We Could Be Giants

The path ahead

They stood on the bridge and thought about what came next. The slant sun warm on their backs, while the river below held its breath, waiting for their decision.

What if this is not the path we are supposed to take? He asked.

What if it is? She answered.

And after leaning awhile in silence, they pulled themselves up in tacit agreement and pressed on ahead.

Family Recipe


First, you will need a lake:
Preferably one in which you once flapped fish-like, laughter lifting in iridescent bubbles from your lips.
Best results are achieved mid-summer, when days feel like new clothes you are trying on.

You will also need:
An infant whose buoyancy is limitless.
A father with a never-ending capacity for love.
A mother who adores them both.

Dip the baby in the lake —
that baptismal font of past generations whose sloughed-off atoms may yet be felt.
The sun will bless you with its warmth.

Swirl the baby through the water; kiss and love him well. Hold him
with tender hands. Do not let go. Dip and swirl until
laughter lifts in iridescent bubbles from his lips.
Memory is made from molecules like this.

Repeat as often as you like.
Calorie count is negligible.

About the ingredients:
This is my personal recipe. Your infant/s can be any number, any gender; likewise  parental combination. You can add a village. Water can be an ocean.
Love and Laughter should NOT be omitted under any circumstance.

Strange Tableau

Original photo by Barbara Johansen Newman. Futzed with by me.

The stage was set, the performance about to begin. Cupid aimed his arrow at Véronique. She was not a willing participant in this grand guignol. Alas, poor Yorick,  wearing a wretched grin — his was not a speaking role, stuck as he was between la dame and the ridiculous Louis, whose eyes rolled relentlessly heavenward. The bit players barely noticeable at the back. All of them waiting for the houselights to dim. As they did every day, except for Sunday when the public attended church to confess the sin of misplaced curiosity.

At the front of the stage, there was no mask to represent comedy. Tragedy was the only play held here.

 

n.b. My friend Barbara is currently on a Viking River Cruise. She’s been generous in sharing her photos with those of us who are stuck at home. One of the places she visited was Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic.   There were a couple of museum-y kinds of places with large collections of puppets and marionettes.  This evolved from one of the photos she posted. My imagination ran a little wild. I am thinking of making my own strange tableau.

In Praise of the Quiet Dads

Bob with Jordan shadow

Gazing at your infant son as he locks eyes on you, both of you as yet unused to such amazement.  The reverence of such a moment.  This is what you signed up for.   This is what sustains you through long nights of wakefulness and days of wondering whether you’re doing it right–this parenting business–so necessary to keep the world chugging forward into a brighter future for us all.

What a hefty weight a parent bears.

Here.  Let me remind you of the connection you made, long ago as it was.

Let me show you how you have loved.

 

p.s.  Sorry about the coffee.

 

Breath

Breath

Years ago I sighed suddenly.
A quick, unexpected breath that snagged in my throat
like a small bird tangled in a net.
It kept happening after that.
Occasionally, and out of nowhere.
The sighs audible, gasping; a short stuttering note of surprise.

I have searched for a reason
this should happen.  Wondering
what I had done to annoy
my own breath that it would sound
so exasperated with me?
I recently discovered that I hold my breath

when I am concentrating
on some inconsequential task.
While someone is drawing their last
breath I unconsciously hold mine.
A child is born and gulps a first breath
then wails from the surprise of it.

Isn’t that the way breath
is meant to be?
Rolling in and out endlessly
like ocean waves taking us ever further out
until at last, we lose sight
of the distant shore.

It’s Spring: A Poem and a Light-hearted Lament

A pretty yellow flower that says heralds spring.

Photo of a pretty yellow flower to herald spring.

Spring has well and truly sprung where I live.  The sun beams beatifically while a bellicose wind is determined to huff and puff the few remaining days of March.  In the background, my husband’s chainsaw gnaws through a pile of downed tree limbs — winter’s detritus.

Today is my husband’s birthday.  (Happy birthday, Bob.)

In a couple of days it will be April, which is National Poetry Month.  I love poetry as much as I love spring.  On spring mornings rife with sun, I often think of Wordsworth. Specifically the following:

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

I learned this poem many years ago when I was still the Child.  A few years ago, while thinking on Wordsworth, I jotted down a response to My Heart Leaps Up.

