Not really tired, no. It’s still fascinating that snow comes in so many forms. Last week it came with wind, and was in fine, round particles that stung when they hit my face. A couple of days later it fell straight down out of the sky, so slowly you could watch a single snowflake on its way.
The snow on the ground this morning is definitely flaky, intricate, lightly and loosely stacked, and reflecting the bright sunlight. Beautiful.
This beauty and variety is stunning, and straight from the creative genius of God. He allows me to observe it scientifically with my mind, that he also created. He allows me to enjoy it with senses that he created. That is a large part of why I am not yet tired of winter. I’m actually thankful for it.
Instead of sleeping, I’m standing at the bathroom sink writing by the glow of the night light. It’s late. I can’t stop thinking about the song that is in my head. The song, what I think about it, is clear now but will be gone in the morning if I don’t write about it. Thoughts in the night are like that, elusive, and must be caught at the time.
What I think, as my mind sings this song, is that the songs of the body all seem to take place in the head. Have you noticed? Sometimes they come out of my mouth, with the help of lungs and vocal chords. But those songs are only the extensions of the more perfect songs in my head. I have noticed that the song I’m hearing in my brain is never off pitch, never without proper breath support, never bad in tone.
It repeats, over and over, wherever the tune is most interesting, comforting or beautiful. The song in my head does not worry about boring others as it evolves and plays back again and again. Lately it has been in Latin, but many times it is wordless, simple and tonal. Last summer, as I rode the lawnmower around the oneacrewoods, the song was only seven notes long. It was like a theme song to a movie clip of green grass and towering oaks.
What are these relentless songs and why do I sing them? If I wanted to stop, it would be like trying not to think, in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. Have you tried “not thinking” in order to fall asleep? I like my songs. The perfect ones in my head are wonderfully enjoyable.
Beethoven had songs in his head, symphonies really, and he was able to write them down. His were wonderful too.
“But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?’ ” The Holy Bible Job 35:10
My people are making plans to gather for Thanksgiving. They are coming “up north” where we have short, cold days. This gets me started thinking about what there is to do up here when I have visitors.
I’ve gotten suggestions of activities some would like to do, most of which are either out of the question, or I don’t even know what they are. One of my daughters will be here for most of the week. Thank you, dear, for this list.
Her suggestions were:
Afternoon of frisbee golf (didn’t I tell you it was snowing up here?)
Visiting a slaughterhouse (um, no slaughterhouses. A new interest of yours?)
Build a Star Wars AT-AT out of bacon (you don’t like to touch meat, remember?)
Skunk hunting (for sport) (oh sure…)
Chapel Hill graffiti tour (I don’t think we have a Chapel Hill)
Lunch at Chipotle (no Chipotle… sorry)
Power walking race (maybe, in Walmart – you ok with that?)
Photo shoot near the big pickle (no, it’s a Musky and it’s a fish!)
Hip hop dance lessons (I think we’d have to import a teacher, but yeah…)
Yarn bomb an italian restaurant (no Italian restaurant, sorry)
Bit torrent party (what?)
Go caroling outside some night clubs (we have bars, not night clubs)
Camping! (didn’t I tell you it was snowing up here?)
Make a turkducken (you’re kidding… why?)
Night at the ballet (no ballet, sorry)
Computer day (no one talks to anyone, except chat & email) (already do this, no)
Clean up a mile of I-40 (I think that’s in North Carolina, no)
Dress up Lily fashion show (what?) See if an iPad will blend (what? what?)
Frozen margarita chugging contest (my head hurts thinking about this…)
Uno (Now you’re talkin’, yes)
Amish day (how does one do that?)
Zelda marathon (?what?)
Arts & crafts table at the flea market (flea market closed when it started to snow – doubles as a hockey rink, sorry)
Make organic free-range black bean burritos (maybe, what’s a free range black bean?)
Christmas shopping roulette (incompatible ideas, no)
Street racing with test drive cars (snow, ice, remember? way too exciting)
Plant an acai garden (the ground is frozen, no)
Afternoon of epic naps (this will happen without planning, yes)
Record a music video (we could do this in house, yes)
Visit a winery (no winery, sorry)
Start a Google group (you would want to do this? really?)
