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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.)

Ella and I play trick-or-treat any time of the year. Our version transcends reality. The costume takes over the wearer. A skeleton drinks apple juice and it passes from bone to bone to the front porch.

Today Ella wants me to be permanent trick-or-treater while she adjusts the treat to the visitor.

“Hi,” I say, then complain. “I’m a tree, and yeah, I know the peaceful nature scene. Quiet. The woods. All that. But I have bugs climbing all over me. Squirrels are nuts. They don’t just eat them. And the birds? That early morning song is nice enough, but the pre-dawn time can get on your sap after a while.”

Ella smiles and then takes on a composed expression. “Okay. Here’s a woodpecker.”

I’m immediately out of character. Our girl has a sense of humor. Down syndrome, yes. Up personality? No question about it.

 

photo a combination of pic taken in our backyard and portion of public domain pic

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We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns have roses. (Alphonse Karr) A Tour Round My Garden)

A Thing Or a Gift: a Poem

One living branch juts out from

our blue spruce between bare spaces where only

the scars from amputated arms remain.

I name the branch hope.

 

My portable beater whipped eggs

and created batters for more than

twenty years. Finally, it wobbled

with the heat of hot, boiled potatoes.

I call the beater faithful.

 

A slim, modern replacement waits

in its box. A tool. An object, a thing.

Or a gift.

 

A cardinal pauses on a half-alive branch.

I celebrate now.

 

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No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it. (Carroll Bryant)

One more dead branch needs to be removed from our blue spruce; I haven’t faced the loss yet. The naked branch stays—with no hope of revival. The cost of maintaining the top branches is no longer worth it. The cost of removing the spruce is both high and final.

The tree was planted for our older son, Gregory, when he was a toddler. He’s in his forties now. He’s an accomplished writer. Greg’s newest book, The Dream Thief, is available for preorder. I have pictures of my son as a toddler as he watered the tree. It, too, was in early development.

The blue spruce once took over our front yard. Now, it has huge gaps between branches, like thought lapses. Warnings. The empty spaces will expand. And win.

Loss is never easy.

When a person dies loss plunges into deeper places. Several days ago, someone we have known for years, died. It feels unreal. I recall this woman on one hot day as she volunteered for kids with Down syndrome. Her face sweaty, her smile unaffected by the heat. Her gifts rooted in the hearts of so many people.

I think about this beautiful woman’s family. Friends. Grandchildren. And ask what happens next?

I consider the tree again, the one planted for my son, when my husband and I were proud of him for recognizing every letter of the alphabet before he was two. Now, his words touch minds and hearts. The tree won’t last much longer. My son and his talents affect many.

The woman who died suddenly, left a beautiful legacy and precious memories. May all who knew her embrace them.

Life is always winging it—with a lot of help.

For now, I celebrate hearing and giving kindness, laughter, the chance to offer an honest compliment. Peace, may it touch all, especially those who mourn.

May the green in today appear brighter, embraceable. For as long as possible.

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Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. (Aristotle)

Ann and I share peanut butter sandwiches and listen to music. We sing along and fake the lyrics. It doesn’t matter whether we know the words or not. The sky promises rain. Inside we celebrate sun. Ann couldn’t see blue if it did suddenly break through unexpectedly. My friend is blind. Her eyes don’t work; her heart-vision does.

She often takes an Access bus to visit a friend in a nursing home. It cheers him up.

“How long can you stay?” I ask.

“What do you need to do today?” she answers. “I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

The kitchen floor needs a scrub. I have edits. Always. However, I suspect I need the presence of a friend. A shared awareness of a moment that exists now and won’t return.

Ann has the uncanny knack of knowing how I really feel. The last time we were together I’d been upset, and she sensed it. Today is better. We celebrate in simple ways. I could wear a shirt one tear away from the rag bag; she wouldn’t know, or care. She cherishes more lasting values. Who a person is, an ability to give, to care.

The television is off. I’ll face the world scene later. After I accept the fact that both good and evil exist.

