Seize what is in the basket, Allison! There is plenty for today...
Friday, April 30, 2010
Seize what is in the basket, Allison! There is plenty for today...
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
p.s. Please comment if a thought strikes you (even anonymously) ... my thoughts are no more than a signal into the great vastness. Do you think something I have not thought?
Monday, April 26, 2010
There are the odd phrases specific to each language and region that make it unique, even absurd, to the point of giddiness. A friend of mine says in her local French, "I have so much housework to do today. I am just swimming in the yogurt!"
Naturally, these are the things that draw me to a language, and make me love it.
There are also the cultural putdowns, a local sense of humor, that you can only grasp if you truly know the language and history. The day I began to grasp these was the day I felt I truly belonged. My friends from the New Country come over and ask me to translate, and sometimes I honestly can't. After all, they didn't go through this particular school of hard knocks!
But aside from that there is the feeling that you never will fit in. That you understand, but cannot hear. That you are doomed to a life of deafness.
A friend sat at my table last week for lunch, a businessman. He said something that was a consolation to me. We were talking about this culture, a specific sub-culture where I live. He said, "You do truly understand us, Allison, but there are things, thoughts, you will never understand because you are not us. This mentality is not yours. So while you understand it, you cannot have it - it will not come to you naturally."
You understand, but cannot hear.
Being an ex-patriot will give you that feeling, eventually. The clanging din of sound, even beautiful sound, surrounds you, but the day ultimately comes when that's all it is - sound.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I awoke of a morning to this bit of light coming through the curtain. We don't live in the land of spectacular sunrises and sunsets. In all truth, the ones I see here pale in comparison to others on the Pacific Coast, on the fields of the American midwest. I have longed for the passionate throbbing of more ferocious vistas, aggressive weather, the terrifying growl of a nature that is more powerful than I. Somehow, the gentle sway of this spellbinding countryside leaves me frustrated at times.
I opened the curtain expecting nothing special, but hoping all the same that for once there would be something truly lovely. I am waiting for a dawn.
Waiting in a fog, waiting in a darkness, waiting for something to come. I hope when it does it is all-consuming, untamed and soothingly fierce.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
We whispered amongst ourselves when my mother brought her stray cats into the house. She was always doing that - bringing in the people we would despise. There were always renegades around; the kind of people others would stare at, the kind others would reject.
They were the guests at our table.
It was a lesson in kindness I have never forgotten. A glimpse into humility. Looking back I think my mother saw something I failed to see as a child, I think she must have felt a love directed toward herself much greater than anything we could imagine to be so loving to the unpalatable.
Is there a bit of that legacy for me? My mother has asked us to put our names on things in her house for when she's dead ... so we will know what belongs to whom. I've never liked the idea; in truth, I've teased her about it.
But will she put a label on her love? Will she write my name on that legacy to carry when she's gone?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
And I wondered if he were as taken with the beautiful day as I was, or if he was just trying to see the ash cloud with his naked eye as it descended over the land. Wouldn't he love that!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I considered what to do with a plant I had actually kind of loved. No other plants had thrived in my home, except for this one. It lived in my kitchen with me, sitting on the window sill as I cooked and watched the street for the children to come home from school. It had grown lush and full with time, and I was careful to water it regularly. We were, in a way, friends; waiting as the world came and went, sitting in silent comradery, both living and growing in our own specific ways.
I know ... that's a lot of information about a plant. But I'm not losing my mind, fear not!
When I saw her dead, I felt an inner distress and annoyance; it occured to me that perhaps she was mirroring the way I felt inside. Fern had given up; and what was I to do about it? Throw her out? In that split second, in that sliver of a moment, I decided what I would do (and believe me when I say my resolve had nothing to do with a glowing knowledge of how to care for house plants - ask my plant, it knows the pathetic truth).
Grabbing scissors from the kitchen drawer, I set her in the sink and chopped her entire deadness off. It nearly choked me to do it. She sat there in her huge white plastic pot, shaved and degraded, a perfect compost candidate. But I would not be thwarted. I watered and drained her thoroughly and set her in a new pot up in my skylight window; and waited for her.
