Life and Loss
Losing a loved one makes me think about waving good-bye. We all return to the earth, where life begins. Water, air, fire and wind. Endless circles emanating from one tiny drop in the ocean. When my time comes, I want one last ride. One final wave and a salute to the skies.
the sea is still
my hand trailing in the chilled blue
over the rail
a plume pierces the surface
she rises slowly
just as the smooth curve of her spine
piques my curiosity for more
underwater I can hear her song
above the waterline
she sees me spying on her
a young calf cuddled by her side
neither of us blinks
when i am become as dust
bring me here
sprinkle me on this magnificent sloping back
and let me ride
diving down to the inky depths
then surging skyward
into the breach
high above the waves
To those of you who have known loss, may you find comfort.
Friday, March 18, 2011
In the late 1960's, in the rural midwest, Saturday night meant TV trays and an evening watching "Barn Dance" and "Lawrence Welk" with a glass, not a bottle mind you, of Coke or Pepsi, for a treat. Drinking the contents of an entire bottle of soda was considered gluttony.
As if this were not excitement enough for all gathered in TV Tray Land, one tiny glimmer of voyeuristic hope sat within arm's reach. Ring. Ring. Ring. Nope, not a cell phone. Nope, not a land line.
A Party Line. Ring. Ring. Ring. was not the ring tone for this home. Ring. Pause. Ring. Ring. was our cue to answer the phone. However, for those somewhat bored with the dancing trios on the TV, it couldn't hurt to pick up the phone, just in case. It was so easy to get those ring tones mixed up, especially with square dance callers hollering in the background.
Harmless stuff. Eavesdropping. A quick listen. Heck. Everyone did it. Who knows, maybe the seeds of Reality TV were sown on this fertile ground. Reality Phone. What were those crazy neighbors up to now? Mostly the usual, so and so saw so and so, doing this and that, over here and over there. But, oh my, once in awhile, someone was doing something with someone they shouldn't be doing it with or meeting up when they should be at home and oh my! CLICK.
And now? And now? Click. Click. Click. Welcome to the Internet. Universal Eavesdropping. Want to know about your neighbors? Go Google. Want to add TV highlights. Yoo hoo You Tube. Want to know more than you ever thought possible about people you met twenty years ago for about one minute and have spent twenty years trying to forget? Find Facebook. Want to know what your weatherman is thinking every single minute of every single day? Try Twitter.
Okay. Okay. I sound like my mother AND my grandmother, and to make matters worse I am sitting here BLOGGING! My point. Um. Yeah. What exactly was my point?
Too much information leads to too much talking leads to too much soda (
gluttony) leads to too much conversation when we should all just...
...hang up the phone, unplug the TV, Tweeter out, about Face, log off...and like Lawrence said..a one and a two..click your heels together and DANCE!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Out Of Fashion
What's In and What's Out
According to some of the most esteemed fashion editorials, 99.4567% of the items on the IN list reside in boxes stored in my basement. Fossilized white sunglasses, shag carpet squares, lava lights, bell bottom jeans, acrylic polo shirts in shades of pumpkin orange and chocolate brown, Chuck Taylor sneakers, and crocheted shoulder bags.
Where does one go to buy my mildewing merchandise? VINTAGE STORES! Ladies and gentlemen, I have achieved the status to which I aspire. VINTAGE...like fine wine, subtle, gentled, enriched over time. Choice. Classic. In the spirit of a good fashionista, I race downstairs to play Vintage Dress Up.
Mold. I smell mold.
I'll need a flame retardant.
A Vintage Icon.
I dedicated my first garden page to my mother. Somehow it seems fitting to share it with you now:
In the waning years of my mother's life, her outfit of choice: white shorts, white sunglasses, black hose and high heels. I relate this gentle memory to remind me of my roots, and to make my children nervous.
I packed away the shoes and pants and lamps.
I am wearing the white sunglasses.
I am IN...in the garden
...where as we gardeners know...
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tiny green shoots.
I need a sign.
I got one. My first email from the website. From a parent of one of my former students. She said simply, "I'm proud of you". Amazing what four little words can do for a beginner, at any age. Message lovingly sent. Message gratefully received. The communication equation. From one to another.
Prose, poetry, graffiti, email, letters, postcards ... word art. Two dimensional messaging. Powerful.
Sign language is three-D communication. An airborne greeting card. A universal power cord that plugs people in. A search engine to connect anyone, anywhere in the world, that transcends all that is written or spoken and transforms the simplest utterance into a song dancing in the air. A song that begins as a solo and ends in a visual chorus. To do it well requires a single effort. Eye contact. The eyes say, "see me" and hands reply "I do".
I wrote a garden page for one of my students. To define him as severely autistic and profoundly deaf is to merely label. To know him as "Michael" is to meet the wonderful young man behind his smiling eyes and to never be quite the same again. Michael is a wonder. His mother is the proudest mom in the room. Always. No matter what. That she is proud of me, is an honor. I have never shared Michael's garden page, but it hangs on the wall in his room. After receiving his mom's permission, I share it with you.
Glasses, markers, sorting. He's looking for something. Retracing his steps over and over. Searching through all the files in his mind, but the cabinets are locked and there is no key. A new thought emerges and racing from one part of his mind, he hurries before a new thought takes its place and he must start all over again ending up in the same place. Lost. His eyes dart and flash. No time to focus, to sharpen his view or to hone in on the target. His anger flashes. Was he almost there? Was it on the tip of his tongue or was it scrambled up in his mouth where even sounds become a jumble of consonants and vowels. Too many to sort out, they blur into a low moan or a wild shriek. Unspeakable terror is to never capture an idea long enough to express it. How corrupt a system where needs cannot be met because wants cannot be expressed. Then hands move in front of his face and the gestures dance in the corner of his eye. He sees you and you see him. Your eyes meet in the shape of hands. Hands float in the air and a heart is captured. In the shape of a hand a soul is reached. In the language of sign a connection is made and for a brief moment Michael is Michael for all to see. For a second in time, the cabinet is unlocked and...
...Michael holds the key.
Go out today. Look for the signs of spring.
Make eye contact.
Start a conversation.
In honor of Michael, please stop by