Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Fable of the Future

Once upon a time, far, far away, in the time of Post-Global Warming and Post-Political Correctness, an ancient woman could be seen staggering along the broiling pavement in insulated boots. Her head was protected from the harsh heat by a teflon scarf. Her body; by a robe of micro-fibre. Still the heat was unbearable and so she sought refuge in a nearby park. Here she slumped in the shade to rest, and as she sat there, a group of children approached.

They too were seeking shade. And so they seated themselves on the fringes of the small thicket of man-made turf and sculpted palms. The island of shade and refuge was so small it was impossible for the children to find space apart from the old woman. They just hoped the frightful old hag wouldn’t speak to them and would soon depart. But the old woman, though aware of their discomfort, wasn’t going anywhere and so she endeavored to put them at ease through a simple, yet intriguing introduction.

“Hello children,” the ancient woman said. “I am the wise old sage of Natural and Social History. Tell me, if you like, what you want to know and I will tell you how it was.”

A very tall youngster eventually said with an obvious sneer, “Tell me about Global Warming and why the grass and trees could not be saved.” Another said, “You must know how it was before God died.” And then, from some invisible spot a wee voice from the back of the little group said in almost a whisper, “If you please, could you tell me about the ‘L & S’ thing?”

The ancient woman looked about at the group and said, “The story about Global Warming is a long and depressing story. I could tell you about God but he is still alive and can tell you himself if you listen for his voice in your inner soul. So that leaves the L & S thing and I will tell you about that.

I can’t, of course, say the words. The words are disallowed. They are too coarse, too vulgar, for your genteel generation but still since time began, youngsters know and privately use vulgar words and probably most of you know what those words mean.” A few heads solemnly nodded.

Then, as she prepared to continue, a fidgety little fellow broke the silent anticipation of the group. “I said it once. Man, was I in trouble? My mom gave me time out for a week, my sister phoned the police, and Dad took away all my electronic toys and put up a satellite barricade so that I couldn’t talk, or text message, or watch television.”

“Do you want to tell us about it?” said the ancient woman.

The little fellow was more than happy to do so. “I got a new nose-pod to go with my eye-pod and ear-pod for my birthday but it wouldn’t work. I wanted so much to smell all the things of the Pre-Cosmic Burn Age – roses blooming, hay fields freshly cut, gentle rain, lavender fields, and most of all – fresh air!

But when I turned my nose-pod on, all I could smell was rotten eggs, sulfur gases, and shit frying in the sun. I was so angry and so disappointed that I flung the thing on the floor and stomped on it with my insulated boots and yelled, “Lick it! Spank it! Bloody Lickin’ …” here he quickly covered his mouth and mumbled, “I’m sorry. Please don’t tell anyone. I didn’t mean to say that,” and quickly sat down.

This brave admission increased the intimacy of the group and they huddled together closer as the Old Woman began her own story about the ‘L & S’ thing.

“I only can tell you this because I was there. I am a hundred and forty years old, thanks to the magic of stem-cell research,” she said. So I know, and know well, about the ‘L & S’ thing.

When I was a child,” she said, “every child was well acquainted with the ‘L & S’ thing. But at the same time, there was method to the madness. This is how it worked. It was similar to the ancient fairy tale about three wishes.

A mom would say to a child when he spit at his sister, 'I wish you wouldn’t spit at your sister anymore.' One wish gone. And, if he did so again, again his mother would say, 'I really wish you wouldn’t spit at your sister anymore.' Second wish gone.

And if he did, yet again, his mother would save, 'I wish I didn’t have to do this, but I do.' And she would give him a serious smacking on the bottom that he would not soon forget, and, as a result, all wishes done. But now, magically, wishes one and two, and of course wish number three, as well, came true. And that brought an end to it. He did not spit at his sister anymore.

I’m sorry if you’re disappointed. That doesn’t seem like much of a story, but that is it. That is all there is to tell.”

(Here Hub interrupted to say, “Now I suppose I will hear the horror story of the monsters the Old Woman created. Kids pummeling each other, hair pulling, blood flying.”)

But ‘No’. Here Tiny Tim, the somber-faced little fellow that had asked about the “L & S” thing smiled with pleasure. “That is such a good story,” he said.

