I liked everything about this video except the title. (I doubt this video will change our lives.) However, like the seemingly small kindnesses it documents, the video reminded me something. There is a mysterious beauty to the sum total of our tiny offerings of friendship and care for our fellow humans. We don’t always see it, but it’s there. Little acts of love matter.
image found at emaze.com
I took this picture on a lazy canoe ride with my husband this summer.
It feels like we’re all in some form of taking off at the moment.
Girl two has been there done that with being little. She’s big and you can see it, or she’ll scream her head off. (So to speak. It’s just an expression. Mostly.)
Girl one has her eye on the growing up prize, sneaking dress shoes to school instead of sneakers and wrapping herself in fancy scarves whenever possible.
Boy two is turning twelve soon. Unlike his sisters, his dreams of flight do not involve growing up. Rather, they involve making himself more unique than he already is. I was informed recently that he has invented a new hairstyle he calls, “the elf.” He explained the elf to me proudly while preparing it for school. I quote, “the whole entire point of it is to make your ears look like their sticking out as much as possible.”
Boy one is in grade 11 and eager to be as old as possible as soon as possible. Nothing makes him happier than answering the phone and having to explain that he is not his dad. His wings flap madly regardless of wind, lift, or splash, stopping only when he falls unconscious to his pillow each night.
As for me, I’ve been pulled into some local initiatives I care a great deal about in the form of that dreaded beast, the committee. I am a bit over my head at times as to how best to contribute. Whether a committee can effectively take off on this one, or if the conjunction of multiple dragging webbed feet defeats (no pun intended) the possibilities, is a question. The group of ducks that took off en masse prior to taking the picture at the top of this last brave soul flying off on his own was certainly spectacular. Does it follow that if ducks can fly together, people with a bit of trial and error can manage it too? The gamble of the committee echoes the gamble of our place in the universe. We can’t do it alone, but too many cooks spoil the soup. We aren’t all charged to take the same road, yet needing each other is an unavoidable agony en route to progress. My group flight attempts have temporarily grounded my ability to think creatively beyond the committees.
So a prayer for my readers inspired by my realities of late:
May your flights be long and brave, your takeoffs and landings smooth. Should you find yourself on a committee, may the patience of Job be yours, and may the dragging of all the webbed feet end in a thoroughly soaked miracle of grace.
And another small prayer for flight by committee
We’re just coming off of Canada Day – if you’re Canadian, please consider signing a petition on behalf of some of your fellow citizens whose treatment is deeply grieving. An article here outlines the frustrations of a community that has been on a boil water advisory now for 17 years.
Canadians can sign the petition here http://community.sumofus.org/p/freedomroad. (It takes about ten seconds.)
If you’re not Canadian (happy July 4th to many of you) please consider speaking up for some of your own forgotten citizens as a way of honoring your country.
photo compliments of morguefile.com
If you have time for a longer read this weekend, could use a smile, and aren’t offended by a few intermittent outbursts of strong language, I highly recommend the following article by Harrison Scott Key, entitled, “My Dad Tried to Kill Me With an Alligator.”
Sam and Andrew, this is not to be missed.
Photo compliments of morguefile.com
We’re closed for repairs. Be back Monday.
Trillium (the white flowers in the back ground and the provincial flower of Ontario) are in bloom.
Trillium are very brief spring visitors.
Not as common as the white trillium but found in our very own woods. Unlike the white trillium (which has no other interesting names) the red ones are also called: American True-Love, Birthroot, Bumblebee Root, Ill-scented Wake-robin, Indian Shamrock, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Stinking Willie, Threeleaf Nightshade, and Wake-robin. How could I not feel lucky to have these on our property?
Since we got the bees, I have a whole new love for dandelions.
The only thing missing here is the music. That grand cacophony of song the birds do to say the whole world is rejoicing that it’s spring.
I got a picture of this one, turned around and . . .
there was this guy, just landing on the pond.
Resurrection is good but exhausting.
Grave clothes are sticky.
Be back for Monday –
There is no post today because:
1. Monday was a snow day and it was too cold to get the kids outside. Coming off the weekend and a string of cold days, they were quite a bit stir crazy. My only creative thoughts on Monday were about how to put together a dogsled team to pull a sled made for one, what to pack and whether it would be better to arrive somewhere or to fall nobly off the sled into the soft drifting snow while the dogs pulled on. I might have opted for this last except I worried the visiting shitzu would notice and come back to me. I would awake not to the pearly gates but to the eager tongue of the animal dropping connoisseur on my face.
2. Tuesday was full of commitments.
3. Two people I know are suffering under the ravages of an unkind disease. Sometimes death is beautiful and people write books and poems about it. Other times loving people and their families means there isn’t very much to say.
Creación de Adán by Michelangelo
Recently, a radio program caught my attention. CBC was interviewing, George Monbiot, about “the age of loneliness.” Mobiot worried that our competitive culture is driving us apart. He argued that we’re designed to be deeply social and that loneliness is dangerous.
“It’s true,” said Girl one as I turned off the ignition. “We really are living in the age of loneliness.” And off we went to wherever it was we were going.
Having heard the first part of the interview, I found myself turning to my own thoughts about loneliness. Not as much around how much we compete with each other as much as how much we ignore each other. I hesitate to discuss my significant and deep concerns about social media, smart phones. I worry about sounding like someone who makes you want to change the channel. But all those virtual “friends,” aren’t helping. We’re getting too distracted to listen. Or think about what we’re doing.
I am profoundly troubled by parents unable to put aside internet access to focus on their children, by children and adults more taken with the world you can see than the world you can touch. We fail to recognize real people because we cannot separate ourselves from technology that preys on our insecurities, feeds our addictions, and lulls us into levels of shallowness and disconnection that would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago.
Surely the rising levels of speech impairment in children bear a connection to an adult world too otherwise absorbed to stop, make eye contact, and speak to them. In full sentences. One after another. Without interruption. Watching a father with his daughters grunt pleasantly from his phone I wondered if even the angle of his head tilted toward the phone was resulting in a distorted view of his lips moving to make the few distracted words available for observation.
An older friend has a basket by her front door. Not unlike the guns of the wild west, grandchildren are required to leave their phones at the door. It took extra courage, she said, to require the same of her son-in-law. But what is the point, she asked, of coming to visit me if you can’t just talk to me?
In October, Monbiot published an article in The Guardian about the ravages of loneliness. If disconnection is a matter of life and death, why are we disconnecting? Addictive behaviors aside, what are we medicating for? If loneliness kills, why are we running away from each other? Why are the imperfections of strangers easier to bear than the habits of the person next to us?
If we could prove that the world was dying of loneliness and we were given the strength for one courageous act to benefit humanity, perhaps it should be to look at the person beside us, smile, and not look away. If we survive this, we might try again. And again, until we know each other. Someday then we might wake up to find ourselves embraced in all our failures by equally imperfect people. We’ll realize that we’re not alone, we never were, we just got a little mixed up for a while.
Boy with Mid-Morning Snack, by Albert Anker. 1897.
Due to snow and freezing rain, a tractor that wouldn’t start and a very long driveway to be shoveled . . . due to children in need of some last hurrahs before returning to school and my own craving for rest, today’s post will appear sometime before noon instead of the usual early morning.