Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jacob the Mouse by Grandma Tu-Tu




Jacob the mouse lives in Maggie’s house. He eats apples. He finds bits of apple behind the couch where Maggie drops them. Maggie doesn't know that Jacob lives there. She doesn't know what happens with the bits of apple that fall under the couch. She thinks that a fairy magically makes those apple bits disappear, but it is Jacob.     
  

When everything is dark and quiet, Jacob comes out from under the stove. He has made a warm nest out of newspaper bits, and lint from the clothes dryer.


When the moon is bright, you can see Jacob in the kitchen. You can see his whiskers start to twitch. It looks like his nose is wiggling as fast as a bowl of jelly when he sniffs.

        Jacob moved into Maggie’s house from the woods outside.


His Mommy and Daddy live in the cedar trees.
            One day, a little girl with sparkly eyes and blond hair, wearing a bright yellow dress skipped past him. 


              She was singing a happy song that she made up: _
I am so happy to be here,
I am so happy to be going to gymnastics,
I love my Mommy,
I love my Daddy,
I love my Brother Jackson,
I Love my Grandma and Grandpa,                        
And I love my Grandma Tu-Tu too. 
          And on she went, skipping and singing.Jacob saw her, and knew that he could live in her house, that he would be happy too. Jacob called her “SUNSHINE GIRL”


One day when the patio door was open, Jacob sneaked out. He ran to the brook. He was looking for nuts that his friend, Petey the squirrel, had dropped. He was very busy.


Suddenly he heard a noise. His nose started to wiggle, his whiskers started to jiggle, he was sniffing the air. What was Jacob hearing? His busy nose turned this way and that and soon he smelled something, something furry.
He turned around and saw Spiro, the cat behind the big rock.


Jacob dropped his hazelnuts and scurried down to the brook. “I see some branches across the brook. I can get across the brook on those branches and I will be safe from Spiro.” thought Jacob.


Jacob saw the branches getting closer as he ran with all his little heart. He jumped on to a branch and ran halfway across the brook. He stopped, and turned around.
“Where is Spiro now? Am I safe yet?” he thought.

Spiro jumped straight up into the air, and came straight down. He walked to the edge of the brook and sniffed the water.       
        He then turned and walked away, head held high, flicking the end of his long black tail. Jacob could hear him softly yowling:
        “I lost my dinner!”

       



Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Rights of Spring




THE RIGHTS OF SPRING

          The woman was sitting on the end of the breakwater, looking out over the water.  Suzie saw her as she was walking up the beach, and walking closer, she heard her sniffle.
          “Hi, are you here to watch the sunset?” Suzie called.
          “I am here to celebrate,” she replied. “I am celebrating the end. I am at the end of the road, on the end of these rocks, at the end of my rope, and tonight will be the end of the darkness.”
          “Well, at the end of the sunset, on very special days like today, if you’re really lucky, you can see a green flash. Just take off your sunglasses and at the very last second, watch the place where the sun disappears. Maybe you will be lucky here at the end of the day” Suzie offered with a smile. “Do you know that tonight is a very special night? It is the equinox, and the full moon will rise just after sunset; it is supposed to be the largest full moon in a long time. People are even worried about earthquakes and stuff. I bet the tides will be really honking."
          “Oh, I guess that it’s the end of winter, too” said the woman.
          “Sure is.” said Suzie, “I’m Suzie, what’s your name?”
          “I’m Emily” the woman said. 
          As Suzie resumed her walk up the beach, she called, “See you later, Emily.”
          “Uh, okay.” said Emily.
          Emily took out her cell phone, opened it up and began to text: ­_
“End of road, on the rocks, end of darkness, going swimming :(”
          She wasn’t ready to admit what she was thinking, that it was a swim to the end, just going with the flow, allowing the tide to sweep her to the horizon, where she might burn up in the setting sun. She closed the phone and threw it, watching it arc over the water, and splash into the deep blue surrounding her.
          She crabbed her way across the rocks. She had been more nimble when she was younger. Living in the city and working in that toxic environment had worn her down. Now she needed to use her hands to help navigate the jagged stones to the edge, and gently slip into the water.
          The ocean enveloped her, swallowed her whole, supported her aching body, and welcomed her. She felt like she was swimming in a mirror; there was not a ripple on the water, the sky was a clear blue, with some rolling clouds scattered around. As the sun was lowering toward the horizon, Emily rolled onto her back, and gently swam out beyond the rocks.
          “I feel like a walrus,” she thought,” so fat and ugly I’m ready for the end. Maybe I’ll come back as a walrus. No one cares how fat they are. They never complain about the cold. In the pictures, they are always kind of piled on top of each other, like they are snuggling. Then I wouldn’t have to be shy about asking for hugs; lots of touch. But, those male walruses are so huge; sometimes they squash the females when they mate. Yech, I guess I would want to be a male walrus. Do they have mustaches?”
          She could feel the pull of the current, towing her toward the open seas. She relaxed as she allowed herself to be washed away from the shore and toward freedom. She let the warm salt water bathe away the anxiety she had worn like a shroud, depriving her spirit of life.
          The frigate birds circled overhead; graceful soaring high in the sky.
          “Maybe I’ll come back as a bird; flying so beautifully in the sky. I would ride the wind, and soar in the breezes, and when someone pissed me off, I could just swoop down and drop wet revenge right on them.” She laughed to herself.  A smile lit her face. It was the first smile that she could remember for a long time, and it felt really good.
          She tried to remember what that cheery girl had told her, something special about just before the sun goes down; something about some kind of flash. She turned her face toward the setting sun, and gazed as the orange and yellow ball gently slipped lower in the sky. She watched the head boats go back and forth, blocking the view sometimes, adding picturesque silhouettes others. Even from the surface of the water, she had a good view.
          Then it happened. From her place in the water, just as the sun disappeared, the arc of the sky lit up with the brightest flash of emerald green. Emily could not believe her eyes, green, the color of life, the color of spring, the color of harmony and balance. 
          She looked overhead, the birds were flying to shore to roost. She noticed with surprise that she was being washed back to shore. The tide was slack, no longer pulling her out to sea. The gentle action of the waves was washing her closer to shore with each surge. She relaxed. She still felt the smile on her face.
          “Well, I guess that I may have another chance to see that green flash.” She swam toward the beach.
          As she gazed around, she saw the moon rise, due east, on the opposite horizon, all orange and looking so warm and reassuring. It was huge, like an enormous ball of fire lifting out of the ocean.
          There was someone on the shore with a flashlight calling to her. “Come back. Swim here. The waves will bring you in.” It was Suzie.
          Emily smiled as she swam toward the shore. The beauty of the green flash and the pumpkin sized moon were in her mind. Her thoughts were filled with the presence of nature, and how nature is so awe inspiring.
          She stood and walked out on to the warm sand. Suzie was there; she ran over and gave Emily a hug, “Wasn’t that incredible!” Suzie said, “The sun setting with that brilliant green flash, and the moon rising so huge out of the ocean! I went down along the sea wall to watch it; I love to be alone at these transcendent moments. I saw you go swimming, and thought that maybe you felt the same. Let’s go celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring, ok?”
          Emily paused, and looked at the girl; she looked at her in her eyes. She could see joy and acceptance in Suzie’s eyes. Emily had planned to never return to land again. She embraced Suzie, and walked with her to the change house.