My heart despaired when I beheld
A codger in the dell:
So was it that my life began;
Yet here I am without a plan,
Fast closing in on next-to-dead.
Oh, bugger hell!
And I could wish my days to crawl
Before I have to chuck it all.

I must have been in a funky mood when I wrote that ditty.  In my defense, the too swift passing of time has been an obsession with me since I was about eight, and the only way around it is to poke fun of myself, which is what I am doing here.  (Plus, I do love the word codger.)

So, welcome to another spring; to young men’s (and women’s) fancy; to love and poetry.  Welcome, welcome, welcome all!

Vernal Blossom

vernal blossom

Yesterday was the first day of spring.  I found this lone flower blooming in a pot of greenery by my kitchen window.  Isn’t it lovely?  Oh, harbinger of new and reawakening life.  Oh, beacon of joy.  This is the stuff that stirs poets to pen.

Except that this is my Thanksgiving cactus which ordinarily produces its pink-tinged blossoms and white translucent wings in November, and it did not disappoint four months ago when it was awash with blooms.  In all the years that I have had it, it has never flowered in spring.  Nor has it ever only presented a single bloom.

This morning there was snow.  By the afternoon it was gone.  Harbinger of doom?  Who knows?  I do think we should all hang on to our hats; come summer we may be in for a hot, bumpy ride.

 

A Love Song

bob & jordan France 2

Just an old-fashioned love song,
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me.
Just an old-fashioned love song,
Comin’ down in three-part harmony . . .

~~~  Three Dog Night

 

Of all the photos I have ever taken, this one is my favorite:  My husband and our son walking down the street in a French village twenty-two years ago.  They are walking away from me not to go anywhere in particular, but to allow me to record how astonishingly narrow the street is, using them as a measure.

I don’t remember where this was specifically.  Somewhere in the Provence area.  We had rented a car and were driving around to various places we’d pinpointed on a map.  A guide book I read mentioned a villa outside this village that Picasso may (or may not) have lived in for a short time.  We thought it would be fun to say we saw where Picasso may (or may not) have lived.  It was the first trip we’d taken where we needed passports.  We were giddy with excitement.

Thanks to the digital services of online places like Zazzle, this photo now adorns the case on my cell phone, as well as cheering me from a mug as I enjoy a cup of tea.  I bought three mugs bearing this photo, one for each of us.  To remind us.

We are a love song.  The three-part harmony.  The Boy and his Dad striding step by step along side of one another, me capturing the joy of a free and easy moment to carry us through life’s rough patches.  For me, the thought of that is all the Valentine I will ever need.

 

On the Way: Window Dressing

I’ve been traveling around England for a little over a week.  Today I’m in London.  My husband and I have logged some miles walking and today was windy and cool, so I wanted to head back to our hotel early.  On the way we walked past Selfridges.  Some of the window arrangements caught my eye, and for a few minutes I forgot about being tired and cranky.

This spring we watched the weekly PBS presentation of Mr. Selfridge.  I imagine that Harry Selfridge would approve of this display for the Apple iWatch.  I love how all the elements of this design — the butterflies changing color and suspended from thin filaments, the watches on pedestals rising from the bottom — meld with the reflections of sky and the wonderful glass building across the street to create something quite fanciful.

  

Into the woods

creepy woods 2

I’m off on an adventure, but I’ll be back soon.  You may wait in the heart of the Night-Light Forest while I’m away.  It’s lovely here.  If you squint your eyes, you can just make out the shadowy figures of creatures who are too shy to show themselves.  They hum the same soft tune and sway to the music they make.  The light show was created for them.  They love the lights — O glorious light!  Magnificent bursts of phosphorescence; the sky is awash with color.

If you chose to spend time here, be respectful.  No hooting and hollering lest you disturb the serenity.  Don’t trod on anyone’s feet.  Feel free to hum along, though, once you’ve deciphered the tune. If you must snack, pick up after yourself.  And if you happen to see Betsy, tell her the thing she most wants to know is skulking around here somewhere.

I’ll see you all when I return.  If you’re good I may bring you a little something.  Maybe chocolate, maybe not.  It’s a surprise.

Everyone loves a surprise.