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On the Sometimes Overwhelming Burden of Beauty

30 October 2014

“Everyday I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.” ~ Claude Monet

Photo Cred: Lee Scott

Photo Cred: Lee Scott

My grandparents have a subscription to National Geographic, and there are usually a few of the latest issues on a couple of end tables in their house. Sometime between Christmas and the dawn of 2014, I laid on the couch in their living room and read an article about a man who spent seven years walking – tracing our best guess of the path that mankind forged from Eden (not that he uses that name) through South America.

And then I put my coat on and went for a walk. (Not south, at least not intentionally.) Because sometimes the world is an oppressively big place.

We can look at all the similarities and mutual acquaintances and social media you like and sing songs about what a small world it is and appreciate that sentiment, but then you have to come back around to reality and admit that the world isn’t small at all. Not really.

It took one man seven years to walk around it, and he still only saw a fraction of it. There are pieces – big pieces – that no one has seen.

Husband came after me pretty quickly because it’s not like me to seek solitude, or to willfully submit myself to cold. He asked what was up, and I struggled then to put into words what I have struggled to put into words for as long as I can remember.  Read more…

That One Time I Was a Rockstar Mommy

23 October 2014
Photo Credit: Jan Tik

Photo Credit: Jan Tik

I have to tell you this story, because I know I will pay dearly for it, and I just have to play it as many times as I can before then.

Husband left his phone at my mom’s house after a Sunday dinner. I arranged to meet my brother to get it back the following afternoon. It was a rainy day. There is a Chick-Fil-A conveniently located pretty much exactly half-way. We could meet, sit and chat over junk food, and the Man Cub could climb around and get out of the house for a bit.

We ordered chicken and waffle fries and found a small table right next to the plexiglass boundary of the play area. Man Cub, of course, wanted nothing to do with waffle fries once he saw the slide – for which I am grateful – so, as there were no other kids in there anyway, I stripped him of his shoes and released him while we sat and ate and watched from just outside the wall.

A short time later a young father and his son – maybe a year older than Man Cub – pulled open the door of the play area and stored tiny sneakers in a tiny cubby. Little Boy took off for the big stairs, and Young Father sat down on the bench inside the play area with his smartphone.

Boys played, Young Father occasionally got up to spin a mirror or push a button, my brother and I ate and talked and watched.

Eventually, during a lull in our own conversation, my brother looked up and casually commented, “Ooop. Throwing punches.”  Read more…

After the Storm Comes Puddles

20 October 2014

Robots

The sentiment wants to go immediately to rainbows.

There’s always a rainbow after the rain.

It’s a nice thought. Because rainbows are kind of a universal symbol of hope and beauty – maybe even mystery and/or divinity – so it’s comforting to be able to sit in the middle of a storm and look forward to the beauty that will come of it.

And when it does come, it’s stunning. We sit and we marvel at a ribbon of color suspended in the sky. We comment on the vibrancy of the tones, the length of its arc. We remember grade school science experiments with prisms in shoeboxes, and we admit – if only to ourselves – that even though we know how we’re still fascinated by the mystery of the why.

But the truth is, there isn’t always a rainbow after the rain. In fact, rainbows are kind of the exception. I don’t expect to see a rainbow after every rain. I don’t look for it. I don’t get confused when I don’t see one. When we do see them, we point and we pull out our smartphones and we make sure everyone else sees, because it’s not normal.

There isn’t always a rainbow after the rain.

Sometimes storms end and the sky is still dark. Sometimes the clouds don’t move on right away. Other times the sun does break through, and you’re just not in the right place to catch the light refracting through the moisture in the sky: there’s a rainbow for someone else, but not for you.

After a few storms come and go with no rainbow, you start to realize that the platitudes aren’t true. There isn’t always beauty stretched above us after every storm. Light does not always break in right away and do magical things to help us forget the gray.

There isn’t always a rainbow, but there are always puddles.

And if my son has taught me anything, it’s that puddles are freaking awesome.  Read more…

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