Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Borrowed Thoughts

I wish I'd written this. I didn't though - Pat Schneider did. Think on this:

The Patience of Ordinary Things

It is a kind of love, is it not?

How the cup holds the tea,

How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare, 

How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes

Or toes. How soles of feet know

Where they're supposed to be.

I've been thinking about the patience 

Of ordinary things, how clothes

Wait respectfully in closets

And soap dries quietly in the dish,

And towels drink the wet

From the skin of the back.

And the lovely repetition of stairs.

And what is more generous than a window?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photo Meme

Diane invited participants to a meme that includes a post describing the 4th picture from one's 4th photo folder. So, here are the "toad heads," my four blonde children, circa 1974. There's a story here, of course. I'd left the little ones in the car with my mother while I dashed into the store. When I came out, Ken, the tyke on the right, was in tears.

"Why are you crying?" I asked him.

He pointed to the back of a departing woman. "She called me a name!"

My mother leaned over the seat. "She stopped by and remarked about what cute little tow heads the kids were."

"See?" wailed Ken. "She called me a toad head, and she doesn't even know me!"

*Inviting all of you to participate :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Come For a Walk With Me

I live not far from the house I was raised in. Periodically I get so homesick for the woods and fields of my childhood that I go back to walk the familiar paths. I took my camera on today's jaunt. Come with me on up the hill...

There are meadows on both sides of the road edged with woods that stretch for miles. This whole street was my playground and I spent most of my waking hours out of doors.

A mile or so from the old homestead is the sledding hill, a now defunct meadow grown over with barberry bushes and small trees. From where we're standing, the snowy trail was an exhilarating slide over jutting rocks, small bushes and a thorn tree at the bottom. Today the sun is warm and the chill wind is buffered by the trees. Let's sit awhile and watch the red tail hawks ride the updrafts.

I was often scolded by the farmers on my street for setting hands full of milkweed fluff free to float over their meadows. None of those farmers are left today but the magic of flinging the silken seeds to the wind is still alive.

Lean your arms on the fence and drink in the view - I herded cows toward the barn at milking time through this meadow and helped hay the hidden hillside fields beyond the tree line.

I often brought a book to this tree. When I was younger, and the branches were lower to the ground, I'd climb to a seat on one of it's outstretched arms and read for a while. More often, I'd just sit there in the company of the dreaming tree and watch the wildlife around me.

I love my little cottage but there are days when I simply must go back to the places that nourished me long ago. Thanks for coming along.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


My eldest son sent me a photograph one Christmas. It is early morning in the picture and the sun is just rising. Its light gilds the waters of the lake in the background, kisses the tops of the trees, and spreads a delicate gold wash on the grassy bank where my son stands, his head back, his arms thrown wide in jubilation, his feet in the steps of a twirling dance. It is the most wonderful image of welcome I have ever seen.

Imagine greeting each day this way! Why do we not? In a conversation with my daughter, we discussed the reasons we thought people cling to sorrow in the face of joy, hatred in the midst of love, greed in the midst of plenty and anger in the presence of peace.

“Fear,” she said, summing up the source of most of our woes in a single word.

When you think of what fear fosters, she is right. Turn on the news in the morning and you start your day with terror on all sides – war, a teetering economy, toxins on the loose, kidnapping and murder and high-jacking, suicides and genocides. We surround ourselves with things to be afraid of and in doing so, miss much of the joy and happiness we say we are so earnestly seeking.

Who has not had their share of sorrow, but what of the large and small joys that make up the very same days? What of the morning mist that rises on the pond, now milky white, now gold with the rising sun, now gone? What of the sound of music that can lift your soul or the kind of laughter that makes you smile in spite of yourself? What of birdsong?

What of the people you meet every day who do things of seeming inconsequence– smile when they see you, hold a door open, let you go ahead of them in the supermarket line, pay your toll on the turnpike, make a meal, bring a cup of tea, write a letter, call on the phone, hold your hand when you are sad, lend their car when yours won’t start, rejoice with you over good news?

What of the neighbor who plows your yard after he’s plowed his own and drives off without waiting for thanks or payment? What of the hero who risks his own life to save your child’s, or the strangers who come to your aid after a house fire? What of love in any of its guises? Can we not put these first, making them as important and as precious as the things that scare us?

We may be beset by woe on every side, but while we weep the sun continues to rise and set, commanded by something larger than itself. The music of the universe plays unendingly even when we are not listening. Flowers bloom and fade and bloom again. The very wind sweeps the seeds of change before it. Is it foolish to think we can choose joy, or more foolish not to?

I have placed my son’s picture where I can see it upon waking. Now, before I listen to the dire warnings of the day, I stand at the window and look out, seeing the world as a wondrous place. Then I throw my head back, spread my arms wide in jubilation and welcome the day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, huh

Whipped this quote right off The Elementary's blog without a by your leave because it speaks so perfectly to the current state of our current affairs.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
-George Bernard Shaw

It would appear that, in the political arena at least, most of our "thinking" is being funneled through the lens of emotion, so one in the market to influence is either preaching to the choir or to the deaf.

photo: bp2.blogger.com/.../ s320/miscommunication.jpg

Thursday, October 09, 2008

How much do you love?

When my granddaughter was just a little tot (pictured here) she used to call me on the phone. We'd talk about her day and what she had done and what she was thinking. Before we hung up, she would repeat a ritual she'd started at the end of the very first phone call.

"Memere, I love you as much as... " Here she paused and I pictured her casting about for something with which to compare her love for me. "I love you as much as all the sofa pillows on all the sofas in the whole world," she ended triumphantly.

I was charmed. Imagine! Not to be outdone, I told her, "Well, I love you as much as all the leaves on all the trees in the whole universe."

There was a little silence. Then, "I love you as much as all the clouds in the whole universe."

"And I love you as much as all the grains of sand on every beach in the whole world."

She sighed. "Memere, I love YOU infinity times infinity," and with that, she hung up.

Infinity was a pretty big concept for a four year old. Now that she's almost eight, her conversations run the gamut of school activities to friendships to what makes her cry, and better, what makes her laugh. She especially enjoys teaching her Memere things and searches for ways to surprise me. But her goodbyes are still presaged with "I love you as much as..."

Tonight it was, "I love you as much as all the raindrops that ever fell and ever will fall." Imagine loving and being loved like that. We should all try it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Greeting the day...

To be out of doors when the sun rises is to both give and receive a blessing. The light spills over the horizon, illuminating and warming. The heart swells with appreciation and gratitude.

This morning the air was cold; frost covered the bent grasses and a shifting ghostly mist obscured the pond. My footsteps startled a pair of ducks resting in the reeds and they lifted, quacking furiously, from the water. The silence resettled in their wake.

Behind me the sun was lifting above the horizon, lighting the treetops first. Ahead, a yellow maple blazed in the first light. Slowly the grey, swirling mist turned gold. My own breath, visible in the cold, lifted past my face and drifted out to join the breath of the morning.