I would not throw out an old friend because she had lost her zest for life. Would you? Would God?
Time has passed, and tiny shoots have begun to appear on the ugly lump that remained after the shearing; I feel she has begun trusting that I'm in it for the longhaul. (She has no idea how strongly I feel about this!). And the question comes back to me again: what do you do when the person you count on suddenly has nothing more to offer?
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The yarn is the loveliest blend of silk, kid mohair and lamb's wool; and I've used colors 244 and 279 here, though I've begun to think
b r o o k l y n t w e e d was right picking more contrasting tones. His scarf is truly inspiring if you want to check it out:
I have plans for a little red cotton-linen sleeveless something for Milly, but it is so hard deciding on a pattern! So for now, it's just back and forth, back and forth on the needles while my mind follows suit on the impending tank!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
When those days are ours to endure, I bring candy in my pocket to suck when the doctor steps out; I sit and knit and say absurd things to make us laugh when fear of the unknown would devour us; I fix their frightened eyes with my smiling ones until the anaesthesia kicks in and they fall asleep; I stand as the glass doors close behind me and feel the helplessness of entrusting them to the mercy of a surgeon and his knife.
Have you been that mother? Have you felt that sinking aloneness?
Have you listened on while they tell you your son has a disease unheard of in his age and gender group; swallowed calmly while they say he may have something else, too, but they can’t imagine what?
Sitting at my kitchen table one day after everyone had gone to school, I began to understand my vocation. I realized, as I cried out my heavy heart, that as mothers we have no right to lose our heads. There is no room for drama in our world.
For we are anchors in theirs.
Sunday, we went AWOL. For once, nothing was broken. We were not the exception; the rare case no one could unravel. With an ice pack and a sling, we walked right out the front door in an odd state of ecstasy!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
There is no compass that can bring you out; it is a waiting. Sit and feel it settle around you. Sit and let it soak you with its uncertainty; let it penetrate until you think you will die from exposure in the empty land of questioning.
It will clear. I can't imagine how, or when. But something tells me in my dampened soul that it will; and all will shine bright on the flowerless fields.
Friday, April 9, 2010
medusa... spaghetti... eels... loch ness?
The grasses of summer past preserved in the bog-like waters of the pond. We shall swim among them yet!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Vreni and Fritz. He was outdoors "purging the forest" when I stopped by with 5 kids in tow. "Vreni will get you something to drink," says he. And the smiling woman whose back is literally cracked in two, forcing her to walk in an L position, her head hanging nearly to the ground, poured us little plastic cups of orange juice out on her front stoop and sent us on our way with chocolate.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The little fire-starters, invited for a sleepover, were lighting paper and throwing it out the window to see what they would see. But they didn't reckon on me seeing.
The wrath that followed is hard to describe, and I was of two minds about serving them the oreo and cream cheese birthday cake I had made and chilled earlier in the day - and believe me when I say that dirt cake is no easy task. Have you ever put oreos in a blender? Have you witnessed first-hand the onslaught of powdered cookie in flight? When asked individually (my own son included) how their dads would react if they started a fire in their own bedrooms at home, each said unassumingly and fully subdued, "He would punish me". Hmmm. Really!
The upside to this gripping novella is that the shed is completely cleaned and swept out now thanks to my three repentant charges, and the outdoor spring cleaning I was so dreading has done itself up!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
And how! I just read this quotation and am inspired anew to pursue my profession. The right words can alter the course of this world, I daresay; they inspire the uninspired, transform misunderstanding into understanding; sharpen or dull the blade of communication; tear down walls or build them up; join enemies in an enlightened bond of mutual consciousness.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Indeed! Authorized personnel only; thank God for risk takers.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
In the chilly, wintry days of this past week, when snow lay like powdered-sugar across the spring-green fields, I had my sister's scarf to keep me warm; and the colors of it to keep me happy. I am lucky to have a sister who will leave a scarf and a book under the pillow for me to find when she's flown away.