“I wish things could be different. Other kids are so nasty to me. They push me, shove me, call me names. I hate school. I can’t wear my new backpack because they will steal it or hide it. I can’t take my pods to school because they will shell them or hide them. Sometimes I think they take my stuff because they are in the midst of ‘time out’ at home. So they take my stuff home and obediently go to their rooms where they stay all evening locked away but still carrying on with the same amusements they normally have – but now it’s with my stuff!

If things were how they used to be (big sigh), these kids’ parents would share with their kids their three wishes. They would tell them how they wish they wouldn’t treat me like that once, and then they would tell them how they wish they didn’t treat me like that twice. And then they would tell them how they wish they didn’t have to, but they must give them a damn good ‘L & S’!”

And once again, before he even realized it, he was again yelling loudly, “Oh Lick! Oh Spank! Wouldn’t that be Lickin’ Great!! Cause then I would love to go to school. I could expect to be treated fairly; the same as everyone else.

Truth is,” he continued, “if I had three wishes that could come true, I would wish for the smell of fresh air and gentle rain without a nose-pod, and a damn good ‘L & S’ for meanies!”

After one hundred and forty years, the old woman knew full well there will always be those indignant about her observations and those in hearty agreement. This morning she smiled with relief at the indignant ones – those too entrenched in social convention to find credence in anything an old woman might have to say. But the indignation of their gasps and sighs stirred slight ripples of air that mimicked a breeze in that arid land.

The others simply smiled with gentle pleasure at how things had been before the sun burned down like a black hole in the sky erasing every oasis with such ferocity and leaving inhabitants too parched to spit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What are You Laughing At?

Has the world really become that somber? I mean, I’ve noticed it before. The glum faces in malls and on the street. Faces blank. Lips drawn into straight lines. No pleasant crinkles dotting the eyes.

Yesterday I was in a busy store waiting for Hub. A young mother parked her shopping cart with her little guy sitting in it next to me. The little fellow was about three years old.

I find such pleasure in the beauty of children. Looking at them makes me smile and kind of bubble up inside. Looking at this little fellow, I broke into a smile, as I always do. I don’t generally speak to children because a) if they are extremely shy, it could upset them, and b) many parents aren’t comfortable with strangers forcing an exchange. So I simply glanced at him and of course seeing him made me smile.

But he was obviously not a shy boy. He looked at me directly and promptly said, “What are you laughing at?”

Rather caught of guard, I responded. “I’m smiling,” I said, “because you are such a handsome little man.”

His mother overheard and told him to say “Thank You” for the complement.

“Thank you,” he said, routinely, and then in a very serious tone, “But why are you laughing?”

Obviously my smile perplexed him, and for this I was sorry. But at the same time his response equally perplexed me.

Hub was done by this time and we left the store with me wondering if the world has become so somber that children think smiling is some kind of odd, suspicious, behavior.

Now as one plunges through life to the frailty of old age, many joys are minimized. The joy of rich food – or hot and spicy. The joy of physical exertion – shopping, sports, or even holidays. The joy found in competitiveness, challenges, and busy days. All these joys plummet. But the joy in children never minimizes one iota no matter how feeble, senile, or forgetful, one may become. Children are joy and they always bring joy. On my most worrisome day, when I am in a total funk, I still laugh and feel such joy when I see the grandchildren coming up the walk.

But still this occasion left me wondering. Surely wee children are not being led to believe that smiling is linked to laughing. And laughing is linked to ridicule. And because smiling and ridicule go hand-in-hand, everyone must take constant and sober care not to smile.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Democracy of Fables and Fantasy

As a Canadian, people often ask me why I watch American News Channels as much as I do. In response, I have to say that once upon a time Canadian News was an accurate reflection of Canadian determinations. But that is no longer the case. In the last few years, Canada has become a reflection of the U.S. and what little there is to impart logic, representation, and understanding of Canadian governance comes more accurately by viewing the rippled image in the pond of U.S. governance. And I guess that explains why, as a Canadian, I’m going to rant about American politics rather than affairs within my own country.

