sunset, I think of the trip as flying into a “perpetual sunset” as the sun will sit just above the horizon from the time we takeoff until we reach eastern Arizona. Not a good time to forget your sunglasses.

These flights also give us a great look at the shadow of the earth as it moves across the surface. The line it creates is called a “terminator” and it defines the twilight zone with an angular haze of purple light where the penumbral and umbral shadows meet. Avoiding the stare of the sun on these flights, we look left and right and see that we are riding in that twilight zone. It’s very hard to photograph, but the lighting effect is utterly fascinating. This is one of those things we see that make us feel like we have a secret to share.

Me: Sigh. FINAL question: I’d love to ask you questions about how your faith (if you’re OK with that) might be confirmed or chipped away by your experiences in flight when so much of it is science — how do you reconcile it? I see these images and it makes me totally believe in God; then I hear all your technical explanations and terms of art and science and then i swing to the science yet it loses none of the romance of mystery and faith. (Let me know if this isn’t making any sense…)

talk about scientific and technical... (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

where it all goes up and down… talk about scientific and technical… (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

TAH: If anything, I have to believe that my perspective has given me a greater appreciation of the world as a natural living thing. Its heartbeats are expressed in water through the arterial flow of rivers and capillary streams. Its breath is spawned by the effect of radiation on it surface causing variations in pressure combining with Coriolis forces that create ever-changing patterns of wind. Its memory is on display through the forms of landmasses and the geological scars that they bear. Science provides the explanations for the nature of our existence, but faith guides us through the atmosphere as we experience forces that influence our reality. What I find fascinating is that we are all influenced by the same forces, but most of us seek sum up our faith in a single finite explanation to address the mysteries (and science) of life in one tidy package of belief. I believe it’s bigger than that.

The concept of the Holy Spirit provides me more comfort with what I know of the world. The earth may have been born from genius or absolute chance, but the manner in which things intertwine and work synergistically to create a world that supports something as fragile as the life we know leads me to have faith that there are forces in, around, between and through us that, perhaps, represent the work of that Holy Spirit. That spirit sends us on a path that we follow if we are wise enough to see the signs. Putting a face or a name or a language to that force seems inadequate.

I feel a little heretical when I discuss this perspective. I feel as though the metaphysical power of prayer is a true expression of the Spirit between all things and that is more to the root of our existence. Putting a human face or a name on our beliefs satisfies a human need to understand but traps us in a small and divisive view of the world that does more to tear us apart than to better our existence. Rather understanding our environment through science and appreciating the mystery of “why” as being unanswerable leaves us with faith as our guide.

I find great comfort in knowing that all things are connected, but I am in awe of creation (and words cannot express this kind of awe that we feel in our nervous system…it’s butterflies, “pins and needles,” and sheer electricity) and I feel blessed constantly to have the gift of perspective that my work gives me. That is the expression I hope comes through in my photography.

[Aside: This all sounds pretty odd (I know) and I don’t know if it fits with where you want to go with this. On the faith front, I think I am becoming more of a Taoist and reconciling that with my Episcopalian faith…I have recently started becoming very “anti-dogma” and “pro-faith”]

Me: What you said… I get all of that. There is no ONE WAY to define faith for me; it’s so expansive, so to me, also should be my appreciation.

Here’s a picture I just nabbed for the fun of it:

Crossing Over the Moon (New Mexico) (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

Crossing Over the Moon (New Mexico) — (c) M.C. Andrews Photography

These photos are just a sampling of Malcolm’s talent and images. I grabbed mostly his aerial photography because it’s so compelling, but his terra firma shots are absolutely nourishing as well. His official website is here: http://mcandrewsphotography.zenfolio.com — check him out before he’s super famous.

Thanks, Malcolm.

Thank you.

On Writing … Muses … Bathrooms … Daffy Duck … Palms … and Order from Chaos


My email box “ding!’ed” this morning with a message from WordPress telling me it was time to meet my blog’s weekly posting goal.