Ann and I blast out the words we recognize in old songs and hum when the lyrics don’t get through to our hearing aids.

“I’ll be your friend forever,” she says.

Forever is more than I can grasp. A lot has happened since time began. However, Aristotle was onto something centuries ago. Friendship has tangible value.

May you always have friends you can trust.

 

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Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
(Erich Fromm)

Human animals think too much—without questioning the truth of their source. Unfortunately, we upright-moving creatures are born with ego and an overdose of certainty, based on experience in a tiny section of the world.

I wrote this poem more years ago than I recall. My granddaughter was a toddler. She is now in fifth grade. A ballerina. Grade-A student, She also happens to be significantly taller than I am.

These verses are based on an incident that occurred at the Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. My beautiful girl may have grown up, but she chooses her friends based upon inner qualities, not incidental skin tone. I am proud of who she has grown to be.

Naked Baby Dolls

 

Child-proof dolls

with painted black hair

and eyes forever open

 

lie on the floor

of the toddler room.

Figures identical, except for

 

brown or peach plastic bodies,

the dolls are naked.

The children don’t care.

 

Bare babies and honesty

fit the simple ambience

of parallel play.

 

I watch as each doll

passes from child to floor,

and back again. The brown babies

 

get picked first.

My toddler granddaughter pouts

as another child grabs

 

the dark doll she had been cuddling.

I try to hand her the paler version.

Her frown deepens. On the rug

 

the dolls that wait

look anemic, pale.

I think about human skin shades

 

from ivory to licorice, and mentally

list a larger number of darker tones.

Nutmeg, cinnamon, chestnut, bronze

 

chocolate, mahogany, coffee, umber.

Strange that at this age

the little people choose the toy

 

with the richer complexion.

Yet only a few of the children

resemble darker hues. The toddlers’ choices

 

contradict the prejudiced

adult majority. Someday I pray

these children see beyond the exterior.

 

The dolls wear a paint layer

thin enough to be chipped off.

Their differences can be altered with a brush stroke.

 

People share diverse histories

and cultures, but living hearts beat

a common rhythm.

 

May we grow

together

as one human race.

 

(This poem has been published in the anthology, FOR A BETTER WORLD and in the online magazine PIKER PRESS.)

 

 

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It gets really tricky giving advice. The older I get, the less advice I give. ( Anne Heche.)

My father taught me to consider the source. I find that easier now than I could as a teenager, before I knew who I was. Strange that I recall being berated because my eyebrows weren’t penciled dark enough. My hair was the color of spun gold, with eyebrows that disappeared into a fair, freckled face.

The advice-giver. Why are there so many of them? And why do they have voices that match the average street preacher?

And—does it need to bother me?

My brother-in-law has an MD. When he said I was losing weight too quickly after surgery and was risking metabolic damage, I listened. Advertisement come-ons could be another matter. An invitation to skydive because it jump starts adrenaline? Probably not.

What is the best and worst advice someone has ever given you? My dad’s fits somewhere at the top. Any advice that told me I shouldn’t try because I wasn’t good enough. Definitely. In the don’t-think-so category.

 

 

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Uncontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracle there are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become. (James Baldwin.)

Three hospital visits today. One man has improved. We talked without looking at the clock. And celebrated his recovery, even though it hadn’t yet appeared. The other two persons suffered far more. My husband and I stayed long enough to offer love in the form of an out-loud prayer. I told our friends we were there because we cared and would leave for the same reason. To allow them rest. A sweet, other-folks-care rest.

Not long ago I recall waking from a dream into a fully-lit hospital room. Into a strange half-consciousness. Now, I watch and remember those moments.

You are loved. You are loved. You are an unprecedented miracle.

And yet the pain in my own gut has not completely disappeared. Some things no one wants to share. Not completely.

Rain continues. Steady. Cold. It floods. It cries and creates huge puddles. The yard can’t soak up any more water.

No one season lasts forever. No one greeting falls the same upon every set of ears. May warmth arrive with fresh blessings

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