Now yesterday when I came to the kitchen for morning coffee, Hub was watching television. And what he was watching was George Bush expounding the grand merits of democracy and how, because Iraq is now a democracy, everything is so idyllic. Iraqis are in this grand place where they can choose who their next leader will be.

Now hold that thought while we randomly connect the dots. I have to tell you that I am under a staid impression that the president’s wife is fascinated by fairy tales. I can’t help but feel this way after characters of these tales were center-pieced as Christmas decorations for the White House a few years ago.

It seemed to me an odd choice. Even when it was explained the study was for emphasis on reading and literacy. Cause in my mind there are a limitless number of literary works that promote reading, understanding, and knowledge far more than make-belief. (But then maybe part of the purpose of that theme was to get Americans in gear for the fantasies of good and evil that could and would, like fairy tales, magically morph into reality.)

And what was more distressing in this choice was I thought that perhaps Laura’s fascination would lead her to do what I do with my favorite stories. I often read them aloud to Hub at bedtime.

I hope not, because hasn’t it been said, that ‘what you read, is what you are’? I think she has been reading them because truly that presidential speech about democracy that I found myself listening to yesterday morning sounded more like a fantasy tale than any revelation of real truth.

Now, without question, I have never heard such a grand exhortation of the wonders of democracy, and when I was right at the brink of trembling conviction, something untoward hit me. What I thought was that if right now, the speech was suspended for a quick game of “Democracy” on the White House Lawn with cheer-leaders in formation around the star player yelling a pre-game cheer…“Who do you want and why to you want him?”…what would happen? Would the boo’s be as loud as I think they would be?

And then when the ball was tossed out, and the game began, I am quite convinced that this pick-up-spontaneous-game of Democracy would end before the first inning. Because before that first inning was complete, the game would have such a margin of defeat, there would be little point in continuing. But Democracy doesn’t work that way.

People in a democracy can choose who they want but when they find the selection was disguised and not at all what it appeared to be, nothing can be done in response to a change of mind about the choice that they made. Even when they discover that the leader they chose is different than he used to be. There is no remedy. It has a similarity to Snow White too late discovering that the sweet old lady with the basket of delicious juicy red apples was really a witch in disguise, with a basket of death treats.

I think if the real intent of Democracy is to be upheld, it should be a game played more frequently than every four years. In fact, maybe it should be played at undetermined times, like an unplanned pick-up game on a green field or ice rink. Rather than pulled out of the attic at election time and then stashed, ignored, and allowed to collect dust until the next round.

In the meantime, all it does is provide a fixed resolve for a period of time where nothing can be amended and we are held captive in that dark dungeon, even long after we have discovered the apples are toxic. Democracy loses much sweetness when I think how in real life, democratically-elected leaders can be ‘booed’ but no matter how much they are booed they do what they want, how they want, cause they know full well they cannot be ‘booed’ off the field. That there is no need to remain in game-mode. That there are no ‘out of bounds’ penalties to worry about.

Now, all I’m telling you in this rant is what I was thinking. So now to go to some wildly disconnected dots as I continued to watch the speech about the beauty of democracy in Iraq while in my head I contemplate that other – the ugliness of democracy that we choose to ignore.

I only surf politics, I am a casual skimmer. Not big into that sort of thing. And the other thing I am not into is stock market investments. But having watched this speech which left me so close to conviction and then so utterly disgusted and unimpressed, I felt like doing something quite out of character for me. I felt like smashing my TV.

And then I thought, if I, as a casual bystander, who so pride myself on letting it all run off my back, have this sudden urge to smash my television, then right now at this very moment, it is time for me to buy stocks in television manufacturing. Because if I feel this way, those politically-minded people, in Canada and the U.S., and I know there are a goodly number, will be smashing televisions this morning at an unbelievable rate. And then they’ll all be scurrying downtown next week to buy another. I must buy shares in television manufacturing immediately. It couldn’t be a surer bet.

So I turned on my computer to look for a buying site and that’s when I realized something that totally crushed all my dreams of sudden wealth. The program I was listening too was on the Republican Channel!! I think you know which one I mean. The one with all that spin, enough spin to spin straw into gold.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Puzzled, or Paranoid?