A couple of weeks ago the talk of the town was the high school play. I wasn’t too excited about a plot that centered around the trial of the wicked witch of the east and featured every fairy tale personage you’ve ever heard of, but mom decided she would go with my nephew. She said it was fun, so, based on her glowing review I decided to go the next night. I was desperate for a theatrical cultural experience and figured this was as close as I was bound to get for a while. I even ended up going ALONE, which takes some courage. I sat in the front row. It’s just what I do.
High school plays have not changed much in the last 50 years. I was so reminded of my first chances to be on stage. There is a lot to appreciate in these simple beginnings that teach poise, presence and test one’s memory of lines, and ability to be someone else. I still have an occasional nightmare where everyone is waiting for my line while I look frantically through the script to find it. There was some of that this night, but overall the whole play was well rehearsed, and it was fun. I think the actors had fun too.
“Up north” activities may lack the variety and sophistication of big city life, but I see a simplicity and wholesomeness in what does take place. People work hard up here and their free time is often spent in community service, activities with their kids, or just being home. There are many choices in those categories. I’m just sayin’ that so far, I have no trouble keeping busy.
This last day of May 2018 – the perfect morning to sit with my cup of coffee and my book. At this time of year the sun in the east finds a break in the wall of trees between us. It shines through the translucent blades of grass, lighting them up. It shines through my dusty windows, to the floor and back up into my eyes. The husband thinks it’s too bright and shuts the blinds. But what on earth is light? Why can’t I see it, but without it, I can’t see anything else?
It’s a wonderfully quiet time of day. I can hear the cardinals, a mating pair, that live in the backyard. I can hear the refrigerator running and the faint hum of my “device” as I sit and think and type. It’s a wonderfully quiet time of the year, as the number of summer tourists is much less than the number of winter tourists. The traffic problems are lessened, noticeably. It’s the last day of May and I realize that summer is starting and the slower pace and the heat affect everything, in a good way. I find it easier to relax. I have slept well.
I can sit here and think so many different thoughts. Am I hearing all the electrical synapses as they connect and bring up memories, phrases, mental pictures? (I think I can!)
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. “
I don’t want May to end but I don’t know how to hang on to it either. Time is like light, another thing that I can’t quite comprehend. Some people think they know all about light and time, but I don’t believe them. If that were true there would be nothing left for science to explore. We will never have it all down. Light and time are actual creations of someone not like us. Someone “other”.
“Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
It’s not just me. People have been thinking thoughts like this for a very long time.
The Bible, Psalm 139 (My new memorization project)
Last month, on the 12th to be exact, I decided I would dispose of some old financial records that weren’t needed any more. I also had a stump in the backyard from a tree that was cut down this spring. It seemed to be a good idea to me to burn the papers and possibly the stump at the same time. I started the fire right on top of the stump and probably spent an hour getting rid of the paper. The stump was perhaps two feet in diameter and began to burn a little around the edges so I put some dry wood on it and kept it going.
It did eventually begin to burn all the way to the middle – over the next week! We would think it had gone out but a wisp of smoke would go skyward every time the irrigation would water it, so we knew there was still heat there. A couple of times I would find downed branches (we live surrounded by trees) and throw them on the stump and in an hour or so we would see flames again.
We had one really good rain and a couple shorter ones, and still the stump burned. It began to look different, kind of like a volcano that had blown its top. The husband was always looking out the glass doors to see if it was smoking. I was worried that the constant drift of smoke would get the neighbors upset, but maybe, like me, they kind of like the smell of a wood fire.
For the last week the fire has seemed to be out. The caldera, as the husband likes to call it, is huge, black and ashy and surrounded by its rim of large roots. We have been poking it and trying to see if we could make it level with the ground around it, but it was still needing an axe or a chain saw to break it up. As the irrigation ran this morning I was surprised to see it start smoking again. Something in there, underground, was still hot.
I have heard how important fire was to nomads who moved their camps frequently, how they would carry coals in special containers to have a fire starter when they needed it. The longevity of my burning stump must be something like that. Joe came today and cut what was left of the roots in pieces and set them on top of the hot area. Late this afternoon it flamed and our volcano is glowing hot again. I don’t know why fire and its attributes are so interesting to me, but there it is. Burning. Glowing. Fascinating.
Loss happens. To everyone, and more than once. In fact, life could be seen as a progression of things we gain and things we lose and leave behind.
I’m not priming you for a sad story. This tale is one of those inconsequential, odd things that happens to me every now and then, but catches my attention a little more than usual. It’s another earring story, of which I have quite a few.