        
            “Let’s walk.” Suzie called into the change house.
         “Sure” said Emily emerging from the change house, rinsed and combed, still with wonder shining from her eyes. “Where are we going?”
          “Have you eaten, I’m hungry. Let’s go get some food”         
          The two women linked arms and walked back towards the city, through the fancy neighborhoods, past the luxury hotels, along the promenade full of vendors packing up their wares after the sunset ceremony, and up to an outdoor bar by a brick building.
          “This will do fine” said Suzie “We’re having Cuban.”
          “Well, I saw the green flash for the first time tonight, so I guess that I will eat Cuban for the first time tonight, too.” said Emily.
          They sat at the bar, and picked up menus. Emily looked perplexed as she surveyed the menu. “What’s this? I don’t recognize anything. Suzie, would you order, please?” she said.
          When the server arrived Suzie said with authority, “We’ll have two Mojitos, two waters and we’ll split the Completa la Tremenda.”
          Emily had no idea what was being ordered. She sat and looked around. Suzie seemed to know many of the people, and introduced Emily to several. Emily didn’t pay attention; she was immersed in the atmosphere.
          Dusk brought a bright moon in the east and two bright stars just over the horizon in the west. A hub-bub of busy people were rushing around, taking orders and delivering food; and there was a band by the bar. It looked like the band was just going on break. “I wonder how their music sounds.” Emily thought.
          The Mojitos arrived. Emily looked at Suzie. Emily raised her eyebrows.
“What’s this?” she asked. “Try it.” Suzie suggested.
          Take a sniff. Pull the straw out and place a drop on the tongue. Take a little sip. “Wow! This is as amazing! It tastes like someone took that green flash and put it right into this glass. What is it?” asked Emily.
          “You got it right! Rum, mint, lime, sugar and green flash in a glass; watch out for these, it’s a Mojito, it’s too easy to drink too many”
          Emily sat back with her drink and watched the people milling about. Tourists wearing Key West t-shirts, with red solo cups in their hands walking past, gawking at the people already seated at the bar and tables, ogling what they were eating and drinking, yanking their hungry children toward the familiar chain restaurants from home.
          At the tables there were families. Families of all ages, parents, kids, grandparents, all laughing, all dressed for a fancy dinner out. Emily could hear the Spanish voices rising above the noise, calling to friends across the courtyard. “Ola, Como estas?” “Muy bien.” She listened to the cadence of the language, submerging herself in its rhythm.
          She was startled back to the present by the arrival of the food. One platter heaped with the most delicious smelling food, and two small plates. Suzie divided the food, and they each dug in. Emily had not eaten at all that day, thinking that being low on energy; she might succumb to the waves sooner. She devoured the food, yet taking time to allow the food to linger in her mouth and tickle her taste buds, introducing her to the exotic flavors of the wonderful island of Cuba.
          She pushed back from the bar, and looked at Suzie. Then she looked at the empty plates, the families gathered at the tables and the last aura of sunset with the stars twinkling on the horizon. “What next” she asked.
          The band took their places; the instruments were warmed up and the people at the tables smiled at each other, sharing a common secret. The first strains came from the band; Aha, Salsa, that wonderful Latin beat.
          Hand in hand the first dancers headed to the dance floor, they were all ages; young, old, children with their grand parents, couples in love.  The beat was strong, fast and exciting. The dancers knew what to do.  It looked like some had been dancing like this for ever. The joy radiated on their faces, as the ladies twirled and the couples swirled.
          Soon the first song was over. The guitarist stepped to the microphone and started to sing a song in Spanish. Emily looked to Suzie, “Wondrous isn’t it?” Suzie said.
          They sat in silence, listening to the rhythms. Their bodies started to move to the music; the smiles crept across their faces as they reveled in the music. Suzie stood and started dancing on the spot. Moving away from the table, she motioned for Emily to join her. “Let’s dance!”


