September 16, 2018 § 4 Comments
If you weren’t you wouldn’t be reading my blog post.
Everything is fine. Neither fight, nor flight needs to be called in. No action is required.
So, take a conscious breath…and let it out slowly.
But maybe you are only fleetingly in this moment, the words on your screen registering intermittently because much of your brain is occupied with scouting ahead, scanning the future for that gray speck you just know will be trouble when it gets here.
Your body, which has a hard time distinguishing between present and future danger, responds, not to the words you are reading, but to what you are imagining. Muscles tense, your heart gallops.
This mirrors the magical thinking that assured you, looking under your childhood bed was what turned monsters into shoes and dust balls.
Chances are, you had nothing to do with containing the perceived threat, which was probably not a threat at all, but just a blot on the horizon as random and transient as a cloud shadow.
August 3, 2018 § 4 Comments
God stood by the side of the road holding a cardboard sign. HUNGRY, it said.
He’d written the word with the marker he’d put in his own pocket by conceiving of one…Let There Be a Marker. How solid it had felt in his just-as-solid hand. In use, the marker had squeaked across the cardboard; the ink was running out.
The marker was the only dry thing by this twilit strip of asphalt. Rain was pelting down. God’s hair dripped, and the rain ran its cold fingers down his neck soaking his T-shirt.
The last time he had come here clothed in flesh it had been hot and dusty, but like this, it had been vibrant in a way omnipresence could never match. Omnipresence was existence spread thin.
Being everywhere and nowhere had a lot in common. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 18, 2018 § 4 Comments
Full-grown, we are generally in the 5’-6’ range.
We do not fly, so human eye level is our perpetual vantage point.
Those living things that are larger than we are, and there aren’t many, are viewed at that eye level. We see the trunk, but have to make a conscious effort to lean back and peer up into the crown of a tree.
Sure, we see full trees as distance brings them down to eye level, but distance obscures, generalizes.
To see, really see a tree…well…I suppose you would have to climb it, get up to tree-eye level. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2018 § 5 Comments
We live in a constant state of wonder.
The discovery we have hands, that water can splash, that sand yields to toes, that faces that vanish come back in response to the magic word “peekaboo,” that grasshoppers hop, all amaze us.
In our early years wonder has our full attention.
Time passes and the kid gets cool. Wonder, as available as ever, is often met with a shrug, a quick glance. Wonder requires us to stop. Stare. Forget everything else.
Frankly, we are too busy for wonder. We’ve seen it all before. Unless it comes with huge pyrotechnics we put any potential source of wonder on the slag heap of been-there-done-that.
As if it were an illness, we have built up an immunity to wonder.
But as we get old wonder comes slowly back. It catches our eye, briefly at first, but over time our attention turns inexorably toward it, until wonder pervades almost everything we do, see, hear, taste, feel, think. My husband says it is as if wonder invites us back in. Or maybe we are the ones who issue that invitation.
All I know is that sometimes wonder is so present I can almost fly on its wings.
March 2, 2018 § 4 Comments
As the physical therapist was teaching me an exercise to relieve the weird pains in my upper back I mentioned that years ago a surgeon had offered to fuse three vertebrae.
“Of course you won’t be able to raise and lower your head,” he’d said. “And you could be paralyzed from the neck down, but the chance is very slim.”
I thanked him and got out of his office fast.
“You know why he recommended surgery?” asked the physical therapist.
“Because he’s a surgeon.”
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The physical therapist, a man who wielded a different hammer, offered me a simple stretching exercise to fix the same problem. And it has.
December 30, 2017 § 7 Comments
Growing up, New Year’s Eve meant eating chili on the couch, watching the ball drop, and each of us declaring to my mother (the family scribe) our New Year’s resolutions.
All were recorded in an innocuous notebook with a cover the color of dried peas.
If we didn’t make them for ourselves, she did. My father’s made-for-him resolution every year? Lose ten pounds.
Looking at that book I see one made in high school, definitely by me: to sing as well as Judy Collins.
No one in the family lived up to those vows, no matter who had made them. From the get-go I knew this was a system that broke down somewhere between plan and execution.
But after leaving home I still made resolutions in a notebook of my own:
Write 25 songs, paint the living room, finish the novel.
The resolutions are numbered and everything.