Thursday, November 11, 2010
Since I have involved myself in the exploration of the series by reading or listening to the books together, I've been able to use the ideas from the stories as teaching tools. When my children argue, I have said, "Would Jack speak to Annie that way?" When I wanted to remind them to come when I call, I shout for Jack and Annie rather than scream my children's names and, taking on the characteristics of the fictional siblings they yell, "Coming Mommy," and race toward me. What's not to love?
Oh, that's right, there's magic. Shudder!
My children might learn to believe in magic. They might believe the impossible -- Maybe like Edison did before he invented the lightbulb. Or maybe they will not simply dream the unthinkable, but, like Martin Luther King try to enact it. Perhaps through the magics of creativity, of reason, of bravery and action they can change their lives, and others', for the better.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
More than one hundred years of moments forgotten in an instant as the last breath of life is exhaled. The uniqueness of my Grandfather's knowledge, perspective, and experience deleted completely with his death, inaccessible for the rest of time. Snippets of his life are retained in the memories of at least a hundred others, but they are our memories colored by our own perspectives. His singular experience is lost and, just as innumerable persons before him, he will be totally forgotten in a generation or two, as will I.
It seems we race before this precipice of death, which keeps pace with us, just one step behind. An accident, poor health, old age, anything can cause us to trip up, loose our balance and fall into the abyss of whatever constitutes death. In a desperate attempt to stave off the unavoidable, many treat the symptoms with surgery, drugs, and miracle cures as if by saying, "I don't look like I'm growing old," one might live forever. But we don't.
Life is short because life is now. This moment is it. My son protecting his toys from his very mobile baby sister, my Mom reading to her grandchildren, a final impression of the peaceful face of my Grandfather before he is buried. This is life: the joy, the sadness,
the fullness of life.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
This evening, my husband came over and began caressing me. I was busy. It annoys me to be interrupted when I'm busy. I brushed him off.
"What?" he exclaimed in a psuedo-injured tone. "I can't help it. You're so sexy. I like to caress my breasts."
"They aren't your breasts," I say.
"Our breasts, then," he capitulates.
"They aren't our breasts either," I say. "They're mine."
But are they mine? Without serious damage to me, I cannot take them off nor move them into another room nor, no matter how much I hate their drooping programming, can I smash them and throw them away. Certainly I could pay someone else to knock me out to do the deed, but I cannot force my will on them. I can't force my will on any part of me, except maybe my hair or nails, which I can cut off. But once it's clippings, it's inanimate.
I better not "try to take better care of my heart," as if I can get it tuned up or have a new one installed, like in a car. If it goes, I go. We are one. It is a part of me. Not mine. Me.
Then we take this obscene possessive noun and apply it to the individuals living with us. "My husband." As if I can force him to talk or listen to me, as if I can turn him on or off, or place him in the part of the room I find him most suitable. Or, if I don't find his picture quality satisfactory or if the sound isn't coming out right, I can't, or shouldn't even if I could, smash him up and toss him out.
The children in my house are not mine either. I cannot force them to eat their vegetables or fall asleep on my timetable or think what I want them to think.
My will cannot be forced on anyone else without harming them and it is exceedingly frustrating to try, only leading to abuse.
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
"Do unto others what you would have done to you."
If you are faithful in the small, you will gain greater responsibility.
Do I love me? Do I treat me with respect? Am I faithful in the care of the only person over whom I can actually assert my will? This is not a case of selfishness or self-spoiling, which is not self-love. This is true self-knowledge, even of the bad stuff, self-acceptance despite the knowing and self-respect. If I can't learn to love myself, if I treat me as a possession, how can I possibly know how to treat in a loving manner the man who has chosen to live with me or
the children whom I have birthed?
I won't. I will treat them the same way I treat myself: manipulating, communicating dishonestly, behaving disrespectfully. I will be unloving, possessive, as if they is mine; my objects to place and use at will.
I don't want to teach my children to be responsible and behave unselfishly. I don't want to parrot "Do unto others what you would have done to you." I want to teach my children, by example, something altogether different. I want to learn self-love and have it spill over, thereby teaching them self-love; self-protective, self-accepting, self-determining love. And their love will spill out and over. And we will love our neighbor as ourselves. And we will be perfect. As God is perfect.