Would I like to write more often? Of course. Can I? Sure. Do I feel like I can do it whenever the moments strikes me? No. Oftentimes, I’m washing dishes or driving to a lesson or in the middle of sleep when inspiration strikes. I need to get better about writing things down.

I have a dear friend whose beloved gently mocks her for keeping a journal in their restroom because it’s often in the middle of the night when she gets an idea, which is so brilliant, that she also has to evacuate her bladder. This is the way it goes for some of us.

I am often roused from a brilliant dream or deep sleep with inventions or stories or insights and I SWEAR allegiance to the ideas, murmuring, “no, no, I’ve got it, the dusty suede shoes are a metaphor for Nnngngngnnzznznzngnggg growth along with the inner nnnnngngnngzzzng and then it’s all over, everyone thrives!” and it’s gone.

I may as well just bolt upright, point and laugh at my muses the thin air saying, “You’re wasting your time! Go tell Elizabeth Gilbert! Is Updike still alive? I won’t remember this at all!” and then flop back onto my down pillow, thrusting reluctant feathers into the air.


Feathers. Woo-woo people like me believe feathers are a sign that our angels are near. If they’re near when I have those nocturnal insights, they are legion, trust me. I found out two weeks ago that I have six angels or guides or whatever by my side, but is that a good thing? Maybe I’m totally lost and am a mess. Don’t go near Molly, she’s got SIX guides… she can’t find her way out of a paper bag much less an existential crisis…

What do I do with it all? All these ideas, these insights? I can change: I can allow myself to wake up, just for a moment, write down what’s going on and hope to the chocolate gods I can read it in the morning and go with it. I can do what others do: wake up completely in the middle of the night. Go with it, set my fanny on my yoga ball chair and put my laptop on dim and start tapping away. I’ve never tried it. It’s spring break, I could try. I don’t want to disturb my husband or kids though.

Thus, it’s occurred to me that famous writers must *have* to be total narcissists. I mean, how else can you decide to wake in the middle of the night, put on a robe, pour yourself a scotch, light a cigarette, shuffle off to where your perch is and start tapping or scribbling away without a care in the world about whether you wake someone. Just you, and your method, and your muses.

Children need to eat, to be seen and embraced. Dogs need to be let out, groomed, fed, talked to.

On the advice of my therapist last year, I read a New Yorker column, “Sins of the Father” by James Wood about a modest collection of memoirs written by the children of famous father writers, William Styron, Saul Bellow and someone else I can’t recall (sorry!) and how these now-adult children are faring in the long shadows of their dads. Being a child of a writerly father, I could identify with a good amount of the column. The need for quiet, the temperamental (I’m being nice) personalities and their “I CAN’T WORK LIKE THIS, PEOPLE!” tendencies. It’s not that my father is a famous writer; it’s that he is a serious writer and a serious personality. I don’t write about him much here because I do feel it’s necessary to keep the boundaries clear. I will say this however: being the child of a dedicated writer / artist / scholar / any interest the adult has of its own that doesn’t involve family time, can be very challenging.

Buuuuut …. we WANT people to have lives. We WANT people to continue their pursuits. It’s very important for people of all ages and stages to have SOMETHING of their own that is truly separate and nourishing to their spirit. Does it matter if it doesn’t earn an income? Eventually, yes, to the practitioner, it does.

At first, it’s something the avocationist pursues for mental growth, but after a while, the question of “purpose” comes walking into the room, gently standing over you while you type, paint, read, hum… nudging you, “say… what are you going to DO with all of this?” and then your sense of value / your ego comes into play, “yeah… what AM I going to do with all this?” and before too long, you’re Daffy Duck arguing with yourself after being outsmarted by Bugs Bunny.

Or …  you start to percolate and wonder clearly as yourself, “there should be something bigger, right?”

That’s human nature.

I’m in Good Hands.

