Sing out loud.
Voice your inner rage.
Peace will come.
Tears well up while polishing dry crackled wood on a magazine rack built by a grandfather I never knew. How can this inanimate object built over 70 years ago effect my emotions this way?
Though I never witnessed his wrinkled brow in concentration while whittling, sawing or hammering, I do know he was a serious and solitary man who had creative talents in carpentry. I know that he was a man who loved his daughter, my mother.
This wonderful piece of wood was constructed with patience and caring. Was it his hope to please my grandmother Evelyn, who was never happy? Or did he need to escape from her to his workshop, to keep his sanity while she was on the verge of loosing hers? Evelyn married a man 20 years older, a railroad man. He was away a lot. She berated him often. She complained and was unkind to him. My mother shared stories about her childhood, raised under her mothers ridicule, a frightened little girl in an unhappy home hearing her parents fighting, and the loss of a daddy who was dear to her. He died in his 50s from complications of a stomach ulcer. Evelyn had an affair with his coworker who drove her to the Railroad Hospital in Chicago where he was dying. I only found this out recently, but I am not surprised. Evelyn was cold. She was never grandmotherly. I suspect she had a personality disorder but the family never discussed that, and that is another story.
Wiping wood cleanser on it’s ancient varnish to bring back its luster also brings back my own childhood. My earliest memories are of playing on the floor near this magazine rack, hiding my stuffed animals inside or using its wooden platform for my Barbie dolls to stand against, it was the perfect size for Barbie feet. However, as I approached my teens, I rebelled against it, mad that my mom insisted my sister and I dust all its crevices, along with all the other furniture, every Saturday.
Thinking about my mothers’ deep sadness makes me cry. She is gone now too. All I want to do today is call her, talk to her. I want to tell her again how blessed I am to have been nourished by her love. I want to hear her kindness flow over me and hear our laughing together while we share every little thing about our lives. I want to ask more questions about her daddy, which she referred to him as with a faraway look of longing in her eyes. I wish I had realized the significance of her sharing those stories when I was younger. I failed to grasp the hurt she endured since my own childhood and our family life was very happy.
This magazine rack is a root to our connection that I keep in a safe place in my home. I keep my mom and her memories of my grandfather alive in my heart. This piece, as well as two chairs he built, are the only things that I have from a grandfather I never met. That, and the knowledge that my mother loved him so he must have been a good man. These pieces of wood created under times of hardship, furniture unknowingly left by him, are somehow a legacy of love to a granddaughter he never knew.
Only when the last tree has died, and the last river been poisoned, and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb
To be two is to be
Belly laughs are heard
Fascinated and fun.
Learning concepts and words
Eyes and ears alert
About all things near
Cuddly and kind
Tight body hugs of cheer
Soft and sweet
Nibbles of neck and feet
Giggly and squirmy
I will hold this innocent age in my heart
(05/03/2017) Silas turns two today! I want to grasp his sweetness before he goes full-force into the “terrible two” stage.
Rolling relentlessly. A vigorous flourish of an endless pursuit of churning force. Its sound speaks to us all. What do you hear? Excess ecstasy, hurried excitement to carpe diem? Or are you lulled, hypnotized, your soul shushed and reminded to listen to your inner murmurs. Hear the sound of your heart beating in the waves. From […]
A vigorous flourish of an endless pursuit of churning force. Its sound speaks to us all.
What do you hear?
Excess ecstasy, hurried excitement to carpe diem?
Or are you lulled, hypnotized, your soul shushed and reminded to listen to your inner murmurs.
Hear the sound of your heart beating in the waves.
From where has this water come? Does it encircle the earth brought forth from all the oceans in all of the world.
How many clouds, how many rains, how many thunderstorms does it take to create an ocean?
I don’t know these answers and I never will. But I pray our earth will continue to sustain us with this life source for all the lives to come.
