Conditional & Conventional Come Undone

I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know. Most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly. ~Buckminster Fuller


Be the Brightest Red Possible

When my grandmother died in '01, I didn't attend her funeral. It was December. The weather was questionable as was the vehicle. With a nursing newborn and 4 other children, it was overwhelming to consider the 10+ hour drive "alone". I made it 5 hours in. I stopped to see my sister who could tell it was too much and encouraged me to go home. Grandma, of all people, would "get it".

I went home.

A few days later we celebrated one of my daughters. Her birthday falls on New Years Eve. The house was a mess. Streamers. Hats. Noise makers. Gift wrapping. Also used paper plates and cups covered in cake, hardened ice cream with some Disney character I've now forgotten. There were balloons. Several. The children had gathered them up and made a 'mountain'. I decided to leave all the cleaning for the next day...my first resolution for the New Year.

But I could not sleep.

At some point, everyone had slipped into dreaming and the last year that held my grandmother quietly slipped into the year -- I make up without any reservations -- that she began to hold me.

It began with a balloon.

It was 2am. The dining room was flooded with light from a day old full moon. I remember going to the window and looking at it while apologizing to her for not making the funeral. I apologized for the fear I felt in seeing her in the nursing home in a state so far from anyone I'd ever known her to be and I apologized for not realizing sooner that she was becoming lost to the world. I should have known. Of all people, I should have "got it".

I sat down on the floor.

I just wanted to bask in the light for a moment before I quietly began cleaning. I surveyed the place guessing it would take less than an hour. I had time to sit. The mountain of balloons, still clinging together, had eroded into a colorful landscape. I remember counting them by color. I don't remember how many blue, how many green but I remember the air unit kicking on and, ever so gracefully, one red solo balloon pulling from the pile, crossed the room to the floor vent and began to dance above it. I waited. No other balloon moved. And the red balloon kept dancing.

It gave me peace.

A few days later, I was organizing a writing space. Earlier, I had begun making a collage. It was a collection of my favorite pictures of us together. I had put it in a drawer with several photos that didn't work either because they were too blurry or too poorly lit. I opened that drawer and one fell out. No other picture fell. This one hadn't made the cut because it was both blurry and poorly lit but there against the hazy backdrop of our cheek-to-cheek smiles was her vivid red earring in the shape of a balloon.

Now, I see red balloons in the most peculiar places when I especially need to.

But that's another blog...



Canvas by Andi8by10

This blog has been a place of storytelling. Sometimes I forget how powerful an act that is. Last blog, I wrote of wildfires. On the heels of posting, I found myself evacuating my home as a wall of smoke devoured it. Luckily, only smoke but the fire had been a block away. The winds are fierce in this area. Truly, an ideal location for the commercial windmills that continue to appear on the horizon.

So the winds serve as fuel but they also serve to fuel the stealth embers that pop up anywhere from an irrigation motor in a wheat field to the spark that flies between a Santa Fe freight wheel and the old train track. Needless to say, I prayed and engaged in a great deal of meditation while distracting the children. The act of praying involves more of a request for shifting winds as praying for the calming of them I liken to the parting of the Red Sea. But there are those that act like Moses. And I wonder who's faith is stronger: Me praying in a safe space or the man covered in soot with his water hose and Bud Light hitting hot spots as they fly into his backyard. Most would question his sanity. I'll say he's a man of faith -- the fire took out his backyard but he saved his home which sits a block behind mine so I will say he saved mine, too -- giving me the privilege of only questioning his choice of beverage (but if he wants a case of it, he's got it).

Not aware of his heroic act, I pulled away from the house completely at peace knowing all that was important in my world was snapping their seat belts into place. But, we were missing one cat. I had spent a few seconds looking for him. Later, after having secured a hotel room, I thought of him and it dawned on me that he probably wasn't even in the house. So, I created him as our keeper of the gate and when we returned he was ecstatic to see us...and a little freaked out.

Even as I write, a fire rages outside of town. It's several miles away but the sky, that meets the flat lands here, serves as a canvas which is filling with hues so stark in contrast to billowy white clouds and light lapis found in between that it could be mistaken for a severe thunderstorm -- prompting me to pray for rain. So, that is the story I'm telling and it ends with a nice little rhyme:

White round clouds
in a silver frame.
Leaves dancing
to the ground.
Soft winds sing
through a window screen
of rains soon tumbling down.