At least, sometimes...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Is that you there, that lady with the short dark hair? Will she turn to embrace me? No. Her own children consume her. Is that you online, editing my work with a sure and steady mind? No. Her mind attends to her own family. Is that you, taking up my children, to teach them as you loved to do? No. Her arms open to recieve her own grandchildren.
I struggle to find her, desperate to see some piece of her to comfort me, to thrill in my offspring, to laugh at my husband. Clever, critical, intelligent, detailed, ingenious. I cannot find her.
Who holds the memories of my childhood? They are lost. Of family occasions and traditions? In imperfection I struggle to uphold them. She who knew dates and hows and whos... she is missing. She is not with my Dad. She is not here. She is not, but in my heart.
My hands remember her instruction as I peel potatoes. My ears recall her voice. My mind replays memories my eyes will never see. My skin yearns for her soft, cool hands, sometimes gentle, sometimes firm, but always hers.
To whom can I ask those questions only my mother can answer? They hide in my heart, unasked, like lost children in the shadows of desolate buildings. They don't know where to go. They hunger for knowledge, but starve.
"Are you my Mama?" I cry to the women who pass. No. They shake their heads. Their eyes fill with fleeting pity. A rememberance of their own loss, or perhaps a recognition of what will come.
The faces, the hands, the embraces are not hers; will never be hers. Lost, the woman who, with the complete knowledge of one who nursed, weaned and reared another, gave unshakable love, honest friendship, and immovable acceptance.
I grasp desperately for the bough from the tree that seeded me, but it has been hewn. The boughs of my beloved shade tree have been carted away to be burned. Ashes. I sift through the ashes. The wind lifts them away... voice, touch, laughter, opinion. Gone...
So I weep.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
What is life about?
We are born and die.
We are there and gone.
Babies born, die.
Knowledge, wisdom, personalities, individuals.
All is darkness.
Darker than night.
Blackness without stars.
Darkness without memory of light.
Thick, all consuming
Are you there?
There is nothing.
Nothing to nothing.
Why send your son to save that?
It doesn't make sense.
Dead Ladder Up
Stark, grays and browns.
Hard, creases and crevasses.
Points, sharp and slivered.
Warped, smooth and rounded.
A ladder of dead, rising up a waterfall
Gushing and roaring, white with life
Over green, dripping and cool.
Wind rushing and cavorting,
Aerating water, leaping and falling
Under dead ladder up.
Soft and fuzzy
Cool and green on dead.
Growing life persisting,
Over dead ladder up.
Fearful, slipping and sliding.
Carrying, clutching memories.
Chasing, comforting, surrounding me
Crawling on dead ladder up.
What is there?
Heartbeat pounding, shaking.
Found the sun.
Sitting, watching water falling
Under dead ladder up.
Life unto life flowing down, around.
Caressing, incorporating death into life perpetually
around dead ladder up.
Tree grew tall by stream and fall
By brook and flowers, reds and greens
Watched life grow for centuries
Flowing, drying, living, dying
Seeding, drinking, branching, feeding.
Crush, break, dam, boom, death.
Becoming dead ladder up.
Grandpa is an aged tree
Who doesn't want to pass.
Roots entangle deeper,
Clutching life's rich soil.
Roots grown feeble.
Too weak to extract life's essence.
He feels his blood slow,
His branches yield,
His leaves dropped brown
Coat the ground.
Dimly aware, the trunk stands,
Weaker and weaker.
Rocks tumble around, breezes blow.
None strong enough.
None strong enough yet.
Too soon for tree, it seems.
To yield it always seems too soon.
He will fall and become
Dead ladder up.
My Love and I
"Look!" says Life,
"My partner, my Love,
Always peaceful, always giving.
Each incarnation provides change,
"Look!" says Life,
"My Partner, my Love,
All grays and browns.
Coupled to me by rock and stream.
Fully combined in the richness of the soil,
My Love and I.
Death and Life."
Life and Death merge
In ecstatic union.
A climax for a moment
When all else begins to weep.
The dead are like fallen trees.
A memory of their relationships
Stories of their lives
Continue to enrich those who knew them.
Yet those memories decompose.
Fragmenting with time
Until they disappear completely.
A new generation of trees have fallen,
Changing the landscape
of each person's mind.