I have other stories to tell, but in the meantime I have something else on my mind – Collapsed bridges, floods, and the uncanny draw that causes a driver to suddenly swerve off a dry, smooth road into a lake, dugout, river, or bog.

That latter bit happens so frequently, it hardly seems purely coincidental. I can’t help but wonder if there is an interplay, or some dynamic of water, tide, and planetary magnetism that we fail to understand that actually leads to these disasters. Something as puzzling as the forces that leash minds and play games with pilots in the Bermuda Triangle.

I am tired of newspapers and broadcasters telling me that someone died in a pond or body of water because they were trapped in a vehicle. I want to know more. I want to know why they were trapped.

Obviously with water pressure, it is well know that opening a door is pretty much impossible. So that leaves only one other method of escape—through the windows. So my question is ‘Do power windows still function when a vehicle is underwater?’ It concerns me.

I can’t help but think, with such extensive flooding, with the compromised quality of so many bridges, with the inability of mankind to understood the curious dynamics of the roadside-wetland-draw, that this is a question that needs to be debated.

Surely if a vehicle plunges into water, roll-down windows would be more dependable…or would they?

Monday, August 13, 2007


It is so often said that writing is a lonely business, and I truly believe that. When I am feeling isolated, it seems as if words tumble unassisted out of my ‘Word Scrumble Bag’ into a sterling and meticulous arrangement. And with seemingly nothing more than a gentle tap on the ‘enter key’, the words are set in motion and ripple across the page like the smooth tide of dominoes tumbling against each other in measured sequence.

But at the moment, without that isolation, the garbage can in every room is full of feeble attempts that I have been forced to scrap. You may be thinking, “What the hell? You could have published those on your blog. There must have been something in that mess, some small tidbits worth digesting?”

But…No, that is not true. There is nothing there except reams of paper with 350 words per page that hold less fascination than smears on toilet tissue.

I mean, let’s face it. You know me well enough that if there was even a remote likelihood that something I had written might provoke thought, I would have salvaged it. Or, if any of it had done the other things I expect writing to do, I would have retrieved those bits as well.

But I seek a level of compliance. What my writing must first do is touch my own heart, mind, or soul, in some undeniable way. And then, in order for it to be passed on to you it must do more. It must be seductive, grounded, and objective. I know it seldom is, but that in no way alters my conviction of what it should be. I want it to pinch or cradle your heart. I want it to uplift or plunge your soul. I want it to enliven your mental state or calm your spirit. And barring all that, I want it, at the very least, to make you cry or smile. A tall order – but that is my conviction.

It is all so easy, when I am feeling solitary and alone cause that is when writers can really write the way they want to write.

Now the dictionary wrongly leads us to think that loneliness is all about the absence of other people. Big, bad error.

‘Loneliness’ is not the result of being in a solitary place, with no one around. The most extreme and austere feeling of loneliness more often occur in the midst of a mob. In crowded airports or busy shopping malls. I was never so lonely as when I lived in the city in a large apartment building. So, you see, it is not a solitary existence that causes loneliness. What causes loneliness for me, and I expect for most people, is the perception that no one in the crush around me, personally cares about me.

And so that brings me back to the difficulty I am currently having with writing blogs. I can lock myself in the bedroom or even take my laptop to the furnace room but I still have difficulty writing. It is because Hub is here, and in an exceptionally good mood which he has been in for weeks now. And in the midst of his good mood, through ESP, he is transferring to me a ‘caring aura’ that makes it quite impossible for me to feel isolated enough to write.

But I want to write, need to write, and since I cannot write in this climate of acceptance, love, and belonging, today I am determined it is going to end.

Now other people, in a similar position, who take their writing far too seriously, might want to piss in Hub’s cornflakes. Relax, I’m not going to do anything that extreme. Although, I am thinking about how disgusted he would be to find warm milk on his cold cereal. I’m also thinking of shrinking his favorite sweater, waking him up from his nap to talk to a pre-taped solicitor-conversation on the telephone, or putting margarine in the dish designated for butter. Not anything really nasty but still strategies that might work.

Silly, relatively harmless stuff that will make Hub cranky and impatient, and as a result of this impatience, I, being naturally insecure, will begin to doubt that he cares about me. And as soon as that doubt grips my thoughts, loneliness will be hard on its heels, and then I will go to my laptop and just write happily and unencumbered.

