Sometimes, staying still, things come to us . . . . .

Image

In Honolulu almost any day can be a day to celebrate.  They love parades, special concerts, and fireworks.  So it was no surprise when I heard the first boom, to go to my door and watch an elegant fireworks display over the water at the beach in Waikiki.

Passing on a message . . . . .

Image      

One night in the late 80’s I awoke, went to the kitchen table, sat down with a tablet and pencil and wrote these words without a pause.   It was as if the pencil wrote them.  I put the words into a drawer, went back to bed and fell into a deep sleep.  For a time I kept them to myself, and then I dared to show them to a few individuals.  Each of them reacted in a different way, but all in a positive way, as if the story were written just for them and carried a message.  I think it almost frightened me and I put the piece away.  Recently I discovered it again and I am sharing it here for whatever it means to you.  It would be interesting to see your comments.    – D. M.

   

 Precipice

I had been running for as long as I could remember.  If I knew, I had forgotten what I was running from and, more to the point, what I was running to. 

Running had become a way of life. It was something to do, and it certainly kept me busy. Other runners joined me now and then for a stretch and then peeled off in their own direction . . or dropped, exhausted, seeing we were going nowhere. It was a lonely business, running day and night, but somehow comfortable. 

My body had shaped itself into the constant poise of the mechanics – back straight, hips taut, chin into the wind. My legs and feet no longer ached, but tingled numbly on every impact, a concrete reminder regular as a clockbeat, to keep me asleep on the run.

 I could have gone on forever had the earth not ended. Looking out, I saw nothing before me but space. My toes, coming to the last inch of ground, dug in and prayed for balance while my frame convulsed against dead air and loss of motion.

Swaying there on the edge, my legs jerking and trembling to hold me back, I saw below me nothing but water. Far below this sudden cliff there was nothing but deep, blue water everywhere, without another shore in sight.

There was no solution. I could not retreat because I dared not lift a leg to take that one step backward. To pitch forward was the natural thing to do, and any movement I initiated would pitch me forward to my almost certain death.

It was a split second that lasted a thousand years. Through my mind raced scenes and memories . . running, running through the history of my soul.  It was a moment to meet my maker, and meet my maker I did. In every scene I saw and felt and knew and understood, at last, the one who had created it. I knew, and now I could no longer run. I knew, and still I could not move.

 “Help me!” I called to the wind and the Wise Ones. “Help me, oh help me! I want to live!”

 And with a force both gentle and swift the Wise Ones came, encircled me with loving arms – – and pushed.

                –   Doris Markland           

                        

 

 

 

     

 

 

Aside

It’s almost May but you can call me June . . .

ImageWell, of course this isn’t me.  It’s June Cleaver, mother of Beaver on the Leave it to Beaver show. ( BTW I was in college with Beaver’s dad.  He was a basketball star and quite handsome.)

But I’m afraid I do have some things in common with June Cleaver.  I looked fairly presentable while I ran the home and planned the meals and cooked from scratch and oversaw the table.  We ate well, and we had certain rules, the main one being “you must take some of everything.”  If you don’t like something, I told them, just take less, and if you like something take more.  All foods are good, I believed, but for each of us some are just better than others.

The problem is that after umpteen years as chairman of their food committee it was difficult to resign from that position, even though the little ones are big ones now and their pins on my Google Earth are far apart and far from me.   It became obvious, when they came to visit, that to them all foods were not good.

   Back in my kitchen, these Baby Boomers, now middle-agers, roll their eyes (a skill perfected by their generation)  They make jokes about the “Jello culture” of the Midwest and refer to us as the “food-pushers.” Casseroles are suspect. They decline seconds on any dish, and remind us of their peculiarities . . their vegetarianism, their sugar-free or fat-free diet, or the fact that they simply don’t have time to eat. It is like a dagger to my heart. But still I fuss and stew, if you will forgive the culinary reference, because I am so programmed to feed those I brought in.                                                                                                                      

When they married and brought a new family member home for a visit, that’s when things became complicated. My son-in-law is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. He eats little fruit and his vegetable choice is asparagus, but it must be cooked until it’s gray and limp. His wife, my daughter, is a vegetarian and eats no meat, fish or poultry, but does eat most vegetables. She likes them steamed, and just barely. But, good heavens, no asparagus! And that’s only one of the families I had to consider at Thanksgiving or Christmas time.

      Our home, which once held two adults and three children, became in the good years a gathering place for everyone, including the grandchildren and great grandchildren . Among this merry conglomerate are three who will not eat nuts and five who gag at the thought of onions. So we cooked two versions, with and without. Then there is the bachelor who will neither talk nor eat until he has Starbucked himself into consciousness. We put the omelets on hold and wait for him to catch up.

     When the children were small we had certain rules at our table . . things like don’t talk with your mouth full, don’t play with your food and, most important, you must take some of everything. When they left our home they were about as free of prejudice as one can be, so I can see it is the world that is testing them.

     It’s like life. We give our children rules to live by until they are mature enough to set their own. Along the way they experiment, and every now and then they check home base to get their bearings and to make certain comparisons as they learn and grow in their own patterns. 

      Still, there are those times, when no one is looking. A grown son peeks into the empty cookie jar and says “But Mom . . 
. . you knew I was coming!”