Several years ago, shopping in a second hand shop in Alachua, Florida I noticed a display of earrings on a rack at the checkout desk. They were probably handcrafted and were all Swarovski crystal in various combinations, drop earrings with pretty silver hooks. The pair I decided to get were several clear crystals with some blue crystal beads on top. I got them because I wanted something blue.
Since then I’ve worn them a number of times without incident. They are nice but I would call them unremarkable. Yesterday I had them on during my visit to the doctor’s office and as the young child (or so she appeared) who took my blood pressure laughed at them and said “Oh wow, you’ve got snowmen earrings. How cute.”
“No, you’ve got it all wrong. They’re not snowmen, they’re just geometric shapes. Not snowmen.” To be truthful I couldn’t even envision what they looked like at the moment, and it had NEVER occurred to me that they looked like snowmen so I couldn’t understand why she thought so. Later, I looked at them and had to admit that they could look like snowmen, if you’re one of those people to whom everything looks like something else. There are people like that.
Today, I’m wearing blue again and decided to stick with the same earrings. At lunch, my friend Char looks at me and remarks about my snowman earrings. Obviously, since it’s summer in Florida and 90 degrees in the shade, everyone is thinking snow? Maybe? I don’t know, but I had to tell her she was the second person in two days to come to that conclusion, after several years of no one ever settling on that. We laughed.
After lunch I did several errands, including being called to pick up the husband at work. He had donated blood and was feeling not so well and wanted to be driven home. His office is only a short distance away so I decided to bike over and drive his truck home too. I am a good girl and wear my helmet all almost all the time and don’t like to wear dangling earrings with it. But, there was only one to take off. Somewhere since lunch, one of my snowmen must have melted, or something. Lost.
I remember stepping away from the counter at the bank and saying “Did I drop something?” But it was one of those sixth sense things that makes you think you might have heard something, even though nothing is in sight. I probably should have looked harder, but no, and I’m not going back either. It’s not that I have anything against snowmen – on the ground, in the winter. Not in the summer, not on my ears, just sayin’…
I’m sorry. U is my least favorite letter. There is no favorite thing that starts with U, not for me. I thought of stretching my theme but it would seem disingenuous (a word I like, by the way) to write on a subject that isn’t a thing or that isn’t really FAVORITE.
Instead I am giving one of my favorite quotes – one that I think is encouraging to all of us who are not famous or greatly influential. The letter “u” is used 12 times. See if you can find them all.
Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
Is it a “thing” or the absence of a thing? I don’t know. As much as I love quiet, I see it has many different perspectives.
“It is so quiet back here!”
“No, it is most certainly not quiet. Close your eyes and listen.” It was a game she loved to play with children who visited. She would challenge them to come up with something.
They would close their eyes and concentrate. Before long, one of them would notice the insects. “I hear buzzing in the trees.” And about that time the katydids would come alive with a surge of sound, turning up the volume to defy quiet.
“I hear cars somewhere.” It was distant noise, but the beep, beep, beep of the truck backing up was much closer. They all nodded and listened some more.
On rare occasions, like today, the train half a mile away blew it’s whistle at about the same time as a jet went overhead. She always had to laugh when transportation so fully represented itself. They caught it all and laughed with her.
“I hear the trees, or maybe it’s the wind.” Another child said softly, a look of intense concentration on his face. “I heard a bird too. I guess it’s not so quiet.”
“But you’re right, it’s quiet sound,” she said, not wanting them to be totally wrong about quiet, because she loved it too.
It should be quiet at night, or at least that was her opinion. She knew others thought differently. She flung her arm over to his shoulder and rocked him back and forth until he quit snoring. She was glad the tornado roaring in her dream could so easily be vanished, at least until he relaxed and started up again.
He was going for a sleep study soon but it had taken a while to convince him he needed it. She knew he couldn’t be getting good sleep when his breathing was so erratic. The sudden gasps and variations of ragged breathing, interspersed with no breathing were not healthy for him (or for her).
As aggravating as the problem was, she had to admit, the most terrifying times were when she heard nothing but quiet.
She awoke and realized the headache was gone. The TV was off and he had gone to bed. It was quiet and she was flooded with relief.
The world had always been more quiet for him and he liked it that way. He was used to it and couldn’t understand how people who heard everything could bear the noise.