I mean obviously, if you love to write, and want to write, the way I do, sacrifices have to be made and drastic measures taken. Right now I am making a nice cup of tea for Hub with lukewarm water.

So chins up, out there in Cyberland, don’t blink. Cause if you do you’ll miss all those thought-provoking blogs that are going to come blasting in rapid succession into this space in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Objections to a Second Round

Sometimes I question whether life in the hereafter will be a paradise in heaven or a reincarnation that will replant me on this earth for another round as a newborn. I hope it isn’t reincarnation as a newborn, cause I find no appeal in that thinking. And I’ll tell you why.

Too much change. All I can think is that first of all I will be confined for far too much time in solitary confinement in a darkened nursery. Without even the benefit of leaf shadows trapped in a beam on sunlight on the wall to dance for my amusement. Room must be dark. I don’t know why, but it just must be.

And if I scream in protest against this blank environment, without sensory perception and the sweet smell of she who conceived me, with dry pants, and a recent feeding, I’ll be left to scream. No one will ken to my cries between scheduled maintenance. That would throw painfully-held-to routines off schedule. No, it is time for me to ‘go down’ and ‘go down’ I must.

And I’ll get no small firm pillow like I did the last round. And instead of soothing warm sweet milk that I got the first round, I’ll probably get a room- temp bottle with cool gawd-awful gross-tasting formula.

And if I do get a blanket, which is unlikely, as blankets in cribs are no longer recommended, it will not be a lovely breathable fluffy cotton one. Instead it will be some kind of downy soft but yet so miserable acrylic or micro-fibre similar to a plastic bag covering – freezing cold in winter, a humidity trap in summer.

And I will definitely not get those blessed times when I was placed on a soaker pad in the raw and the skin on my little bum allowed to drink in sunlight for a few moments – a brief time of freedom to bath in unadulterated exposure to cool atmospheric breath. I shudder to think that in the next round I will be solidly and consistently wrapped in a stretch-wrap diaper contaminated by plastic or man-made materials and hermetically sealed against the escape of contents from the inside and the injection of air from the outside.

I fear too, if given a second round, I’ll not be swaddled firmly and tightly. I found that so comforting the first time round because it so closely replicated the close, warm, and snugly place I was in for nine long months. Instead I’ll be dressed in nothing more than the stretch-wrap I have already referred to with all my limbs flailing and my head flopping and my little soul so anxious and traumatized without the snug all-encompassing body-wrap security I had grown so acclimatized to while in the womb.

And when traveling, I’ll be put in a car seat and compelled to stay in that thing folded up in an unnatural position feeling no less comfortable than when I tried to sleep in a bean-bag-chair when I was seventeen years old, the first time round, and five foot seven. The car seat wouldn’t be so bad if my head was not unnaturally forced up completely out of alignment with my spine.

The first time round, yeh, agreed, I traveled in vehicles on my mom’s lap which was so not good. But my road trips were very few. For the most part, I traveled safely on hips magically spread during birthing for that very purpose. To provide a hip-saddle for me to straddle. First time around that was my transport. My mother did all she needed to do throughout her busy days with me riding on her hip, one hand around my waist, while I burped up gas readily and eyed from my perch the floor for the most part and occasionally the path ahead. My father used to say, “Woman, don’t you think that child is uncomfortable slung over one arm like a sack of potatoes?”

But my mother knew. She knew how much I loved to perch there despite the sudden pitching and jolting and yawing that came with her picking up things from the floor, reaching high into cupboards, and making beds. I was there for the ride and you can have your Drop of Dome, or Roller-Coaster thrills, cause my thrills were in this accommodating place. And the sudden pitches often left me giggling like any ride at an Amusement Park.

And if reincarnated, I just know I wouldn’t be allowed to gum up buttery toast long before I show promise of a first tooth. No longer allowed to practice the wondrous art of chewing on an almost, but not fully, stripped, turkey drumstick at Christmas or a juicy, but still warm and buttery, bare cob of garden corn. But going back to the toast, I have to be conciliatory about that criticism because God knows commercial bread does not hold together like home-made bread. Even yet, with my false teeth, as soon as I take a bite it clums to the top of my mouth and sticks there like glue. No, you’re absolutely right. One can’t be giving a young babe that stuff to sage the desire they may have to work toothless gums.

