Sunday, March 25, 2012

More to the story

Passing the church on the way to work the other day, I noticed a pile of used toys and a wooden bookcase on the side of the road. A pickup pulled up to the curb and a crew of older men hopped out. One grabbed the bag of toys; another hefted the book case onto the road to shatter it into pieces. My first thought was, "Why didn't they recycle those things?" How wasteful. A few steps further down the road and I wondered if perhaps the book case was irreparable. The truck bed had stacks of broken wood. There's a place in town that pays for wood scraps. It's possible the church had generated some income. I could be wrong with any or all of my conclusions.

It made me wonder how often the conclusion we jump to is the right one. There are so many snap judgements made each and every minute of the day. I don't know what the real story is about the church belongings but for the rest of the day, I made up opposing stories about random things I observed.

The employee walking out the back door and crossing the street towards a coworker's house. Three blocks later, the severely-clad woman reappeared, turned another corner then headed back towards work. Clearly, she was out enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather, not sneaking out to meet up with someone.

The car parked in a neighbour's usual space despite the fact that everyone knew it was the only place the van could park to safely unload the wheelchair. Three days later and the car was still in the spot. Just as the van owner was about to hunt down the car owner and share a piece of their mind, an impartial third-party mentioned the car had been dropped off by a tow truck. The best anyone could hope for was that the car could be pushed forward into another space.

Minor observations but conclusions had been erroneous because there was more to the story than what was initially observed.

What's the strangest thing you've observed that you wish you new the rest of the story?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Found treasures

My friend and I were out for a drive the other day. Headed in no particular direction we were catching up on sad news more than happy stuff. We weren't particularly distressed but both of us mentioned we were drained. We took a right turn, then a left turn and another left. The entrance to a protected woods was before us. The strange quacking call of the wood-frog beckoned us forward. We shrugged, entered and parked the car. There were comical wooden soldiers piled by the mini-putt to the left. Several families were enjoying themselves over there. To the right was a pond with little bridges that led to three separate viewing platforms. We locked our belongings in the car and strode forth. Turtles sunned themselves on a log. With our backs to the mini-putt, it appeared that we had dropped down into an enchanted forest. The frogs sang. The turtles sunned. We recharged. We looked at the other two viewing platforms. One was named Serenity (which always makes me think of Firefly, which is fun but not necessarily soothing) I've forgotten the name of the second. The space where we stood said Be Thankful. We were.

Ignoring my flip flops, we opted to walk along the cleared path and breath in the fresh Spring air. Leaves had curled on the branches of the beech tree like little cocoons. A squirrel had commandeered a bird house for an afternoon nap. One particularly vocal wood-frog revealed his hiding place so that we might marvel at the small body that produced such a deep and powerful voice.

By the time we turned back towards the car, our spirits had risen, our souls been replenished and our worries eased. The external had not changed but we both drove away knowing that we were better equipped to handle the challenges we face.

Have you found some special place that fills you up when you most need it?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The skunk at the garden party

It's hard to laugh in the face of overwhelming sorrow. It's considered disrespectful to give into the urge. I can remember laughing at my grandfather's funeral. So many disapproving faces turned my way. I had remembered my grandfather in a way that gave me joy yet my laugh stood out amongst all the sniffling and tears like the rank odor of skunk at a garden party. I am often that skunk.

Most sorrow comes from losing a loved one. The happier the memories, the greater the anguish. It seems to me the disrespect comes from banishing the good memories to focus primarily on the sense of loss.

There are so many stresses in our lives it seems silly to ignore the things that alleviate any of that for even one moment. I do believe in surrounding myself with joy, love, laughter and animals but that's because they work for me. Good friends are invaluable. Great memories a boon.

Laughter banishes negativity. It doesn't get rid of the health concerns, money worries, mounting pressures but it turns things on their side so that you can see past their huge bulk to a solution.

It always comes back to perspective for me. I need the laugh to remind me life can be full of ridiculous situations. Death comes to all of us. So does life. There are creatures in the dark, delightful creatures who remind us not all is bad or scary. Sunshine burns. Flowers heal or poison. We choose which to ingest, and when. There should be laughter at funerals, tears at birth and skunks at garden parties.

Don't you agree?

Sunday, March 04, 2012


My thoughts today are like the snow falling gently outside my window. Disjointed and scattered until they hit the ground to form some kind of mass that annoys some people while delighting others.

I've loaded my Sony reader with a couple of new books; Demolition Angel by Robert Crais and Spindle's End by Robin McKinley. They are both new-to-me authors and so far I've devoured Crais. I will definitely read more of his. McKinley came highly recommended by several people whose tastes are similar to mine. I finished A little Night Magic by Lucy March two weeks ago and am still thinking about those characters. That's a good thing.

I googled Liselotte von der phaltz. Many years ago, we saw her portrait in the gallery at Heidelberg Castle. She looked a great deal like my great-grandmother. Mumma was alive at the time and confirmed the possibility that the Prussian princess could be a distant cousin. There was an long dead uncle who'd been a bit of a roué which had led to his being exiled from several countries for impregnating daughters of the nobility. Family legends.

I'm on my third cup of tea. I usually only have one for breakfast and one in the evening. My sleep was beset my violent nightmares. I stare out the window and watch the snowflakes flutter past. They are fluffy and the brilliant white that blots out the red horrors of the night.

I continue to glance at the white infant jacket that lies on the table. Three white pearl buttons lie beside waiting for me to sew them on. A shower gift for a friend, I need to finish and wrap for this evening. Perhaps a bit more snow gazing to ensure my energy is focused on the sweetness of a newborn.

Maybe one more tea. Raspberry white tea, full of anti-oxidants and the sweet burst of summer fruit and a healthy contrast to the cool winter morn.