          The time disappeared, Suzie and Emily danced with joy to the sounds reverberating in that alley way. Then it was over. The band was putting away their instruments. The crowd was happy and sweaty. Emily and Suzie walked toward the dock and sat on the sea wall.
          Looking out over the sea, Latin music swirling in their heads, they just sat for a while.   Emily broke the silence, “Look at that sky! Those bright stars are just about to set, and that moon is making it as bright as day here. This is an amazing place.”
          “Yes, it is,” said Suzie. “It is a wonderful place to live, with all the beauty and the friends that you develop. If you are not among the super rich, it can be a challenging place to live.”
          “How so?” asked Emily.
          “Goods and services and very costly, especially the rents; and there are not many good jobs out there. Not enough to keep up with the Joneses, anyway. I do OK working on the water: it takes all I have to make it through slow season, though.”
          “So how do you make do?” asked Emily.
          “I can tell you in three words, simplify, simplify, simplify. You just get used to doing with less.”
          A mega yacht motored past, blocking the view of the western sky. They watched it go, throwing up a big wake, with bright lights and loud music blaring from the aft deck.
          Emily returned to the conversation, “Do we define ourselves through our stuff, our attachments, or do they define us? I have a job, a jaguar, a joyous attitude?”
          “The acquisition of things is more joyful than the having of those same things. When we want something, strategy and intrigue can be involved planning the next step in the process, acquiring the desired goal. Once acquired, your sights move on to the next goal. The goal just reached can be put on a shelf, taken down from time to time, and admired, then returned to the shelf. All your eyes and attractions are focused on the next acquisition.”
          “When I gain familiarity with items I possess, I form attachments to them through time. Then I have items from the past, which no longer serve any use in life, and I hold on to them simply because I am attached to them.”
          “Yes”, said Suzie, “Releasing those things to creates space on the shelf for the new; space for the breeze to blow through, space that is more easily kept free from stagnation and cob webs.”
          “So, the Stuff of attachment is binding your spirit, keeping it stuck in a time when this item was a revered, sought after item. Thinking when the eyes lie again on the item, the heart can feel the joy of the beauty and the possession. But, the beauty can still be appreciated without the possession. We need not attach to appreciate.”
          “Why do we attach to one another?” asked Emily.  
          “Families do more easily with 2 role models, two adults nurturing. With family, there is attachment. Sometimes this is fostered through deep and profound friendship. That attachment is an ever evolving shared thing of beauty, not a possession, kept free of stagnation by the freshness of shared direction.”    
           
         
          Suzie led Emily from the dock through the  streets of the city, up alley ways, past open air bars, past the barkers trying to get you to go upstairs, and others offering the ladies free drinks. There were shops with naughty t-shirts, stylish shoes, key lime pies, hand made soaps, crystals and rocks, and a plethora of art galleries with everything from famous original paintings, to copies of posters. There was noise everywhere; there were six foot women in stiletto heels and fake eyelashes. Suzie noticed well defined muscles, and large Adam’s apples; she didn’t give it a second thought.
          The street seemed to take a sigh as you approached Truman Avenue. The barkers were gone, the loud music was down the street, and the galleries were less garish. As they strolled they could smell the delicious aromas of other people’s dinners wafting out of the restaurants, they could hear the lively conversations bursting out of the wine bars, and they could hear the Irish music dancing from the patio.
          They walked up to an old white house with an out door bar adjoined to it.          
 “Here we are.” said Suzie, and in the front door she walked. She turned left into the reception area while Emily looked around. The front room was an interesting bar, with a small stage. The people seated around the bar, all busy in their intense conversations, hardly took notice of the two women. Emily came out and led Suzie up the stairs. The man at the door greeted her warmly with a kiss, and said that they would have to sit in the back, since they were almost sold out. He led them to their seats.
          The lights went out, the music started, the spot light came on and Marilyn Monroe took the stage. She talked and joked and sang, she came down off the stage and teased the man in the corner table, then, with the spin of a wig, she was gone, and Carol Channing appeared.
          The entertainment was excellent. Emily and Suzie laughed whole heartedly, until tears rolled from their eyes. The crowd, each, looked around, making eye contact, sharing a secret, they were laughing tonight; this man dressed as a woman was a scream! He changed from Lucille Ball to Cher right there on stage while he told his story. Every persona was spot on. Even though they may return to their homes in Middle America, and never tell a single soul about this event, they are sharing the fun tonight. Yet, when an acquaintance back home tells them that they are going to Key West, these folks will say, “Go to the drag show at LaTeDa!”
          The show ended. Christopher came to the back of the club and signed autographs. Emily and Suzie waited until the crowd was almost gone to step up, “That was the most amazing show that I have ever seen. Thank you so very much” said Emily, and she gave him a big kiss on the cheek. 


