Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

Finally an overcast rainy day. One of the nicest things around.

I've been enjoying having a life that's full of thinking. I read and I think. I watch movies and I think. I stare out the window, sit on the porch, go out on a walk and think. Sometimes, Abby (my orange cat) thinks with me. Though today she's been very bitey. Bite Bite Bite.
Oddly enough, when I was having lunch with Jonathan, I saw Ronnie Deverie (sp?) at a Panera in Danada Square. It's strange seeing people I knew from Bethel Out of Bethel. hmmm…apparently he's going to Wheaton College. I refuse to let Wheaton suck me in.
I rather have my sights set on Iowa Writers Workshop or at least taking a class with Marilynne Robinson Someday. She's my fabulous find that I found on my honeymoon on Mackinac Island of all places. Such a superbly crafted writer. I really don't understand why we didn't read her at school. She'd kick the ass of so many pathetic novels we had to read. I mean…not only does she write so extremely tight and so extremely well, she's thinking about God and interacting. In fiction.

I think I should say something about my wedding…and so I shall say, it was very beautiful, I loved the flowers and I was so glad so many of my good wonderful friends were there. That was the gift. To see them smiling at me when I got married. Well, there's Jeff too. He's a gift as well.

With so many quiet but wonderful things going on, it's hard to write it all down. The progress of my novel is great but it's terrible (and I mean that in the old Webster dictionary sort of way- awe inspiring). I have so very far to go and it will be that way for a very long time. I have hopes of maybe chopping up some of the scenes and turning them into short fiction and seeing if I can get them published somewhere. We'll see, we'll see. Right now, I'm just tracing incredible change in one my main characters and seeing what they're up to now- how they're breathing, how they're walking and hardest of all, what they're thinking.

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Ouroboros in the Park

Japanese anemone flowers open blush pink petals in the park.  Their tall, delicate stems hold up the tender flowers, and in the centers glow tiny pistil-laden suns. Furry carpenter bees buzz in a frenzy, adoring the tiny suns. Like all true worshipers, they circle round and round the yellow centers, smearing themselves in joy and pollen.

I also circle a center, but the object of my adoration is the park itself. As the path guides me around and around, my body, full of the usual tensions and distresses, takes the cue, finds the beat and the measure and walks to it.

The English Romantic Poets of the early 19th century were great walkers and believed that walking was essential to writing to poetry. With the body busy, the mind can walk freely, investing in its visions and tunneling down into what were previously subterranean thoughts.

This small park is my open field, my verdure, my ramble through hill and dale. My feet move on, sometimes slowing to a near pause, other times hurrying, suddenly propelled by a new and vivid notion.

About the fifth time around, a sort of mesmerism occurs and I fall under the trance of the day. The circle becomes a mantra uttered by my feet—knees, hips, shoulders, and arms follow along and we head down the path. I must walk, I must keep walking, I must continue to walk and the resolution becomes a reassurance as a cool breeze fills my lungs; I am alive and refreshed.

I pass under the oaks and dodge their falling acorns. Sometimes I entertain the notion that squirrels are hurling them, but when I catch sight of their small triangular faces they look as startled as me. It is the oaks themselves that are throwing the acorns down. I momentarily consider bringing an umbrella, opening it when I walk under the oaks, but this an old consideration that I’ve been contemplating for years of autumns and I’ve never acted on it. Instead, I dodge and the squirrels stare hard.

Finally I have to go but the revolutions and bees in the park stay with me even after I leave, continuing  with their wheeling. They pass through the days and nights, rapturous and serene, monotonous some days and a miracle on others, and on most days both. They exist in the circle that is sometimes opened, sometimes closed. Within the circle, everything changes and nothing changes each time we pass through.

 

Kazuaki Tanahashi, Miracle at Each Moment

 

Pocket-Sized Photo Diary

There are small moments that must be filled. They open and expand while waiting in doctors’ and dentists’ offices; in long, slow moving grocery check-out lines; or in those few, empty moments before leaving the house or office for another destination. Staring into space is my favorite pastime and generally fills up all the minutes given (and much more), but there are other waiting times when my spirit needs a gentle pick-me-up without doing much conscious work.

That’s when I open the Photo Album on my phone and start scrolling. I discovered this delight quite by accident while lounging in my therapist’s waiting room one afternoon. I was feeling flattened by living with PTSD and other health issues, and I wanted muster up a little hope before I went into my session. So in a despondent, weary way, I opened up the photo album app. To my surprise, I was greeted by pictures of flowers, landscapes and book excerpts that I had busily taken days ago and had already forgotten. I scrolled back farther and it was much the same, mixed with pictures of friends, family, pets, and friendly dogs I had met on my walks.

I discovered my photo diary which had been my pocket all this time. “I never travel without my diary,” Oscar Wilde wrote. “One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” It still holds true; nothing is so interesting as what we took notice of days ago, weeks and months ago, be it written in a journal or snapped with a viewfinder.

As days spin into weeks, months, and years, it is hard to catch hold of any kind of underlining rhythm or purpose. A photo diary offers a kind of consolation. There’s nothing sublime there, it simply marks changing seasons, interests, travels, and friendship. But perhaps on the difficult days where everything is too much including our own thoughts, a photo diary is a moment of gentle release. The lightness of ephemerality eases the heavy load of living.

 

“But life itself is short, and so you are terribly agitated by everything that is eternal.”

–Eileen Chang, On Music