Two “children” were able to join us for the holidays, son and youngest daughter. Gratitude fills my heart for them, my eldest daughter, my two granddaughters, and my husband.
Archive for the ‘Children’ Category
What does nature compel you to do?
My father was compelled to chase butterflies, moths, and other insects. As a child, I saw him in the yard, hunting them down with his white net on a pole. I watched them die in his poison jar, fluttering their wings for the last time. I saw them arranged and labeled, a pin through each tiny body, and peered into their display cases at the university where he taught biological sciences.
I am compelled to create winged clothing, garments of leaves, crowns of berries and thorns, a temple of the cosmos, stories to tell, plantings of herbs, and gatherings of people. Some people are compelled to write poetry.
The Enigma We Answer by Living
Einstein didn’t speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.
I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?
This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,
who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he’d collected in the Grand Canyon –
one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,
tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down
he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.
And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,
though he knows it will all disappear –
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,
that it’s wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we’d sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging
from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet
that’s made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.
(from the book Genius Loci)
Earth, air, fire and water today. Watching the little fishies, the granddaughters, splashing, swimming, playing, immersing themselves in coolness and fun. Soaking it in – the sky with wind-blown clouds, the sandy shore, the strong summer sun, and precious water. We are made of cycling earth, air, fire, water, constantly renewed. No wonder beach play feels so good!
The granddaughters have arrived. The “baby” (age 2) went to bed, but her big sister (age 5) was too excited to sleep. She and I put together some puzzles (remember those Laurie puzzles? made of bright-colored crepe rubber?), then she had a snack. During her snack she told me that she had a Buddha at home. I asked if she knew who the Buddha was, and when she said “no,” I launched into the tale of the prince who left his riches, discovered human suffering, and sat under a tree until he “awakened,” and taught others the eightfold path. Only afterward did I stop and think, Wow, I just had a conversation with a five-year old about suffering and awakening.
It’s going to be an interesting visit with these amazing little girls. (OK, so I sound like a doting grandma…..)
Grandparenting is indeed grand. To be able to share family traditions, form unique bonds, and experience the daily growth and boundless energy of little people is a profound reminder of the depth and wonder of this Third Age. I will be forced to take it slow for this visit because of my ankle injuries, so this visit may be less boisterous than usual.
Because I was suffering from a serious case of cabin fever, this afternoon Ankle and I bravely (and gingerly) stepped out to attend brother-in-law Cliff’s retirement party. It was exactly what I needed to regain my perspective, bask in the love and companionship of family, and savor my watermelon dipped in my cup of wine. Yum.
Being with fun, kind, musical, playful, laughing, thoughtful and intelligent adults and children reminded me of the goodness in the world. What a blessing!
Now I’m rejuvenated, ready for the week ahead.
Today we will be attending a family Passover Seder, even though it’s not quite Passover. This family gathering is a large one, about fifty people, so scheduling can be tricky. At the home of a cousin, all ages will gather, from infants to great-grandparents, for a beautiful and joyous ritual meal remembering the Exodus; the themes of deliverance, humility, gratitude, liberation, and freedom; always a political dimension, usually expounded upon by one of the uncles; delicious food; much love. And a place for Elijah.
The children play a major part, reading from the Haggadah, and singing songs. Children are very important on this holiday: “l’dor va-dor,” “from generation to generation.”
All the items on the ritual dinner plate have meanings associated with the holiday. The one most people are familiar with is the matzah, the unleavened bread. And there is much lifting of the cup of wine. The home becomes a sanctuary, a place for expressing gratitude, love, and celebration.