But worst of all, I guess, are the plastic chairs. The car-chairs, the lounge chairs. I know if I had a second round I would end up in a plastic lounge chair on the floor in some kitchen in the middle of the winter where the temperature at the floor is ten degrees colder than room temperature (despite sophisticated central heating) but no one would be aware of that except me. Me with my tiny back against shockingly cold plastic augmented by what is foolishly expected to insulate. Can anyone adequately personify how I feel with that acrylic, man-made fiber, or plastic-based fleece that just grabs the cold and fires it into my back and kidneys like a cannon?

If I am to return for another round, I want lounge chairs and car seats padded with wool or cotton or down – even straw would be a better insulator against cold and heat than all those layers of synthetic resins.

And always, and always, to lie on my back. To vomit while on my back. Yuck. I admit, I can’t dispute that it is dangerous to lie a baby in a crib on their stomach or side, because I am no scientist. But the first time around I lived in nest that moved from room to room as my mother moved from room to room. I laid on my stomach or side with a monitor imaging, not only me, but my rate of breathing, the regularity of chest movements, body temperature, posture, and stomach gurglings. A monitor that was more efficient than an electronic device with its beepers and instant digital screen-imaging. My mother monitored me by hovering over my bed like a guardian angel when I wasn’t on her hip bouncing through the day.

And though I may wail, I probably still wouldn’t get a soother. And of course, under no circumstances would I be allowed to alternately soothe my frazzled nerves with my thumb. Cause babies get crooked mouths by sucking thumbs, and soothers. Besides, both are so grossly non-hygienic.

And of course I would not be allowed to partake of vegetables and meat pureed into a smooth warm satisfying elixir until I had completed my probationary sentence of 5 months, 9 months, or whatever my mother’s all-wise Baby Doctor (without children) insisted upon. No thanks, I don’t want to deal with that either. That’s far too much harsh controlled behavior for me to be me.

And since the latest research indicates that colds are caused from exposure to others with colds rather than winds or chilly temps, there is little understanding that a tiny body needs so much more warmth than a big body. And little note taken of the relationship between colds and chilly floors, plastic wrap, brisk winds, and a tiny body.

So no, I don’t want a reincarnation with another run. Not with these kinds of inconveniences and miserable discomforts to deal with.

But was all as grand the first round, as I claim it to be? Maybe not, cause that first round included corporal discipline. The sting of a wooden spoon smartly applied to my bottom when I reached the age of understanding. But you know what? With that kind of self-sacrifice and complete attentive devotion, there was no risk of psychological damage. I was held too long and too close to the breast for me to ever doubt my mother’s love.

So I guess there is something more to be said about discipline. If you take away a child’s blanket, trap them in plastic, feed them cool milk or insufficient sustenance despite their quest for more; and if you ban a soother or a thumb, and regularly isolate them from the body scents that wrap them in security, you best not be slapping them on the bottom with anything. Obviously psychological damage is right there knocking at the door before they have even reached the age of understanding.

I sometimes wonder if all this interchange of cold and separation does not cause the chilled spirits, frigid souls, and unfeeling connections that young people of today possess that so distresses parents. Maybe we are completely off track when we assume it is the result of exposure to violence on TV and the sterility of gizmo-facilitated relationships.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rushing to Paradise

On Thursday I did something I haven’t done for years and years. Hub and I, and ED (eldest daughter) spent the afternoon on a large secluded property where we picnicked and walked the dogs. And after lunch on a quick hike ED and I picked what we could of blueberries calling out to us as we threaded our way down crude horse trails.

Hub, of course, picked no berries for the pail. He has a problem, always has, always will, that when he gets a handful of berries, his elbow bends and his mouth flies open. ED tried to trick him by slipping our pail as close as possible to him and saying, “you’re going to drop those soon if you don’t empty your hand,” but all to no avail. Again the elbow would bend as if to drop them in the pail and then of course the mouth would fly open and that would be the end of that.

