Life comes down to microseconds. Minutes, hours, seasons. Ordinary time. Weekdays, weekends. Occasions that come and go, and events that don’t seem consequential. It’s a blink. An instant we bring something special, something that breathes life into us. The marrow of our life blood. The sum and substance of our existence.
faded scenes and sinking dreams, missed connections, and narrow streets in all directions, immense, impending structures, intense, irrational stares, dizzying stairs in random rooms, that lead to rooms, commanding, tangled thoughts, unravel reality, erase familiarity, hands sweaty, legs heavy, breathless, and thready, turning, reverting, blurring, escape, escape …
ahhh, yes … awake … yes … awake.
Do we all have pieces like this? Words we write, and we re-write, and re-write. It never feels complete or just right. I have at least five versions of this one. I’m not comfortable with this style of writing, but the words don’t fit well in sentences and paragraphs. Just maybe … it’s the sort of thing that should take me out of my comfort zone.
I just completed a small collection of written pieces and photos to give as presents this holiday. I did this last year too, and although the project is always surprisingly time-consuming, the end results are gratifying. This time, I tried to bring in plenty of bold colors and some of the dreamier layers of life. This piece is probably atypical, in terms of style, but it was one of the bits I included.
It was the posture of Princess Leia. She stooped and reached toward R2D2. Then she turned the dial and recorded her desperate message. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.
Two young girls, maybe first-graders, stood at the edge of the sidewalk, facing a small wooden fence post. Their heads close together, both leaning in to look closely at something on the fence post. The girls seemed to be on the way to school, and other kids and parents were on the move in the area too, on the sidewalks and streets. I drove slowly, as my timing and the situation warranted, and saw the girls there, on the sidewalk. What were they studying?
I came to a traffic stop near where they huddled. What could be so fascinating?
Ahh, of course. Someone had tacked a placard there. It was a have you seen my kitty flyer, with a big picture of the kitty.
I drove on, and they hadn’t moved at all. I’m not sure they were old enough to read, but they were still stooped and studying that flyer.
~~~~~ Photo’s from a different fence post on a different day.
Walks are good for thinking. They’re settling. You get time to spend pondering whatever’s on your mind.
There’s something I can’t quite bring to focus. And it’s not what I’d expect.
… I’m ready for cold …
I’m ready for a cold December morning when a few flakes of snow float in the neutral nothing of a dismal day, or whatever they do when it’s December and not yet the hard bitter cold of January’s winter.
If someone did a Top Ten list of plants that inspire, ferns would be there. Mayapples would be there. Giant oak trees would be there. Flowers that show up on their own, and bloom at the edge of a paved street, for sure would be there. I’m talking about plants with personality, plants that stir the imagination, plants that make you smile. Plants that make you write a story. It’s a short list.
A field of wildflowers, as far as the eye can see. That kind of imagination.
Ferns. A stegosaurus stomps the ‘earth’, the way we imagine the earth looked millions of years ago. With each step, the ground thuds as the dinosaur moves past vegetation…huge, prehistoric ferns. Yeah, that kind of imagination.
So, ferns. This is what I love about ferns. Well, for one thing, they hang around all year. They survive the winter. Like we do. They’re not fresh and robust when they meet the first light snowfall, or the last cold icy storm. But they don’t dry up and wither away, or lose all their leaves like some bigger, stronger, more impressive ‘plants’, otherwise known as trees. Buried under January’s coldest, iciest cover, the fern hunkers down, close to the ground. You scrape away the slush and snow and hardened icicles. And there’s a fern. I have respect for that.
Is there another plant that comes to life with the charm and charisma of a fern? I know, somebody’s gonna come up with some mushroom that pops up overnight in an interesting way. Nope, forget it, not good enough.
You can smell the scent of ‘earth’. And take in the filtered light shining from above through the branches of those tall awesome oak trees. Peculiar little mayapples cover the leafy-rich surface. And fancy green ferns unfold.
All those delicate flowers we planted in May, or June, they’re strong and showy now. Or they’ve withered and died. The tomatoes are tall, healthy, nearly out of control, ready to pick. And tall blades of grass that used to be bright green are a shamble of bent, disheveled straw.
The last days of summer always feel a bit restless. Maybe bittersweet. Like we’re living in yesterday’s moment, and holding off tomorrow’s worry. We try to relax, but there’s a nagging feeling … it’s almost gone.
In high school physics class, I did a paper on the theory of relativity. I didn’t choose the subject. It was a random distribution of topics, and I was lucky enough to get the theory of relativity. I did the research, I typed up the words and wrote sentences and paragraphs, and I prepared and delivered a presentation. Did I understand anything about the theory of relativity? No. I didn’t understand it then. I don’t understand it now.
After our stand-in-front-of-the-class presentations, the teacher asked each student a series of questions. So I read what I’d prepared for my report, and he asked me question #1, which I don’t recall at all. I spoke some words, because I was aware that words were required under such circumstances. But I knew, and he knew, I had almost no real understanding of the subject matter. I finished speaking and looked at him, and he looked at me with something like a blank look on his face. He said, ‘okay’, and there was a pause, and he moved on to the next presentation.