Sunday, 26 May 2013

Things That Make You Go, "Mmm"

Standing outside, early on a fresh spring morning, sipping creamy coffee from a china mug decorated with gardening images. The mug was a thoughtful gift from a neighbour who shares my bemused headshaking over what thrives or doesn’t thrive in our side-by-side gardens.

The cheerful music of a sparrow grabs my attention. She's on the telephone wire that feeds my house, protecting her nest  inside the metal hood that covers the electrical joint box above my roof. Where would we be in the city without sparrow song?

Among the dying tulips, new buds appear on green coreopsis stems, preparing for the curtain to open on their faithful chorus of sunny yellow. Each summer, hundreds of their flowers mass in my front garden, blooming, dying, and blooming all season long.

I hear the chirps of children, two little girls on their way to school beside their tall father, dressed for the office. Each of them clutches a hand as he clenches his arms to lift them onto their tippy toes just for fun. 
The younger child wears shorts, tee-shirt and a wide-brimmed straw hat trimmed in black ribbon, its elegance a charming contrast to her play clothes. The older sister wears a peasant skirt and tee, topped by a baseball cap through which her ponytail pops. They each lug a back-pack half their size.

The threesome reach a neighbour’s driveway – a troublesome  mess of gravel which migrates willy-nilly onto the street’s macadam. Surprisingly, the father stops to kick some of the pebbles off of the road back to where it belongs. Both girls join in the play.  A parent on the way to work taking time for a game - Mmm.

He shifts his briefcase’s shoulder strap and grabs their hands again to head for the crosswalk. The smaller girl runs ahead to push the button for crossing. Behind her back the father pushes the button again to make sure the warning lights come on. He re-takes little hands for safe crossing. Near the school’s entrance the children spy something interesting beneath a hedge. They squat to look closely. The tall man stands still, apparently relaxed, waiting as if in respect of a scientific exploration. Oh, that we all could always parent so divinely. A minute later the three disappear into the school.

I breathe in lilac and lily-of-the valley.

Another May morning has broken. 

(Enjoy this favourite hymn, sung by Art Garfunkel and Diana Krall)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Well, Shut My Mouth

I LOVE laughing. I’d rather hang out with a funny person than almost any other type. 
Last night I tried to enjoy the start of YouTube’s Comedy Week. Grr. I had to turn it off when it had barely begun. Apparently few comics are creative enough to be funny without appealing to our most primitive selves, the selves that are intrigued by violence, bodily excretions and genitalia. Haw, haw, haw.
I expect my young grandchildren to be fascinated and amused by such references, but aren't we supposed to mature beyond that level?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any help with defaulting to an ugly perspective on life. I already tend toward cynicism and despair, so I long for humour that is clever and animating. Satire of human foibles can be hilarious and yet encouraging. Talented comics can crack us up just by imitating Everyman impatiently waiting for an elevator. Their witty insight sticks with us; from then on, every time we have to wait for an elevator we smile to, and at, ourselves (Thankyou, Ellen DeGeneres). 
When I came across the quote below, it made me wonder what daily life would be like if we followed its advice:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen…. 
You mean that the smartest comment doesn’t win?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Even when somebody just dissed me?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
But she was so mean!
Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
What world are you living in, Prissy Boots?
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…
Oh, relax.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. 
Party Pooper.
Instead, be filled with (get drunk on) the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.
Weird. Really weird.
Sing and make music from your heart to God, always giving thanks for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we all followed this advice from Ephesians 4, what would it be like on the internet...or in schools and traffic?

Monday, 6 May 2013


Who would think of making a plant that pokes above ground in a tightly curled spiral disc, and then slowly unfurls its “fiddlehead” like a lithe yogi changing poses, arching into a fern finale of feathery fronds?

What trickster had the idea of vines that sense the nearest vertical surface, grow their way toward it and produce sucker pads that cling like claws so that the ivy can cover whole buildings with coppery olive leaves?

Strange to imagine the hidden, underground root-tangle below Lilies of the Valley spiking up by the hundreds, on their way to becoming dark curved shelters for fragile strands of tiny white perfume cups.

How can acid-green moss, composed of thousands of miniscule hairs, become a soft cushy carpet, neither woven nor cultivated? 

What the hell-ebore was the idea, giving that lush, tropical- looking plant with smoky pink flowers the guts to bloom in the coldest early Spring, even before yellow daffodils?

Whose plan would include a three inch chipmunk, heart beating warmly beneath February’s ice and snow, so that a sweet stripy face hops out ready for play in May? 
Wasps that can drill perfectly round holes into wooden planks?
Birds who painlessly whack their small beaky heads into tree trunks, mining insects for food?

Crazy Creator.