          “You know,” said Emily, “when Ben Franklin said ‘There are only two things certain in this life, death and taxes.’ he missed something.”
          “What’s that?” asked Emily.
          “Dishes, there’s always dishes. Can’t you just see it, even before there were taxes; someone was washing the dishes, or at least the stones or leaves that they used for dishes.”
          “You have a weird sense of humor, Emily. You’re going to fit right in!”
          ” Key West is a third white, a third black a third Hispanic and third mixed race, and third pirates, and third rich, third homeless, a third gay, a third straight, a third captains and the rest don’t care.”
          “Tell me more” said Emily.
          “You’ll see a phantasmagoria of unique people here. Each one has allowed themselves to be who they really are, and love themselves. They have come here from all over the world. For many it is the end of the road. They never fit in their home towns, and drove to the end and stopped. There are so many people that came here just like that that each and every one of them finds a community where they feel accepted. They feel like they have permission to be who they want to be. ”
          “I don’t understand.” said Emily, “Why does anyone; do I need permission? From whom would I receive this permission? Who is judging me? I am the only person with enough depth of awareness qualified to judge me?”
          “That’s right, and that being the case, then only you can judge you, and only you can determine if you have permission.” said Suzie. “What is acceptable to you is different from what is acceptable to everyone else.”
          Emily thought for a moment, and said “So then boundaries must be assessed. How are boundaries determined? Do I take the boundaries that my parents put on me as a growing child or do I take the boundaries put on me by the government, or those of my school, those of my community, or those that I put on others? Which boundaries do I use to determine permission?”
          Suzie smiled, “As we grow we continue to push against boundaries until they snap, and move to a place with more allowance. This gives permission to live in a space which is more accepting, with more allowances. As an adult, where we can choose the boundaries that we put on ourselves, we determine our boundaries and permissions - permissions to let ourselves do and say actions and words the others do or do not condone.”
          “Is that permission determined in the heart, the mind, or the soul? Do we read some outside reference and say ‘Yes. I will allow myself to do this and that as determined by these principles?’” Emily pondered. “There are so many ways to determine those guidelines, from joining a cult, to allowing yourself to stumble off the beaten path, and live in the under belly of society.”
          Emily and Suzie were walking back up Duval Street arm in arm like best friends. “Things are pretty quiet on the street until we get back to the 800 block. There the ‘Ladies’ are half tanked and eager to get you into their bar.” said Suzie. “The drag shows there are pretty good there too.” As they passed the 800 block, Emily had another look at the ladies, and looked back at Suzie with a puzzled look on her face.  Suzie smiled and nodded, and Emily laughed at her naivety earlier. 