I am greeted with a flood of memories from my past each year as I put up and take down the Christmas tree. I savor the nostalgic ornaments that I have saved, some of them going back to my childhood in the 1960s. A tacky sequined deer, vintage silver babbles. I still have majority of them from the 1980s when my husband and I celebrated our first Christmases. Of course there are the ones that I have savored from my childrens’ past – the ballet slippers that I bought for my infant daughter, and the violinist for her sister to name a few. I carefully place each piece on the tree. Today while taking down the tree I was taken aback when I opened up a box that holds a pair of wooden angels from the 1980s that were purchased in Germany, as well as some porcelain candle holders. The scent that wafted out was overwhelming. It took me a moment to realize it was a scent from my in-laws home and I suddenly began to cry with the thought of all the years that have gone by since I last saw my mother-in law. That, of course, made me think of my mom. The tears continued in full force.
When I feel this way I write.
In recent years I have written notes with dates and a few details about where some of the ornaments came from. These notes are packed away carefully with each ornament with the hope my daughters will appreciate them when I pass them on their care as much as I have through the years.
A wounded warrior of words worries overmuch.
- After a weekend spent with my grandsons on a trip to the St. Louis zoo my heart is breaking for all animals that will soon be extinct, and especially the polar bear. I have been to the zoo on many occasions in and of course I have enjoyed the levity and laughter while watching the antics of the apes, the entertaining sea lions, I and have been amazed and awed by the beauty of big cats. However, yesterday, sharing our greatest creatures ever to walk this exquisite earth with the three little boys dearest to my heart while knowing that there is a distinct probability that every animal cherished in their favorite books will be extinct in 50 years has saddened my spirit. I was obsessed with animals when I was a child. All animals, large and small, hoofed or padded, ferocious or domestic, I loved them all. I can remember decorating my bedroom with posters of polar bear babies, frolicking sea lions, puppies and kittens as a preteen. My goal my freshman year of high school was to become a veterinarian and I was a member of the veterinarian club. We had field trips to the zoo, where I wanted to work. I would have done any job there, even cleaning the manure, just so that I could be close to the animals. But my sophomore year I started running with a different group of friends and my personality changed. I guess you could say I lost myself somewhat, I stopped listening to my own voice, and instead attempted to become more instep with others. I have had many passions and ideas that I have not followed through on in my life, regretfully. However that is another story in itself.
Looking at a beautiful polar bear laying in the dirt, panting heavily while trying to stay cool, was heart wrenching. He was asleep up against the glass while we all stared at him. I could hear all the usual comments around me, all the usual exclamations about how big his paws were. Or how cute. Children would ask questions like why doesn’t he play. All I could angrily think about was how uncomfortable he seemed. Where was his glacier!? How can he survive in the St. Louis climate in the summertime? And what about the other polar bears in the Arctic who are suffering because of global warming. The only thing separating me from that incredible bear was a 2 inch thick pane of glass and decades of my ignorance. I have let the years of my life swallow up my desire to help animals. In the noisy daily trappings of my daily duties I have forgotten the silent ones. I have guiltily cast aside the Endangered Species list and replaced it with a To Do list. Ironically, that To Do list makes me feel like a caged animal. You know, that proverbial hamster on a wheel in a cage constantly running, doing, going…. nowhere.
Later that night when I tried to fall asleep all I could think of were my grandchildren and how the world is changing so fast, and I wondered how my grandchildren’s children would see their world. Will they grow up to have an appreciation for nature and for all things great and small? Would they have trees to climb in and fresh water to drink? Will there still be animals left on the earth roaming freely in their natural environment?
The next morning, my oldest grandson Dylan, 11, who has always been an insightful boy and is now becoming a deep thinker, shared some of his thoughts about planet earth and its relationship to the universe and solar system, and somehow that led to the conversation of Isis and terrorism. He even told me about ‘Anonymous’ that group of activists/hacktivists. While I have heard about that group, he knew more about it than I did! We shared our sadness about the near extinction of some of the animals that we saw at the zoo. His soulful brown eyes told me how upsetting it is for him. Dylan is my nature boy, my creative grandson who looks at the world and constantly reminds me about the importance of kindness, peace and understanding others He wanted me to watch some of his favorite YouTube videos with him. He immediately pulled up Prince Ea’s powerful political and important philosophies Regarding saving the earth and animals. I was in near tears while watching this incredible man espouse his opinions regarding these issues on which I used to have so much more passion about. I need to rectify that.