Sunday, October 21, 2012

misha and the sun

Another stunning October Georgia day.Off to the park to do some running.More like a 12 minute slog.

On the cool-down walk,I saw her.Small,bent over the asphalt,very busy.She was about 8 years old and had mocha skin and a pile of black hair tied in a bow on her head.When I stopped,she looked up.I asked what she had drawn and she said,"the sun."And it was ; a chalk drawing the size of a dinner plate with a bright circle of yellow and rich orange spikes .I told her it made me smile and asked if she was an artist.Without skipping a beat,she said ,"yes"."Awesome", I said and left her.

As I walked away,I knew that I had to tell about her,her smile and her art.On the next pass,I found out that she is Misha and that with the plastic glasses she handed me,I saw that her glorious sun was also magically 3-D.Amazing.I told her that I wasn't an artist but a writer .I asked if I could write about her and her sun.Smile,yes.And so I offer you the artist ,Misha ,who has a sun shining so brightly in her that has to get out.

Now that she has said that she is an artist,she will be one.She will watch things more closely than others.Observe,tuck inside and one day,put on asphalt or paper.Monet sat in his garden for hours before putting one stroke on canvas.Watching,watching the sun move and things change.

This is what artists and writers do.Because they need grist for their craft,they are wide open to the world.They find this grist and in the most unlikely places.It can be a small carved angel in the roots of a tree.Only an artist can hear that voice underneath; tell my story.Or asphalt that yearns for a sun.

givers and takers

When the Spirit moves, it is like a soft but persistent breeze touching your face.You turn.Here ,the breeze says,consider this.

Yesterday, we met my son and his family for breakfast in a near-by town.I was looking forward to it because they live almost two hours from us now and we don't see them enough in the growing,sprouting age they are.Changelings.

As I was getting ready ,a thought kept whirling and dashing through my mind:You think so often of the special moments these three grandchildren have given you over the years.Offer them as gifts to each of them.I struggled with this as it seemed I would dominate the gathering but decided,why not,when will I ever tell them?

A thought came: suppose one of the kids makes fun of another after they receive their memory and takes it away?Why not tell them about the Givers and the Takers.

Givers make you feel good in the way that they respect and appreciate you.Takers make sure that that good feeling is taken away.I gave them an example.Once my husband and I ran six miles in the mountains,down the road that takes you to the Post Office.It was a hard but glorious run ,brook rushing beside us ,trees surrounding and mountains.As we neared the finish,feeling such satisfaction, a close relative was standing outside the Post Office.She called out:"looking mighty slow there." The good feeling was replaced immediately.She took it.

We settled in and ordered.Then I began:"I have gifts for each of you."The middle son got very excited ."I want to tell you of special memories that I have because of you".It got very quiet."The day that I went for a run and you said that you would wait for me on the porch and although you were just four,you waited in the cold just as you had said.That meant alot to me to see you there.The day we went to the thrift store and you found a silver dolphin on a chain and you had me buy it for your sister because she couldn't come.The summer afternoon that we both took naps in the quiet guest room while the sun slanted on the trees.Such peace to be there with you."The memories tumbled out for all to see.

In that building , something special unfolded.My son joined in with a regret,shared it and promised to do better.Perhaps the whole thing was leading to that.And there were no Takers that morning.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

sweet moments

I wish that I had kept a journal sooner or been more aware of special moments when I was growing up.They can bring such pleasure to the present when they are savored and held close.

In 1996 ,my husband and I made a long desired trip to Ireland,land of my people.Those pale ,thin survivors of a terrible famine in their homeland of 1848.They came here to survive but the Emerald isle always filled their deepest memories.This love of Ireland surely was passed on in my genes because I never knew Ellen Ambrose,she who stepped onto a wharf in New York at the age of 18.Nor did I know her daughter,my grandmother Hannorah, who died when I was two.Did she buy that summer place in the Catskills because it looks like Glendalough?

How to describe Ireland or the idea of it.Steeped in "The Quiet Man" and Maureen O'Hara or Yeats and his wonderful "Isle of Innisfree":"I hear the lake water lapping...I hear it in my deep heart's core.."
Bright green grasses,border collies, lakes,the raging sea,islands like the Blaskets.The saints ,Patrick,Aidan and Kevin, and the wonderful round towers dotting the country side.All these things we drank in on our ten day trip.But there was this moment .

We had arrived in Doolin on the coast and the sun shining seemed perfect for a trip to a castle,so thought my husband.We had seen so much with so little time to ruminate.I wanted nothing more than to sit with my journal.I told him to go on and off he went ,not at all happy.I took my book and pen into Mrs. Kennedy's flourishing garden and sat among the blooms.A large,happy bumblebee joined me ,careening around the flowers ,a sweet symphony for my writing.In that moment ,I was at peace, wanting to be nowhere else.I rolled around in the words I was writing in pure delight.

Ah, the pleasure....."And live alone in a bee-loud glade."Yeats

I had another moment like this recently:after a long steep 5 mile hike,through drenching rain, we arrived at the Hike Inn near the Appalachian Trail.After changing our clothes,we had an hour before our meal was ready.We found ourselves on a comfortable couch in the main lodge with a warm fire and a library of nature books.For one hour, I read the beginning of a book about a kayak trip on the Altamaha River in Georgia.I loved every word and after our hard hike, I felt such peace being with Janisse Ray and her writing.

On any given day,I can pull these memories out .I know that there are more;I just need to stop to have them.