         
          Emily heard the music, there was a Bull sticking through the wall, the barker gave her a two for one card as they entered the side door, and up the stairs they went, and up again to the roof. As she walked out on to the roof, Emily’s jaw dropped open. Everyone there was in different stages of undress. The bartender was topless, there was a couple dancing who were wearing only their shoes, and there were a couple of women wearing only their thong. These people were every shape and size, from just barely legal to over the hill and sagging. No one was leering. They were enjoying the freedom that comes with feeling the breeze on your skin, and dancing in the moonlight.
          An older couple stepped out of the stairway. They looked around, walking to the edge of this roof top garden and looking over. Other people walked up to them, coaxing them to take off their clothes. He shook his head, “No way!” She looked amused at the idea. They both sat down on chaise longues that were there. She watched as the other patrons danced and urged her to take off her clothes and come dance with them.
          Determination set in her eyes. She stood up, took off all of her clothes, and danced around. After a few minutes she went back to her place and put all her clothes back on again, and sat down, with a satisfied look on her face.
          Emily and Suzie went over to the bar, chuckling to them selves. “What was that about” asked Emily.
          “I guess that she wanted to prove that she had nothing to prove.” said Suzie.
          Suzie introduced Emily to the bartender, Eve, a friend from when they both worked on one of the boats. Eve was very excited. She and her boy friend had just come up with a wonderful new business scheme.
          “Suzie, you gotta hear this new idea Jake and I had!” Eve began. “This year at Fantasy Fest we are going to set up a body painting booth.”
          “That isn’t a new idea” commented Suzie.
          “I know, I know, but listen. We’re going to use finger paints!” She laughed to herself, Emily looked from Eve to Emily and back to Eve, not sure what is happening; Suzie Smiled.
          “We get a booth of some kind, you know, a portable cabana, like the other guys do, we get a sign, ‘Free Body Painting for Chicks’ you know, like that.”
          She was interrupted by an order for some Bud Lights; Suzie tried to quickly tell Emily about Fantasy Fest, and the body painting, “It’s the week before Halloween, and this town goes crazy, and a whole bunch of people are only wearing paint.”
          Eve returned and continued her story, “So you get these hot babes to come to the booth, you know, FREE, then you tell them that we use finger paints and that we’re gonna auction off the privilege of being the painter to the dudes on the street, and that if she can lure in some guys, you know, attract a good crowd, that we’ll give her, like 25% of the take.”
          “Great, you mean some stranger is going to be rubbing finger paints on these chicks’ bodies?”
          “Yeah! You know, we’ll put some limits and boundaries in place, like only 30 seconds on each nipple, and no going closer than the thong, we haven’t worked that out yet. We might even negotiate with each babe what her boundaries would be, that could make it more or less expensive. I bet those drunks would pay hundreds to paint those babes tits. Even their own girlfriend’s tits, especially if they were exhibitionists and the booth had an open side. I guess with those guys you would need a time limit and a fire hose, huh?” Eve laughed, Suzie laughed, and Emily laughed.
          “This I’d like to see!” said Suzie, “It sure sounds like something that you and Jake could pull off; best of luck getting a permit for that!”   
          “Brain storming with Eve was fun, wasn’t it?” Emily said as they returned to the street. Suzie took Emily’s arm, and led her away from the now quiet street, and toward the stately homes of old town.
          “It sure was!”
          They walked in silence. Suzie guided her to the harbor where the stately schooners rocked gently at their slips. The light of the moon lit up the tall masts and the network of rigging; all in a row, it was difficult to figure out which vessel was which. “They are awesome.” Emily said, as she imagined what it would be like to sail away on a vessel like one of those.
          The bars were closing, and bus boys were taking the trash to the dumpsters, as Emily and Suzie were strolling through that wonderful old neighborhood.
          “I wonder if they’ll pull it off.” mused Emily.


