Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two Worlds

 
“Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, textures of carpet…"  someone named Alain de Botton said.

It is very true; it is the way of children to experience life in this way, where the impressions and memories have very little indeed to do with the outside world.  They aren't even things that the other people (especially grown-ups) necessarily see or remember.  The thing is... I don't think I ever grew out of that, nor, more oddly still, do I want to.  But I mustn't remain a child, no.  Clearly I must accept responsibility, learn the skills of the adult-world, and how to process life effectively, so as to know what to do when, on my own.  In affect, I have to live in two worlds at once... without mixing them unduly.  It increases my need for solitude, naturally; and gives me a distant appearance when I am in company.  For, while others are occupied with the chatter of talk, what they'll say next, or planning ahead, I'm amusedly watching the flecks of light above the chandelier, noticing that those three dresses in a row make the colors of the French flag, or quite possibly thinking of a story I should write.
 
"I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books." (to quote C.S. Lewis)

And as such, that is my language; that is largely how I see the world.  I don't feel I've viewed a room properly if I've just sat on a formal chair, or been ushered through. No, I much prefer the method of changed perspective; to actually know the room I must sit on the floor, or the arm of a chair; flop down on my back in the carpet, look at the world upside down; slide across a hard floor with my socks, crane my neck to see every angle of view from the windows.

Out of doors is the same, I feel you gain very little by gazing airily about you. Sniff the air, and breathe it deep into your lungs; run helter-skelter over the uneven earth, snapping twigs as you go, rustling leaves; if you've tired of that, try running backward, gazing up at the changable sky... you're bound to find a new perspective in some way or another. Lay down and stare up into rushing branches of trees, let yourself fall asleep in the sunshine; roll over on your stomach and watch an ant in the blades of grass. Get up and step so that you make no sound, move silently about without disturbing the birds and bushes, army-crawl through the grass until you're overlooking the pond, watching the ducks unnoticed; climb a difficult tree and bird-watch for miles, keeping your eyes out for deer and pheasants; find a particularly secure arm of the tree, lean back and close your eyes, feeling the warm sun on your eyes, even if the air is chilly...

I love a good rain. That usually brings quite a fresh view of a place, outside or in. Spattered and darkened, the changing of light; fresh and wet and noisy. You'll see what everything looks like wet. Inside you'll probably find the tea cupbard and possibly the cookie jar. You might find a book.   A bookshelf often speaks for a house, a bit of a compass needle, or an axis for the home. Listen to the thunder, noticing what scurries in fright; learn just how the wind howls through the trees, branches groaning, and making the house creak and shiver.

People don't always understand why I derive such pleasure from these things, nor why I love rain and dislike driving; or enjoy the dark, and avoid making phonecalls.  And yes, I'm quite likely to be reminded of a fairy-tale by the things of ordinary life; and more likely than some to be reminded of my own life by the stories I read and write.  There are drawbacks of course, to being this way; to living 'two worlds'; to being rather a lot of people rolled into one... But I know no other way, and find the unique enjoyment that comes with it, sufficient compensation.

Lucy Maud Montgomery says it very well indeed.  "I grew up out of that strange, dreamy childhood of mine and went into the world of reality. I met with experiences that bruised my spirit - but they never harmed my ideal world. That was always mine to retreat into at will. I learned that that world and the real world clashed hopelessly and irreconcilably; and I learned to keep them apart so that the former might remain for me unspoiled. I learned to meet other people on their own ground since there seemed to be no meeting place on mine. I learned to hide the thoughts and dreams and fancies that had no place in the strife and clash of the market place. I found that it was useless to look for kindred souls in the multitude; one might stumble on such here and there, but as a rule it seemed to me that the majority of people lived for the things of time and sense alone and could not understand my other life. So I piped and danced to other people's piping - and held fast to my own soul as best I could."

 ...  I'm beginning to understand my 'other world' a bit better these days, and as I realize its merits, and also its inevitability, I'm resolved not to be ashamed of it; not to give up pursuits that others don't see, or try to change the way I see things; but to enjoy to the fullest degree this life that not everyone gets the chance to live.  I am, after all, a citizen of another country as well, "that is, a heavenly one." (Hebrews) and I'm not sorry to be reminded.

grace. peace. rejoice!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's party in pictures

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Remember

Through blanket darkness, cloudy eves
A creeping twilight through the trees
Always look for stars
When shadows lengthen out of sight
And bats come out to take their flight
When sleep gets restless in the night
Don't forget the stars

As dawn emerges like the spring
With birdsong calling you to sing
Watch the rays of sun
When morning warms the dewy ground
Light-dapples dance without a sound
And life gets busy all around
Turn and face the sun

When grasses rustle, all alone
And tree-tops breathe and sway and groan
That's the mighty wind
In open fields, with blowing hair
Run on, and chase the breezes there
As if you think you'll catch the air
Befriend the flighty wind

An afternoon's the perfect time
When quiet moments come, to climb
High into a tree
To find above the busyness
A solitary sturdiness
A resting place of timelessness
Find a tree and climb

So watch the vast expanse of blue
In moody depth and varied hue
Waiting for the moon
The clouds and shadows scurry on
Until the light and color's gone
The owls come out and stars 'turn on'
Welcome in the moon

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back in Gettysburg

And then it rained.  The lowering sky began to look threatening about the time we left the monuments, and by the time we reached the town of Gettysburg once more, the rain was pouring down, running down the windows of the car, and blurring the view of beautiful buildings.  We sat happily on the side of the road then, listening to the rumbling of thunder, and the pattering swish of rain.  I was so very grateful that the downpour had held off until we had thoroughly enjoyed the monuments; we had taken our time, peaceful, unhurried, and warm by the First Minnesota monument.  Indeed we felt sorry for the soldiers in their wool uniforms in July, to speak only of heat.
 
The rain didn't last long.  We enjoyed a bit of a respite, munching apples and nuts... talking a bit about what we had seen.  I was thrilled just to watch the many colored buildings, and the shutters against the brick, through the drizzling rain.  Somehow a rain, like few other things, makes me feel like I am really experiencing the place.  It's a real place; it gets wet, just like everything else; some bits look worse after a soaking, and some look ruggedly the same; some brilliantly improved.  Fresh: clean and refreshed.  That's how it looked, afterward.  And thunderstorms always feel like an adventure to me... I suppose that originated when I was little, and would play sneaking around the house in the dark, with the candles flickering, or just waiting for the power to go out...
 When the rain stopped we got out and walked the streets, passed the houses and shops--all stone and spritely painted shutters and moldings.  We went inside an adorable cupcake shop, all pink, (we didn't buy any though, seeing as we had Gettysburg-museum fudge waiting for us in the car anyway...maple-walnut, peanut-caramel, and butterfinger ;)  Here's a picture of Jess and me in front of the cupcake place.
{Miss you Cousin!}
 
And here's just a string of lovely places we saw on our little jaunt up and down side-walks and popping into shops, just for looking....
 
 Glorious September~
 
Birthday Pictures!
 
::::::::::::::::::::
 
See you again, Gettysburg, I hope...
Coming, also from my trip--Annapolis!