Monday, March 29, 2010

Different bubbles, same hot tub...

Lately it's been the differences that stand out.

With the weather changing, the warm short-sleeved days vs. the frost-on-the-windshield sweatshirt days.

It's the differences in the personalities and ages of our girls.

Mornings, it's the physicality of a running or gym morning vs. the mind-heart connection of a kicked-back, cross-legged writing morning.

As a morning run moves on it's the pace and grace of the fast bastard Rise Up Runners vs. the slug-it-out strides of the rest of us.

On the palette it's the hoppiness of an IPA vs. the ease of a pilsner.

For evening TV entertainment it's the differences between True Blood and Twilight.

With baseball season primed to play ball it's the hopefuls vs. try-again-next year's.

Daylight Savings has highlighted the light vs. dark mornings.

As evidenced all over the media and Facebook posts and beyond, it's the reaction to the health care bill and those who think health care is a free market commodity and those who think it should be a public service like education.

It's hacking off branches and at the same time watching new growth sprout--the difference between green and brown on the landscape.

Morning coffee or grown-up time in the evening, it's the ways in which Robin and I approach things differently.

And what I think is that difference is a gift. That fall and spring are two times each year when, for various reasons and in various ways, those differences take center stage.

I think I do well when I recognize differences and smile at them. I think some of my best days are a celebration of both existential and surface diversity. Especially, and soaking in the hot tub of paradox, in that it's through these seeming differences that the similarities and commonalities come again to the surface and speak their truths of how they all stream together--different bubbles from the same jets, spinning in circles of the same water. How's that for a Monday morning metaphor? ;)

A gift this morning, the next two pages of my notebook, which Anna had borrowed to draw in on random pages some time ago in the backseat while we were driving.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Prayer, Listening in the Spring

Merwin gives me hope. When I feel like I've wasted too much time. I've started too late. I haven't done enough. I should have committed earlier.

W.S. Merwin was born in 1927. He won his second Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for a book published in 2008. I'm not a big math guy, but that's something like 81 years. And prizes aren't everything, but that book, "The Shadow of Sirius," is one of the best I've experienced ("read" isn't a strong enough word).

I'm not halfway to 80. I'm not grandiose or vain enough to aspire to be a Merwin, but he gives me hope that I've got my best stuff ahead of me. He gives me hope for exploring self and world and the big questions and observations over the long haul. I read his "Migration: New & Selected Poems" like a landmark standing on the rocky trail on the uncharted search for the soul. So I wake up and it's spring now, and I am listening.

It's spring and that means the birds sing in the morning dark, awake and chatting while people sleep. And I am listening.

It's spring and the warm weather and light air lighten my legs running at sunrise. And I am listening.

It's spring and the girls ride their bikes around the neighborhood, wide eyed and windy smiled. And I am listening.

It's spring and our five-year-old, our youngest daughter sleeps sideways across the bed, stretched and she's skinny and longer than she has ever been, no longer a baby. And I am listening.

It's spring and my shoulders and calves lengthen, elongated, smiling through Downward Facing Dog, different than they were yesterday. And I am listening.

It's spring and Robin and I are coming on 15 years spent together, 15 out of not quite 38, and I think of the things we have done and seen and been, together, and what we have yet to do, or see or be, together. And I am listening.

It's spring and my hands are in the dirt again and the sun is warm on my skin and the gardens that we can never sustain or keep up with are full of possibility, waiting to see if this is their year. And I am listening.

It's spring and I think about Mother Teresa's commentary on prayer, that she and God both sit, saying nothing to each other, just listening. And I am listening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tastes Great... Less Filling

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Twain were both hip enough--forward thinking into our ADHD-ish society to write really big books with very few pages. They got across what they wanted to say and cut out the crap. Fitzgerald also created his own koan for people to spin their brains on, which is one of my favorites:

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

Dude, light is a wave and a particle. Miller Lite tastes great and is less filling. The kind of thinking that Taoism, quantum physics and relativity, and Zen Buddhism have been laying on us for eons.

In my mind, there is nothing cooler than watching your child's imagination get kicking into high gear. It can leave me giddy and in awe. We took our girls to see Tim Burton's version of "Alice in Wonderland" yesterday and our 8-year-old, Anna, and I traded observations back and forth and had each other busting up. It's been 17-ish years since I read Lewis Carroll (though I may be picking him back up soon), but a quote that figured heavily in the movie is one that we'd all be well served to have written above the door going out our bedrooms in the morning:

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

If your kids hold on to that, they can be world changers. But we don't have to write ourselves off either. I think grown ups have as much, if not more to gain from applying that thinking on a regular basis, when practicality says not to waste your time. Sometimes, it's best to bend practicality over and kick it square in the arse.

And that's my thought for a Daylight Savings dark Monday morning, half-way through a cup of coffee.