           “Whoa! I’m cold. What’s this sand doing in my hair Where am I. What happened last night? It’s still night! Where am I? Stars? Yup. Moon? Where is the moon? I see it, way down there. Looks like its setting.  Boy, is it ever huge! OK! Where am I? What was I doing?”
          “Hey! Emily! Are you still here?” Emily heard Suzie call across the expanse of sand.        “Yeah, I’m here. Where are we?”
          “We walked to the beach. You looked sleepy, so I went for some coffee. You wanted to watch the surf. Have I been gone that long?”
          “I don’t know how long you have been gone, I have been dreaming of dancers getting rubbed with iridescent pearls, and turning into seahorses. What’s that about?”
          “Before I headed to the coffee shop, you said that you wanted to ride a seahorse. Here, have some con leche. “
          “Boy, this is some ride I have been going on tonight, from being on the rocks to being on the edge of heaven.” She looked out to sea, and saw the expanse of the sky, from horizon to horizon sparkling like time square on New Year’s. She saw the hugest moon about to disappear in the sky and the orange glow of the new day just below the horizon. “What a night this has been”
          “How do you feel” asked Suzie.
          “Fantastic; I feel joyful. To feel joy is fantastic!”
          “How does joy feel?”
          “Like lightness in the heart, like a bubble rising in your spirit, like a kiss from a grand child, like hearing; ‘Grandma you are the best!’ So many things feel like joy; gratitude and appreciation; love and touch, gentle touch.” Emily looked at her hands.         Suzie looked at her hands too, “We reach out from our solitary perch; ‘I am alive. I am here. Do you see me?’ We seek reflection. We know that the primary reflection is in the mirror. Look into the mirror, see something, anything, that you like; the color of your eyes, the shape of your ear, the curl in your hair. Look at it. Accept that this is a part of a whole, and that whole is the one, God. Know that this is all that there is, it is everything. Love that small thing. By loving that color or curl, you are starting to love and accept yourself, stand alone, a part of the one. Let that feeling grow – let it grow until you love some other part, then another, until the whole is encompassed. This can bring peace and joy. By allowing that love and acceptance to grow to adjacent aspects of your mirror image and continuing to see, recognize, allow and adore each part, the relationship to self will grow. You will soon love and accept more that that eye color, or curl. You will gradually learn to love and accept the whole, and therefore find joy in the self. From there you are ready to fly!”
          “And, what does that mean to you?” asked Suzie.
          “It means so much. It means that no one else cares what I do, or how I live my life. It means that I am loved and accepted no matter what my choices are. It means that I really don’t need any answers, no where near all of them. It means that if I ask the right question, there still may be only the answer that I imagine. It means that I am a part of it all, and that is.”
          She stopped, and looked out over the dark sky, with the growing glow of orange in the east, and the shrinking disc of that full moon in the west. “It means, that no matter what I do, that no matter what I choose, that I am a part of what is, and my choices are important, and it doesn’t matter what they are. Boy, talk about ironic.”
          “And what are you looking for?” asked Suzie.
          “There is only one thing worth seeking, love and joy! I guess that is two things, the same side of the same coin, though.” Emily replied.
          “I think that you have the right idea.” said Suzie. “We are here and we are doing, the rest is BS. There are a million yous doing a million things, look at all of those stars, maybe one millionth of those stars have someone like you. Well, in that infinite sky, you have all the choices and mistakes to make that anyone could choose, and you have done it. Now you have chosen to be here, on earth, vernal equinox 2011, on the beach in Key West with me. We are so blessed.”        
          “I am filled with such joy that it overflows. My eyes are releasing drops of joy on to my cheeks. My heart is swelling to fill my chest. I feel almost suffocating in love and joy. I am so blessed.” whispered Emily.          “I can only thank you and all the yous that reverberate throughout the universes. I am so happy to be here now with you.”
          “Me too.” agreed Suzie.
          They were silent for a while, watching the changes, the changes in the sky, the slow move of the stars and moon across the sky. The changes in the sea, how it reflected the stars, how the small waves began to come out of the east, and the sun started to make an orange crescent above the horizon; how the waves became glassy as the wind waited, allowing a prefect reflection of the rising sun.
           “This is my rising opportunity to start a new today as a new person, the person that you really are, with a new attitude, knowing that all of your choices have been imperative to bring you to this point, to bring your to the point of being here now, to being at the beginning of the growing season and of being at the beginning of growing a new choice, a choice for joy.” said Emily.
          “I get to re-imagine my life, to create the life that I would prefer, and to have new memories that overwhelm those carved into my history by the shock of trauma? That might seem a daunting task. I can retrace all those traumatic events, and then change the events to be life sustaining, instead of life denying; instead of an event that leads to caving in on oneself, making something to celebrate; I want to celebrate each stumbling block as a stepping stone, and create a path to wholeness. Is that is my assignment?”
          “Would you like to have that as an assignment?” Suzie asked.
          "It’s comforting to have an assignment that can give my life purpose.”


          That day, Emily wrote in her journal:
          The world spins like the hands on a clock, always tuning. Days turn into months; months turn into years; years turn into centuries, and so on. Our lives play out in a similar manner, as we go round and round, through the stages of being, passing landmarks and opportunities. If we don’t learn a lesson on the first time it passes, we will have another chance, just wait. The next opportunity is just a moment away. We can carry repeating opportunities with us in our memories.
          If you keep the lesson present, then the choices to learn continue to repeat in a moment to moment basis. We each know and recognize those lessons, the ones that we believe – if I change this, I will be happier.
          Is the lesson instead, to learn to accept that certain choices are who you are, and accept that the lesson is learned, and yet – continue the behaviour. Perhaps that is why these choices grate on us so repeatedly; the lesson is not to change, but to accept. And is that lesson any easier?
          Do I choose to pursue those questions now? Do I choose to pursue change vs. acceptance now? Would that be an easier exploration? Yes. Maybe the choice is to accept that change is innate, that change is constant and that acceptance allows the changes to occur naturally, as our days turn into months. We cannot force the hands of the clock to move any faster, we cannot move the sun across the sky any faster. Why would we want to? We cannot change ourselves any faster either. We must take each step along the path to get to our destination. 