      A grandson slips up behind me at the kitchen sink, throws his big arms around me and says “No one makes gravy like you do, Grandma.”

     The daughter calls frantically for recipes for company. But, please, none with Jello.

     Mothers can and do say goodbye to their children. They just never quite shut the door.

 

 

Aside

At the heart of the family . . .

Image

Caveat:  I am not a teacher or a preacher.  Just an observer.  When I seem to philosophize, please mentally add the words “In my opinion”  at the beginning of each sentence.  Thank you.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

How interesting it is that we go through our lifetime with a specific group of people, some from the same gene pool and later mates and  in-laws that we added. Together, we all teach each other to walk and talk, to eat, to share, to listen, to follow rules, to show respect, to be inventive, to work with others, to care, to compete, to get things done.

Traditionally, around the table, we have shared our experiences of the day . . but now we can be in touch at any time with our handy devices.  We stick up for each other. We are honest with each other. A family member will bluntly say “Whew, you need some deodorant. . . Hey, you’re acting stupid . . or . . You’ve got a piece of lettuce on your tooth.”

When important things happen to us in our lives we want those people near to share it with us. When things go wrong, we go to a family member. When we do well we can only brag to a family member. We laugh with them. . often . . and in rare and certain times, we cry with them.

Now, here is an interesting insight I had when I took one random phrase and wrote how each of my family members would express it. We are all different you know, each one as individual as can be, and that is one way we bring balance into our lives, as we lean on and learn from and with each other. Read here my examples and then take some idea or concept and, without too much thought, just write down how your family members would state it. You will be surprised how well you know them.

For what it’s worth, I shared this list with each of my family members and they all laughed and said I had it exactly right.

Father:   If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing fast 

Mother: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right 

Son #2:   If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with a schedule and a plan 

Son #1:   If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing tomorrow 

Daughter:   If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right now

Image

 

 

 

 

 

My Comings and Goings . .

 

ImageLanikai Beach at Kailua

My Comings and Goings

I tend to wade into life
the way I wade into water,
first testing with my toes,
then standing in the sand
To feel the water flow
until it draws me slowly in,
two shivers to my ankle,
six shivers to my knee,
with long waits between steps
when the strong waves slap
and swirl around my tender thighs.

I always dive . . eventually . . 
and once I do I’m warm and
so at peace I can’t imagine
why I didn’t leap at once
into what feels like home.

Wading out is easier.
There is no shock in going back
to where I’ve walked before.
Gently guiding with my arms
And swishing with my feet
I ride the waves toward shore
Until I feel the shelf of sand.
I stand and wave to friends
and loved ones on the beach
who motion come and join us
in the sun again, and offer towels
and arms to warm and welcome me.

           – Doris Markland

 

Sunbonnet Sue

Image

Not only am I dredging old pictures from my computer, I am looking over old documents.  It’s like cleaning out closets.

This morning I found this poem which I had so forgotten I thought it was someone else’s.  But it did sound a bit like me.  And then I remembered writing it one day as I sat in the summer heat of my garage waiting for customers.  It was my last ever garage sale before moving from our big family home to something more do-able for a widow.  The quilt shown above is not one of mine.  It’s one I lifted from Google’s Images.  But I did have some nice ones.

Sunbonnet Sue

My life was planned
and carefully pieced
by loving hands and
the wisdom of the elders.
Pampered from the
moment of my birth,
I had the best room
in the house, always,
and folks exclaimed
my beauty.

I’ve never travelled
nor thought of any life
beyond that peaceful room
on the west where the
sun falls on me in the afternoon
and sudden breezes move the shades,
where guests are shown
just to look at me or to
gather comfort for the night.

So now, can you imagine
ME perched on an old
card table in the garage . .
THE GARAGE!
It’s hot in here and
people touch me . .
THEY TOUCH ME!. .
and comment not upon
my beauty but to say
I’m frayed around the edges.

Who is not a bit frayed
when they are old?
Who has not changed their shape
Or felt their stuffing shift?

I watch the faces, feel the hands,
and dread the ones who want
to throw me into musty campers
or cut me up for rags.
At best I’ll grab the mother’s heart
of a creative one who’ll mold me
into teddy bears and rabbits,
loving the novelty of my patina,
the feel of memories and
grandma love for all
her little girls.

Yes.  I’ll go with that.

– Doris Markland

.

How High? . . . .

Image

I am home again and after settling in I am carrying out one of my New Year’s resolutions.  It’s a tough one.  I vowed to review all the pictures in my computer and erase the ones I don’t need to keep . . especially the multiple duplicates.  In a few days I have sent several thousand pictures to the recycle bin.  (How did they name that the recycle bin?  This is the disappear forever bin).

While viewing, I cannot help pausing for one last look at certain photos.  Like this shot I captured several years ago while sitting on my lanai.  I noticed something moving on the floor . . well, not moving . . hopping. . and I realized this little grasshopper should be on an Olympic team.  He has found himself on the 22nd floor!

Sometimes I consider that anything that catches my attention may be for a purpose.  I think I could meditate on this little grasshopper and see something, such as  (1) When someone tells me to jump, don’t always answer “how high?” and (2) When setting my own goals don’t set a limit on how high I  can go.