About four years ago, I met a woman who is now a very good friend. She is a “non-predictive palm reader”; she’s not the gypsy with the magic glitter and finger cymbals. She’s a math-y, skeptic, scientific, hard data person. She runs successful businesses and she’s not at all a flake. She’s also one of the funniest people I know and that’s saying a lot because I know some really funny people.

She read my palms. I have the prints upstairs in my bedroom. I remember her saying, but I forgot it after several years, when she first met me, and looked at my hands, just for an instant, and searched in me asking, “What if it could be easier? What if it didn’t have to be so hard?” That moment haunted me then, and reading it again last night, it swept me away again. Indeed, ‘what if it could be easier.’ I sit here wondering just that. Still. I fight myself all the time.

I audio recorded our first and only full palm-reading session. I transcribed the recording and I went back last night, for the first time in several years, and read what she had to say. This time, I believe I am ready to really hear her and hear what my hands had to say about me then and look at how my prints have changed since then.

I am left handed. I have strong Mercury lines on each of my hands. Mercury is the communication / messenger god in palmistry. I also have on my left pinkie my purpose marker, a “whorl” which looks like a swirl. Quoting directly from our session, this is what Peggie had to say,

My purpose is on my left pinkie: the whorl – it stands out: my purpose is to help other people transform. I hold the safe spaces – I’m the healer and I have healer gift markings. Healer is life purpose and markings – I’m to clear out my own stuff and do my own thing and then help other people. Here’s where you are and here’s where I am, here’s my life story and I’m telling you this so that you can learn too. That’s my life purpose. To inspire to others that if I can do it, they can do it too. That’s where the healing comes from. Inspiring to others.

What have I done since that reading? I put it away. I thought about it and put it away. I thought I’d moved on, that I wasn’t doing anything with the information. But as we say, “you can’t un-ring a bell” and I heard the peal, even though I thought I hadn’t.

Well, it turns out I heard her, I just still need to keep hearing her.

I started this blog about four months later. I remember consciously thinking, “this is me stepping into my purpose a bit. This is me taking a chance, telling my story (somewhat) and trying it out.”

I find, when I let me out, I can hold that space for others. But I can’t let that be my only space. I need to step into my space too, which requires that I get out of my own way.

Order from the Chaos.

It’s been quite a month for me. I’ve taken over three yoga classes from people who were over-scheduled, started a new one from scratch, ended an eight-week session, got fingerprinted and background checked, filed for insurance, filed for yoga alliance registry, created lesson plans, taken in checks, accounted for students, shifted pick-up and drop-off of my kids for various lessons, school dismissals, practices and the like, attended my yoga classes where I get to be told what to do, gutted a freezer, folded laundry, made dinners (sometimes woefully), walked the dogs, volunteered at school for other stuff, blown out my hair, colored my roots, gone to angel healers, eaten and slept, attended a children’s book signing, put on make-up and have done my best to maintain a level head. I’ve done more downward facing dogs and triangle poses in the last month than I’ve done in one year, I’m sure of it.

My friend from high school is an airline pilot. He has a blog in which he shares amazing photos from the cockpit and writes a little bit (juuuust enough to keep the gears turning after you finish) about each photo and the impression it leaves on him. I have always thought highly of this friend. He would boldly wear bow ties in high school. He’s an old soul and he’s very bright and clever. When my freezer died about three weeks ago, I pretty much lost my mind for a few hours. The timing simply and ineloquetly “sucked.” It was totally in the throes of this new yoga teaching I was beginning and it was one of those moments when I was certain, I just didn’t have the time, or the mental bandwidth to deal with it. But deal with these things we must, yes?

The freezer died because one of my sons left it open ALL NIGHT. We had just stocked it with our hunt at Costco. I wrote about it and my ensuing thrust into reflection here.

This friend wrote to me about my chaos in that moment. He posted his comments on the blog post itself.

In retrospect (and two days later) I let soak in what he had to say and it made sense. I even paraphrased it as a quote to be read at the end of my yoga classes:

Chaos and disorder are the natural order of a mind seeking an enlightened path and reason. Chaos, and the sense of hope it can eventually yield, show us that there is a path for everything and it rarely begins with perfection.

