Friday, May 28, 2010

Thirteen Moons

Last night the moon was gold. It is known as the Full Flower Moon. Did you see it? It has been thirteen moons since I shared my love of them, remember? I quoted Rilke in that post; how I love to read Rilke. I thought of him earlier in the evening at a party while watching my children splash and play with friends in the pool. The night was warm but not uncomfortable and the company was full of laughter and good cheer. The cicadas sent out their last shrill chirps of the night as twilight stole the heat from dried sap branches of towering pine and elm. A child asked what the noise was. They all stopped eating their chocolate cake and turned wet heads and pale shivering shoulders to the trees and listened.

"A shrieking bird," the know it all exclaimed. They all nodded; satisfied she always has the answer. But then a smaller voice spoke up, the smallest in the group, and it protested.

My son said, "No, it is a cicada and he is singing a love song."

"Ugh! That's a terrible song!"

"Not if you're a girl cicada."

I hope your summer is full of laughter, friends, and terrible love songs.
Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking
into the heart of the night.
Rainer Marie Rilke

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Discovery and Reflection

It all began with a discovery; a moment of, "Look! See what I found? A friend to keep for my own." And we delighted in the discovery, in the tickling sensations and tiny tidal movements that to small uncalloused hands feel like hope and promise. But we also had to learn that some creatures are not meant to be ours, no matter how much we want them to be. We had to learn to let go. We had to learn the most contradictory of terms in one act; reason and faith.

"The caterpillar will transform into a butterfly," observes the astute six year old.

"But I don't want it to be a transformer," argued the four year old, "it's not a robot! You are wrong!"

During the escalating argument between reason and faith the caterpillar was forgotten. The dramatic gestures and shaking fists of certainty forced us back to the point of discovery; the poor thing held on as long as it could through the storm it had unwittingly caused, but lost its grip. The caterpillar, the source of such heights of wonder and passion, began to free fall towards the pavement. I caught it with inches to spare and we all let out a gasp. The same gasp we all let out when we discovered the bug.

While my children cheered that I saved the caterpillar, they also realized that nothing had changed yet everything had changed. The caterpillar was still destined to be reborn and we were still left to deal with struggling to understand how that could be and how we could accept such a seeming impossibility with the tools, reason and faith, that caused us to lose sight of what mattered in the first place.

Einstein said the process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder. Yes, I agree, and that process journeys us in perpetual circles. If we are not too dizzy we can reflect on the situation. When we keep our hearts open and our minds free, sometimes when we are lucky, we see ourselves reflected back in the eyes of the discovery. And the wonder begins anew.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Works In Progress

I meant to post this a few days ago but life, well, you know how that goes. We are deep into soccer play-offs, end of year programs, last minute reminders, and little calendar squares that are too small to fit in each day's notes. Plus everything seems to be shifting a bit, like suddenly the universe has begun to list to one side sending us all scrambling to make sense of things. Even my knitting is being affected. It waits patiently for me to come around again; a woolly little Sancho Panza bearing my flag as I tilt at yet another windmill in my path. Ah! But do not worry, unlike Quixote, I have hope. The projects I have begun will eventually be the complete and in them I will find great comfort. I'll just have to wait until the heat passes. Summer? On behalf of all the southern knitters out there, please be short. Thanks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Three Truths of Four

1) When you are four, the most prized independent milestone is being allowed to make your own snack. Insist you can do it "all by myself".

2) Joy is vigorously playing in nothing but socks in the backyard for at least a quarter hour before your mother discovers your underpants hanging on the doorknob and freaks out. She demands you put on your manties which seriously infringes on your belief in personal freedom.

3) Comment loudly (over the rude shushing noises all the adults are suddenly making) about how unbelievably bald/fat/old your neighbor is while he weeds his lawn ten feet away. You're supposed to be observant, right? I mean, you have spent four years answering questions like "what does a cow say?" to applause and accolades. Why censor your brilliance now?

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Median to Deep Thoughts

There exists in each of us a capacity, a cistern deep and dormant, where the excesses are stored. The droplets of doubt, the rivers of resistance, the floods of unspoken truths, ebb and flow in silent tides here. This is the place we go only when we have to; when we search for an answer no other can give even if they are why we ask. The answers are there within us, we all know this, but the questions are what interest me now.

Why is it I prefer black and white photos yet rarely create them myself? Why is it the color turquoise makes me sad and joyful simultaneously? Why do I dream so vividly I wake up and can't go back to sleep for hours? Why do the strawberries in the stores look like they've been mugged and left for dead this season? Why am I surprised each May by the inane amount of special activities to celebrate the end of the school year? And, most importantly, why can't I find a sundress that doesn't make me look like I cut three holes in an old pillow case and called it a day?

While I ponder these deep thoughts, why don't you go check on what the uber-cute Jenny has made for her spring/summer Wikstenmade line. More power to the female indie designers (and she knits, too!).