I have the good fortune of living with a girl who acts out this kind of thing every day of her life: hanging upside down, jumping into ponds, slack-dressing the cat, hiding under the bed with a flashlight and two hamsters.
Pity me for not doing likewise.
So how is it that we come to filter our lives of every shade of upside-downness? Of trading in every free-form energy for some saltless formality? No undies showing, no bare feet, no dirty knees…
It’s a universal loss for all of us, I’d say, what with these 50 years living by rote and dreaming of riches, of sitting on our asses fattening. Far better to hang upside down and shout at a right-side up pig.
Did you notice the pig? The thing about kids is they always notice the pig.
I wish I could say straightaway that my mother was an original, that she had remarkable insight into the issues of her day, that she served in the Peace Corps and loved to snowshoe, that she once toured the country as a green-eyed ballerina.
But I can’t. My mother was not an original. She was born and she grew up. She married, loved her husband, had children, loved her children, grew ill, grew old, died. There is a story in this sequence of events, a worthy and beautiful story, to be sure, but in large part it’s the old and often-told story of reflection. For to see my mother was to see who or what she stood next to. Invisibility was my mother’s gift. She was a natural. She disappeared as her personality and life journey dictated almost every day of her life. Continue reading
Having looked at this photo for most of the winter, I’ve decided that what the world most needs is just this: leaping in, stepping out in the morning by 6:15, shucking our shoes, our fears, our inhibitions, and free-falling 30′ down to where trout live and hard-to-see snails. And floating on the surface water just above our heads a few yellow leaves.
Photo: Cory Arnold
Quetzal rolled out the year’s first snowman this week, and here he is, bright-eyed and hopeful. I think he’s hopeful, although it could be he’s sad or maybe curious. You’ll notice he seems to be looking at something, something above him. Continue reading
About four years ago, my daughter, Quetzal, asked me if I would build her a swing. The old kind, she said, a tire swing. So I found a tire, a length of rope, a few clamps, and one afternoon hung a swing from a tree just outside our kitchen door. When I finished, I called her over, and she climbed onto the tire and tried to start it going. But she couldn’t move it. So I tried. Like this, I said, pushing and pulling on the rope. But already I knew it would never work. The tire was too heavy. And that’s when I realized I had made a swing for both of us–for Quetzal to ride, for me to push. Continue reading