I’ve used the word mélange for over two decades, and it is only tonight that I have taken the time to look up its origins. Most of us know the word mélange to denote a sort of mixture, and there is a connotation that suggests the mixture is comprised of quite disparate, almost incongruous elements. I am confident in this usage, and the only reason I looked up the word tonight was so that I could cut and paste it into my post in order that the acute diacritical mark above the “e” would appear—it would probably be more efficient to learn how to type those accents on the QWERTY keyboard, but there you have it. 

Anyway. 

I wanted to use the word mélange because I intended for this post to have no real order to it, just some quotes and pictures and passing thoughts that have been part of me the past few days. Somewhat like a mini tumblr I suppose. 

Mélange takes its origins from the language of geology. Here is its true definition, as taken from thefreedictionary.com:

A metamorphic rock formation created from materials scraped off the top of a downward moving tectonic plate in a subduction zone. Mélanges occur where plates of oceanic crust subduct beneath plates of continental crust, as along the western coast of South America. They consist of intensely deformed marine sediments and ocean-floor basalts and are characterized by the lack of regular strata, the inclusion of fragments and blocks of various rock types, and the presence of minerals that form only under high pressure and low temperature conditions. 

Cool, huh? And here I thought it was one of the more square and blasé words I use. Oh no, mélange is ready to have a rhetoric party with that awesome backstory. In its origin of construction, it cries out for deconstruction. 

I had the laugh at the idea of my mind as a sort of deformed, irregular place—definitely to some, that might seem to be the case. Yet what I really connected to was the presence of minerals that necessitate high pressure in order to form in the first place. I’ve been putting quite a bit of pressure on myself lately (so what else is new, right?) to live as though there are thirty hours in a twenty-four hour day. Most of the time I love that intensity of living, but every once in awhile I need to slow it all down for a few days. And that’s where I am at right at this moment tonight. I am the foraging seagull who has finally alighted on the craggy rocks to look out at the sea dazzling in the setting sun. In this slower pace, I look back over the past week and scrape off the very best parts to build my mélange.

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Yesterday the kiddos and I drove down to Rancho Santa Fe to meet up with my friend Lauren Bier. A fellow Stanford alum, she spent awhile as an elementary school teacher in North Carolina and is now a 2L at the University of Pittsburgh’s law school. Rancho Santa Fe is her hometown, though, and she comes home often for breaks. After picking her up, we went on to Balboa Park and explored the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. We loved our playdate with her and took these photo booth pictures. Fun!

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Tea time in the afternoon

 

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We found It’s-It at the Ralph’s nearby. Classic San Francisco. The kiddos devoured theirs. We imagined ourselves to be of a different time and place. 

Mary Oliver’s poem In Blackwater Woods has been speaking to my soul again lately. You can find it here in its entirety. But these are the lines that move me every time I think of the people in our family who have passed: 

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

 

Isn’t that the truth? 

 

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One of Eric’s favorite books lately is The Little Engine that Could. Vintage optimism. He asks for it almost nightly.

Do you want to read a neat story about bugs? Then read here about the Dryococelus australis. I love insects. Life is so humbling, the more you know. 

This is my short mélange for now. 

Night night.

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