But I digress. What I wanted to tell you is that when I got home and cleaned my meager three cups of wild berries Hub wanted them fresh with ice cream. But I couldn’t do it. Something was pushing me to do jam. Silly thought with so few berries. But I had four apples in the fridge so I peeled and diced them to make more fruit. And a while later I had two small jars and a desert dish of fresh jam. When it cooled I buttered some fresh home-made bread, made a cup of tea, and slathered my jam on that bread.

Now this is where words fail me. How can I begin to describe the pleasure of sinking teeth and lips into that jam? I fought brutally against that first overwhelming desire to cram it all in one great gigantic wad into my mouth. I must savor it all – take it little by little.

I sniffed the delicate aroma. So soft and sweet and barely discernible. The color – as beautiful as sapphires blended with navy skies. A sparkling blue that has yet to be duplicated in a world with 11,070,014 colors and 854 shades of blue and 4 falsely labeled ‘blueberry’ blue.

I took a bite and pressed it against the top of my mouth allowing it to fornicate with my tastebuds in that small dark space. I moved it to the back of my throat and succumbed to its caress. With no will of mind involved, it stroked my mind, my throat, my tongue, my heart, and pressed delicately through every vein. My life flashed before me. Childhood, games, hikes, special moments, a dear Mother, and all blessings that followed me, descended on me, visited me, and harbored me.

But then when I swallowed it, something quite unexpected happened. I felt it working, resolving that business of the food anxiety I’ve had for far too long. That rotating and disturbing thought of need and want. Of standing confused and undecided in front of a fridge door that offers nothing that appeals to me. Chronic hunger without knowing what I crave. Eternal longing for something nameless. But with that first swallow of wild blueberry jam, I knew immediately this is what I longed for, this is what I craved. This was the emptiness within.

It felt so good, feeling it doing its work of tenderness and benevolence. Blowing new life into healthy cells and crushing malicious ones. Rushing at a mad frictionless-pace through every physical and emotional atom of my body and renewing it. Redemptive deliverance.

Oh God – give me more!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Making a House a Home

Okay. So this morning Hub and I began recycling this same conversation that keeps coming up so frequently in the last few weeks. Hub is searching for a way to find motivation in his retirement; an environment where all has changed and all is different.

There are no longer defined tasks. There are no promotions, no monetary rewards, and often no verbal accolades. So, in his attempts to come to grips with a lifetime of working as a Big Boss in the workplace, every once in a while he sinks into the muck of ‘why do I groom my lawn if it is only for sporadic visitors and a few close neighbors?’

And it’s a good point. With retirement we are suddenly out of our element. We have moved beyond the corporate world of competition and tangible rewards. And that sudden jerk in our reality has left us bereft of the purpose, meaning, and motivation that life once had.

So in desperation, and I do believe this IS desperation, he looks at the lawn and says to me, “If one of my old girlfriends happened to stop by, I could not let her see my lawn looking like this!”…and then away he goes to groom the yard.

I laugh, but finally this morning, I said. “That ‘old girlfriend’ thing you so often use for motivation has me stymied. So first I have to ask, When are you expecting her to come?”

He laughs and says, “That’s just the problem, I don’t know.”

I laugh too. And secondly I say, “I have to ask, if you go into a really clean spotless house or a well manicured yard, do you think more of those who live there?”

He was totally honest. “No,” he said. “I don’t. But I definitely think a whole lot less of those who don’t make an effort.”

That was a response agreeable to me. So that settles the yard issue, so I already knew where we would be going next – to the house discussion. And I was right. I’ve got pretty good intuition after all the years I’ve spent with this man. But its not all old hat, because usually with the expected comes some kind of new surprise. The surprise was I found his comments on the house agreeable as well.

“I like a clean house,” he said. “But I like it to reflect that it is lived in, that it is a comfortable home. Like my Mom’s always was. Neat and tidy, but homey with that bit of knitting by her chair, recipe magazines near at hand, and some extra cake in the pan on the counter.”

So there you have it – free advice from the Expert…on how to find motivation to groom the lawn and how to make a house a home.

So in conclusion, I guess I won’t be dusting or vacuuming today. I just realized there are cookies on the counter but there is no knitting by the chair.