           The world turns, as we spiral through our days, not noticing the patterns we create to numb ourselves to the hum drum. Days roll one into the next. The start of spring 2011 was different for Emily.
          Evening found her back on the same beach, walking pensively, noticing the birds overhead, hearing them call to each other. She looked at the water, the tide was low, she knew that slack tide would be soon, and the water would return, bringing the cycle of the tidal flow back to wash the shore again. As she approached the breakwater, she looked up, and saw the silhouette of someone on the rocks.
          “Hi, are you here to watch the sunset?” she called.





Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas in Zermatt

Christmas Eve 1961

          Mother and I were traveling. Daddy had died the year before, and Susan was accepted to a Canadian school in Switzerland for her 1st year of University.

          Since mother was a young widow, she decided that she would like to go to Europe too. She found a boarding school for me and off we went.  I moved into the School, and mother moved into a local Pension. I went to school, she traveled. It was an exceptional year. We both had unforgettable experiences.

          Winter break was three weeks. Susan went to Spain with her school and Mother decided that she would take me skiing at some of the ski resorts in Europe. I had just started skiing, so her idea was fine with me. She had bought a German Ford, the Taunus, so when school got out, she picked me up in her little car, and off we drove. We headed south and west, up the Rhone valley from Lake Geneva.

          Our first destination was to be Zermatt, a few hours away. A roommate and her family were going be there before Christmas, and we were to meet them at the Schweitzerhof Hotel. Since Zermatt is a car free village, the last leg is by train, and then you can walk or travel by sleigh to your destination.

          Skiing and socializing happened. We spent the days skiing the Gornergrat, I learned how to schuss and wedel. We spent the evenings sharing stories with other skiers, and socializing with the citizens of the world. My roommate and her family came and went. We moved into another hotel, a little farther from the center of town, and a little less expensive, the Europa Hotel. It was December 23rd. We would stay there through Christmas, and then go to our next Destination, St. Anton in Austria, for New Year’s Eve.

          European traditions are different that they are in Canada. As we headed out for our Christmas Eve dinner, we realized that the family who owned the hotel were having their Christmas Celebration. The candles were lit on the Christmas Tree, they were opened gifts around the tree were singing. They knew one song associated with Canada, so they sang “Alouette, and invited us to join them. 

          We were hungry, so we sang the one song, and headed out, each of us dressed in our best, mother wearing her furs; me in a simple cloth coat, new hair styles, and the glow of a winter tan on our faces from skiing.

          A short distance downhill was the main thoroughfare. It was very quaint and covered in snow. We turned left and headed back toward the other hotel and the train station, this part of town was more familiar to us. As we walked we passed several wonderful looking restaurants. We noticed that one place that had been closed looked like it was open tonight, and after a few more steps, we decided that would be where we would dine. We turned around and walked up to the door.

          The Maitre d’ greeted us warmly, and showed us to a lovely table, on the upper level, at the railing. He told us about the buffet, and asked what we would like to drink. He then left us to our server.

          The wine flowed; the food was wonderful, fantastic music filled the air. This was a memorable meal, to be sure. We enjoyed the food, beverages, music and ambiance for about an hour. Then Mother motioned to our server, and said in her best French, “L’addition, s’il vous plait.” (The bill please)

          The server’s face drained completely. You could see shock in his eyes. He raced away from the table and soon returned with the MaĆ®tre d’; “Excuse me, Madame was not a guest?”  Now it was Mother wearing the shocked look, “No” she said meekly. The Maitre d’ was gentle and firm, as he quickly ushered us out of the restaurant, refusing to allow us to pay or tip before we left.

          We left that evening with satiated appetites and a great story.