Sunday, June 28, 2009

Watery


Drip. Drip. Drip. Water comes down from the sky, wrung out of the grey clouds until the air is heavy with rain, and the ground is saturated. Drops roll down the driveway, dodging fallen pine needles, bits of lichen, twigs. The drops gather with other drops, merging together until streams run through the detritus, mob-like, bullying a way down to the oak tree, through the ferns, down to the stream.

Puddles in the grass. Puddles in gardens. Puddles on the paving stones and the benches. Leaves hang heavy, wet, sagging. Swings droop, forgotten. Spirits sag. If only the rain would stop! we think. If only there were some sun! we wish.

We swim inside in a man-made pool, watching the grey clouds gathering through the windows. When we finish swimming inside, we swim outside through the heaven-made pool to the car. Drops roll down the windowpanes, they swish from the windshield wipers, they form a topographical map on the hood of the car.

But a new morning dawns.

Clear blue sky.

The sun shines.

The beach calls.

We drive through town, past the market, by picket fences and window boxes. Hot sand under toes to the tide line, where the water, the ocean water, the cold, cold water takes refuge in the sand, refusing to give heed to the pull of the moon. Tiny drops surround grains of sand, forming a putty for small builders equipped with shovel and pail.

Courageous souls brave the salty water. Screams of girls and gulls fly through the air.

A tiny crab is discovered and captured, its miniature legs moving ferociously across a small palm. When fully prodded and examined, it is released back into the sea, back to its home, and inquisitive eyes search for new discoveries.

Stones, shells, snails washed by the sea, bathed by the water. All are fodder for a day at the beach, until the mist rolls in with the tide. The water in the air bows down to meet the water on the ground, and we, mere mortals, are in the middle, desperate to escape water from above, only to find refuge in it from below.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Healer's Art



The olive oil sizzles in the pan, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes bubbling within. A crush of garlic, a twist of pepper, a handful of salt await the cook's whim.

When discouragement comes calling, the tomatoes never judge. Onions become your friend, chopped and ready, weepy and weeping.

Watching and waiting, wooden spoon lies at the ready.

At the end, when all has been done, when there is nothing left to chop, and the salt has been returned to the pantry, pasta entreats you, steam rising into your face, a balm to your hurt, real or imagined.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Images



An image of me came my way this week--came flying through the airless space, the ether of hypertext and social networking. An image of the ghost of me past, the me who was. The me before babies, before marriage, before graduate school, before travel. The me before life.

The innocent me.

The me who wanted a new dress to wear to the church dance.

And a hat to go with it.

And this image, for some reason, demands to be acknowledged.

So I acknowledge you, my sixteen-year old self. But you really should have helped out with the dishes more often. You should have told your family you loved them more often. You should have been a tad bit less self-absorbed (says the 37-year old me who is writing an *entire* post on herself). You should have worried less.

But some things you got right, by serendipitous chance or by absolute design. Whether by one or the other, I am grateful.

And now my sixteen-year old self tells me--can't you see the look on her face?--as I am now, you once were. As you are now, I will become.

I look into the airless ether to that future self, wondering what the ghost of me yet to come would say to the me right now. Undoubtedly, she will tell me that I should have worried less.

Time is a funny thing. You can never step in the same river twice, or so says Heraclitus, the grand master of the idea that each moment is its own universe. But there is my face. And here I am--dipping into the river again and again.