Summer Notions 2016
           I fall in love routinely. 
          Not in the romantic sense.. Most of the time we don’t even need to speak a word to one another. 
           I fall for the people. 
          The ones I pass on the streets. The ones I commute with and exist besides.The subtle smiles that cross my sights. The person who sits next to me on a bus. The people being the truest versions of themselves in that specific moment. The sincerity of their actions when they think no ones watching. When we exist truly. These are the forgotten moments of honesty. The ones I tend to care for more than the flash and flair of hyped extravaganza. But rather, the strength we as humans can exhibit in the moments that we least expect.  
Outdoor Exhibit by Agnes Cecile in Rome 2015. Piece Titled: "Growing Toward The Sun"
        Quietly witnessing someone deeply enthralled by their newspapers, or to catch a stranger laughing at their phones in sheer exuberance.. Noticing someone over-eager to check their watch. It can be an absolutely enchanting experience to see two people greet one another with familiar sincerity. I watch the way body language alters from person to person and the air around each foreign creature. I survey their beams, their quirks.. Sometimes even something as simple as the way they take their coffee. A day spent satisfyingly may be an afternoon on a bench, with a book, pausing periodically to take in all that surrounds me. I analyze and perceive my crossing strangers’ mannerisms, their eyes, the way they hold their shoulders.. Maybe appreciating them in a way that they don't quite know how to do their selves. 
       Perhaps this is a side effect to knowing our own selves too well.. We become blind.
       And what a funny thing that sometimes the eyes of a stranger can view a radiant newness in a completely objective way.
       Although I go off on loops, my thoughts remain the same. 
      Strangers can be mirrors. Showing us a part of ourselves we perhaps allowed to go dormant, or simply just unnoticed for too long. 
Artwork by Adan Fajar Maruciel 
        I consider what they may do occupationally, what they may indulge in outside of that, contemplating the lives that we all lead. What they may look like without makeup, how they feel about their circumstance, how they deliberated their hair and styling that morning. By reaching into myself to ponder the surrounding condition, I can easily pass the days with the characters I create. Some are a bit more creative than perhaps reality could consent, others seem to be uncanny with accuracy through calculated deductions.
         Basking in the detail of people is a joy I crave as sometimes it may go unseen. Investigating my passer-byers, and seeking our similarities. More interestingly, seeking out our differences, and depicting all that I can wistfully measure of beautiful human nature.
Piece by Adara Sanchez, Titled "Sin Valentín" (2015).
          Outside of my strange pastime of distanced observance, I thoroughly relish in the delights of people’s personal accounts of their stories. 
        Seeing a person through their own eyes is undoubtedly the most stimulating aspect of it all. Lately, I have found it a most intriguing situation to engage someone who barely seems to think of themselves. Though it may sound like an odd theory, I have found a very remarkable character type is the gloriously detached. 
        Their nature is refreshingly careless, contentedly at peace, and staggeringly free.
-Artwork by mixed media Artist, Jessica Rimondi 
         The first time I crossed this notion myself was a few years ago on a seaside strand of vacationing revelers. 
          I separated myself to a far corner of the world where I could enjoy peaceful solitude, when suddenly a beautiful elderly woman appeared asking me what I was doing all by my lonesome. She carried herself with a more youthful essence that perhaps I had ever before witnessed. I told her I was simply enjoying my company and with a familiar smiling understanding, she invited herself to sit beside me. I had to laugh at the ease of her outgoing nature, and the way she made me feel as if she were returning to me after an insignificant duration apart.
         Her name, she told me, was Myra. Which framed her character in such a harmoniously complete manner. She asked me intimate questions that I had never before deliberated to reflect upon. I remember her wise and serene casualty as she beckoned me on subjects such as, “What feels like love to you?” and carried on to say things resembling, “Well, I don’t care how old you are, how old do you feel?”
Photograph by Kyle J Thompson, Photographer in Portland, Oregan. 
         Myra appeared to me as if she existed in a world of her own creation. It was here that she moved with only the motivation of intention. Perhaps I romanticized her as an otherworldly creature but I knew with conviction that she was the rare exception, consciously existing outside of human habit. It felt as if she was everyone and yet anonymously she was no one in that same logic. She had the most incontestable, electrifying glow about her. She was absolutely incandescent.
        The color dripped from her pores and the world opened more clearly the deeper I fell into her complex layers. Myra spoke of her life as if she were running the universe, holding it up by the corner of her smirk. The way it felt to understand her made me feel as if there were no longer any limitations. The world was bright and inviting and the people within it more handsome and delicate than I had even known how to consider before. Her intuitive wisdom rang with such deep truth to me. Beautiful Myra was self-reliantly and unconventionally happy. 
       These certainties opened my mind to a more obvious and fulfilling practice of being.  
       As quickly as she appeared to me, she was carried forth to her next ethereal vocation. Her breath was consumed by sunlight and though I’ll always wish for further time with her, she offered me such an indescribable gift. The experience of connecting with her spirit allowed me to open myself up to accepting that I need not waste another moment being afraid of death, but more meaningfully, of life.

      To sum up my thoughts on these philosphical and abstract ideas we as humans are constantly dealing with, I am left with a more aware standard for myself of living. 
      We all cross each other’s paths, move silently through one another’s stories, and quietly witness one another’s greatness, despite often being blind to it. The world is an unfathomably large place, and there are lessons to be learned in almost every corner of it. Sometimes we witness people centered deeply in the midst of their own lives. Other times, people intersect our atmospheres with the unintentional purpose to shake everything up that we believed before being made aware of their existence. I want loneliness, and hurt to be a distant reminiscence, burrowed deeply within my chest, patiently asleep. I took the time to witness peace in other’s eyes until I could understand it within my own. 
       Taking the time to appreciate surroundings, the people passing through them, and my own realm of presence amongst everyone else’s, I realize how little there is to be afraid of. 
      Everyone has their own coping mechanism, a sort of sanction of comfort, and their own personalized way of seeking it. 
      I have sought many and landed upon one conclusive truth - This being that there are few things in this world which bring as solidifying of a reassurance as the promising potential to fall in love every day. Let us all seek it more. 
Sending Light,
                                                                                                                                                      Juliet Hillbrand
2016 Poetry 
Creative Writing Course
 Artwork by Johnny Hoglund. Untitled (Fire-Man) Oil on Canvas.
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