Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

errr….yeahhhh….the summer reading list…

NOTE: Twilight doesn't really have a plot. Unless plucking a daisy saying, “He loves me, he loves me not” is a plot. yeeeah. I'm not sure why I thought it did. I feel a little bit sorry for my past self. Silly past self!

 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles…so Tess' illegitimate baby has died and I haven't the heart to go on. I mean, it's summer and not a really horrid hot summer…soooo…

I guess I have to talk about Twilight as I keep pestering and jabbering to poor Jocey about it. There's a couple things about Twilight you should know. One, it's about a high school girl. So if you don't like high school kids, ignore this entry. Two, it's about a high school girl falling in love with a high school vampire boy. So if you like high school stories but not vampires, again retire. Steph was really the one that got me turned onto this book, otherwise I'd never have read it because I don't like high school stories. BUT I've always been curious about vampires, and I did my research when I was a teenager, because c'mon, Immortal. I have never wanted to be immortal (I think it would be excrutiatingly boring after a few lifetimes or so) but I've always been intrigued. Why the Yetti has never interested me as much, seeing as they're probably immortal, I'm not sure.

Anyways, I ate up Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's a plot driven book oh yes and plot driven books Cannot be resisted. At all. I read it one night for about seven hours (with Jeff seated on the opposite sofa reading His vampire and zombie book. Now that's true love) and nearly passed out from my blood sugar levels dropping really low at about the eighth hour chiming (I'm not diabetic or anything but I have a massively sensitive system). Ahhhhh, but sugar level dropping while reading a vampire book is ironic.

I have huge arguments with the character development (as there being none) but you have to give it to Meyer. She's in the right genre. It's young adult- where character development for the intended audience is a bit in the wings. So I'm chewing through this book, wanting to know more about the protagonist, Bella and the boy, Edward and all I'm gettig is that Bella finds him so hot, she's willing to die to be near him. Oh yeah and he's beautiful and fights his monster I-suck-your-blood side. Over and over and over. And yet, and Yet, I'm all agog to read to the next book. I mean, I have to. Because Hello! The plot! Which no, I haven't elaborated but need I? Two teenagers in love, one is vampire, you guess.

All I'm saying if you're one for plot and vampires seem rather quirky, give this series go. I doubt Reading Rainbow would endorse it but I believe I would. It's a great summer read. But you don't have to take my word for it.

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The Taste of Tea

A favorite film of mine, The Taste of Tea, centers on an eccentric family living in the Japanese countryside. They spend a great deal of time sitting outside, sipping tea and staring into space. They sit as a family, alone, or in a small group and no one talks. They just stare out into the deep green that is the summer. And then they get up and go on walks or go off to work.

The first time I watched The Taste of Tea, I was shaken and delighted that the film gave space and respect to one of my favorite pastimes: sipping tea and staring into space.

When spring grew warm enough, I was inspired by the film to sit outside and stare into my backyard in the early morning. The Taste of Tea had given me a sort of permission to leave stress behind and take this time for one of my deepest desires: to enjoy and contemplate nature while sipping tea.

I named my new practice “Sipping Tea and Watching the Grass Grow.” I felt ridiculous whenever I mentioned it to anyone but that hardly mattered. I was doing what I loved so much, watching plants grow, watching the birds and small animals moving through it all, and sky glowing blue and serene over us all.

 

Grass grows slowly, imperceptibly but after each rain, it leaps up by inches. The violets came in May and they lasted for weeks. After that the dandelions bloomed and I lost a little bit of my heart to them. The wind picked up their seeds and sent the white fluffs floating into the air in sweet, downy clouds. After that, small wild strawberries, glowing like fierce red gems, appeared in the lawn. Now at the end of June, a luxurious, emerald green covers nearly everything. It reaches up from the ground, covering fences and stones or it high overhead, green leaves moving in tall, imperceptible breezes.

 

The heat has settled in so now even in the mornings, I pour sweat while drinking my tea. On some mornings the birds are noisy and busy and on other days they are not. Sometimes a great big bumblebee comes tumbling along, droning in that low, hazy buzz as it investigates every surface and flower. And then sometimes it does not come. Some days the clouds are like fluffs of cotton, other days there isn’t a cloud in sight. Each day brings a new configuration, nature is never still. I watch it all and at other times, I close my eyes and listen to my breathing. I’m not alone, never alone, a part of a whole.

A Tale of Two Worlds

I walk past a window on my way to get a glass of water and note the snow falling outside.  As I fill my glass at the sink, my thoughts have already turned back to my work on the computer. I’m wrestling with the household budget, when I’ll fit some reading in, how to get on with my writing work, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll catch up with email correspondence and the list goes on and on.

Anytime I stop my work and look up, past the chatter in my mind, the snow catches me off guard as if it’s the first time I’m seeing it. I debate whether I can put off the grocery store to avoid driving in the snow.

This is the world of the everyday. It’s full of a thousand petty cares, some essential to living, others not as much but all in a lump group, tugging us along.

But there are times my mind needs something more refreshing, and it’s time to take a break. And that’s where music comes in—as powerful as Circe creating a circle of magic with her staff. I pick out music without words (or words I don’t understand). Today is Rimsky-Korsakov, tomorrow might be the film Phantom Thread’s soundtrack, or a piece of jazz played by Lucky Thompson.

As Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden starts, the circle opens. I come out of the everyday world and enter somewhere extraordinary, where beauty converges with life and cares and worries exit for a time. And all it takes is a little music, a little snow, and entering the moment that is now.

I watch the snow falling, noting the wind direction as the snow blows southeast and then drops and then exhales again southwards. I note the density of the snow, how it’s light and sparkling and then downy, heavy, and wet.  My thoughts finally still and I turn off the music. A heavy relief passes over my body and mind and I am still, watching the beauty of the world.