Saturday, March 28, 2009

“He Heard a Ruffle in a Bush”

When did I quit seeing the little things? When did things cease to stir awe inside me? Some of my best memories are filled with small wonders, fleeting moments, little things.
I still find joy whenever I spot a dolphin in the ocean. The first time was when I was nine or ten. My cousins were visiting and our families headed out one summer morning for the beach. When we reached the parking lot, we kids ran to the walkway over the road that dead ends into the sand. Looking out over the sun sparkled sea we saw three dolphins curving in and out of the water. I was so enthralled as I watched until they were out of sight.
Even a small touch, a hand on mine, can mean so much. One night as a teenager, my dad was driving me home from a school function when it began to pour down. The rain and lightning were so severe that we sat in our car in the driveway until there was a lull in the storm. Dad reached over and took my hand. I don’t recall what he said, but I do remember it was a real surprise. Dad had never been very affectionate. I’m not sure what he was feeling, but I remember the tender thoughts that stirred within me. I let him hold my hand. I wasn’t scared of the storm, but I didn’t want him to know that. I wanted him to think he was comforting me. Maybe that night was the beginning. I know, for me, it was very revealing. Dad really loved me. I know because of that small touch.
I need to be more aware of these moments. I don’t want to miss the dolphins or rainbows or falling stars. I want to enjoy wind chimes in my backyard and the ducks in my pond. I want to hear the ruffle in the bush.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"People in his Town and Neighborhood Judge People on Their Cover"

Judging people on their cover. If we are honest, I think we all do this, often unintentionally. We may say,"It's what's on the inside that counts," but the inside stuff determines, usually, what the outside stuff will be.

A teenager dressed all in black has chosen that dark look for a reason. We often think Gothic or,like my mother, witchcraft. I think it can be many reasons. One is to draw attention, perhaps to worry parents, or to try to say "I'm different", even though many friends are wearing black, also. So it could be to belong - to fit in with others by dressing like them. It might be to hide, or to blend into the background. Or to camouflage a large figure. Perhaps it's an indicator of a persistent melancholy, teenage angst. No matter what the reason, the cover does project the inside even though we just can't see that inside.

This is similar to book covers. Dark covers with gold writing? Classics. Dark covers with dark writing?Mysteries or horror. Pink and white with cutesy graphics? Chick lit. A passionate embrace? Romance.Food? Cookbooks. You get the picture.We may not know the story until we actually read it, but perusing the cover will give us a big clue.

So, when you see a woman with a good figure wearing a short skirt, you know it's to show off the legs. Because she wants a guy? She wants to be hip? She knows she has good legs? Or,just perhaps it's her sister's skirt because hers are all dirty. And today she likes the way this skirt looks and feels and she may just try to keep it permanently.

Many people dress according to occasion, weather, or what's clean. Others let their mood be their guide. Feeling frumpy? Overalls and a tee today. Energetic? A running suit. Business like? A knee length skirt with heels. Bohemian? A broomstick skirt and peasant blouse. Nothing in particular? Then jeans it will be.

Jeans are the most versatile, long-lasting staple of the fashion industry. You can dress them up and down, they come in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and shades. You've got skinny, embroidered with hearts, adorned with silver studs, bell bottoms,low-rise, high-rise,blue, black, even green. Age doesn't matter, either. From 6-60 and beyond, jeans are here to stay.

So, our cover is a matter of availability and preference. It says something about us. The only problem is, occasionally the meaning is lost in translation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"All day you make beautiful things for the other gods, but you can't spare a minute to make something for me!" (said the sun god)

Now, that is some statement! All day I'm teaching, leading, reading, talking. Trying to make "beautiful things" with my students. I bring work home to read and grade papers until I nod off in fitful sleep. I spend hours planning lessons, searching the Internet, making lists. And it's now really to please the "educational gods". It's something I feel compelled -driven- to do. So, why can't I have this zeal for God? Why don't I crave His word and spend time in prayer?

Which is of greater importance? I know the answer to that one. God is higher than all things. Looking at my life,though, one would not guess I believed that. For, where our time goes, there goes our heart, to paraphrase a bit. I want my heart, my time, my love, to be in the right place. I want to make beautiful things for God. To have a beautiful time with God.


On occasion I'll be throwing in something off my original purpose. This is one of those.

Slips down her unlined cheeks
Salty tears hidden
Splash of boots on the sidewalk
Covers the gentle sob
Wind carries
The soft gasp
Where none can hear
By passers in the street
Don't see
This soul
No one knows
The desperation
Behind the smile
Of the young mother
At the flower stand
In the rain

It Was as Loud as a Rat Next to a Sissy Girl Screaming

Now, I wonder which was louder- the rat or the sissy girl? Probably, in the rat world, the rat was louder. Wouldn't it be far scarier if you were a rat and came across a creature multiple times your size with a high pitched scream? Something dressed in pink, although all you would get a good look at would be her sequined ballerina flats. Imagine two objects going up and down attached in the air to a wriggling ruffle. At that point I think the rat would scramble for cover. Now, if the rat happened upon a brawny boy it might be petrified by the face peering down at it blowing out lots of hot air that sounds like, "Hey, cool!" Nonetheless, either way I think the greater fear is with the rat.

So, what is the lesson here? I think it may be the misuse of similes. As a teacher I have fun with students teaching similes and metaphors, but this is a classic example of trying too hard to throw in a simile where it just doesn't work. Similes should enhance and not distract from the writing. So, the next time you confront a rat, perhaps you would scream as loud as (fill-in-the-blank) and let the rat run for cover.