Those who would have us believe the opposite, that everything is “wireable” don’t help us to understand and grow from the wisdom of chaos.

However at the time, I saw what he said and at the moment I was all defiant, “piffle” I thought; “so insightful of you from your 30,000 feet view to see the serendipity of this moment of total eff-upedness in my life.” I laugh about my reaction now. I wasn’t nasty internally about it, I just couldn’t deal at the time with his compassion. I was still caught up in the moment of it, so angry about it all: the loss of food, the tossing of food into the trash, and of course the re-spending of funds for both a new freezer and the restocking of the food. Ugh.

These are the things we do to ourselves: these first-world problems and I know it’s exactly what that is, and I caught a little bit of flack for bitching about the truth of that, but you know: stress is stress and I was literally in a fit to be tied at that moment. “That’s a nice problem to have” is a phrase that can OFTEN be heard streaming from my lips and people reluctantly nod; that’s how I see the world: there’s silver in every cloud, but sometimes it takes longer than others to see it.

While I don’t have “money issues” per sé, I grew up with parents who really did (it was nuts) and so naturally, there’s a tape that runs through my head whenever a big purchase occurs or something of monetary value is inherited, or lost. Here’s how I see money: it’s constantly in flow, but I feel there must be a purpose to it: I would rather give away $100 to someone in need than set $100 on fire. So at the time, I saw all of that: the whole shebang, as setting $100 on fire.

But there is order now, the lesson in that chaos that my friend so eloquently shared and taught me.

And I am not a little humbled by the events which have unfolded in my life in recent weeks that have brought me to this realization now: that looking back on my palm reading with my dear friend that I’ve got some work to do, some new lines have appeared along my Mercury lines, “stars” or “lessons” as they’re known.

Despite the fact that I’ve done a lot already, I haven’t done The Thing; I haven’t sat and written The Book. The Story. The Memoir. The Lessons. I already have a title. “Hang Nail.” Ha! No, that’s the name of an emo-rock band I would create. I’m not going to share the title here. It’s not yet written.

We have the new freezer. It was delivered Monday. I had to leave the room. I can’t be present when people install large things in my house. I have some issue with fingers being pinched or toes being crushed; or people being pinned against walls because it’s hard to negotiate the piece in my home. It’s quite entertaining, this issue of mine and my husband has asked me to write about it. I will. All in good time, my pretty.

I posted this on my Facebook page about the new freezer,

Our freezer never recovered. It was at least 15 years old. It had been left open too long one too many times. Today, we bid farewell to that freezer. 

And got a new one. With a light. With baskets. With control buttons in a panel on the outer door. With an alarm. With a tax rebate for its energy efficiency. It went from 76 degrees to 33 degrees in 30 minutes. 

I love this country.

Many people took the comment in the spirit in which it was intended. As a comical, ironic reference to my first-world hubris and sick sense of entitlement. One friend asked what it is about us Americans and our freezers and second refrigerators in the garages, etc., and what it’s all for.

I had to nod with her question. I mean, what is it? Half defensive because of my consumerism and half defensive because I’m a shitty planner, I blame my extra freezer on my growing children’s appetites and my utter disdain for grocery shopping. If you want to bore any living hell out of me, send me to a grocery store. Really. Some people love it. I want to stab myself with pencil erasers.

So I ask, can a freezer be glorious? Or is it going to be a constant reminder to me of overconsumption and self-indulgence?

At this point, I simply can’t be bothered to wonder or judge myself for it. I’m American. It’s here, in my house, plugged in and preserving my sanity much like Han Solo when he was captured by Jabba the Hut. In fact, I just put a little bag of water in there marked, “Mom’s sanity — keep frozen.” Maybe I will go to it when I wake in the middle of the night and it will inspire me. We will see what happens.

the freezer will preserve my sanity.

the freezer will preserve my sanity.

Thank you.