Friday, June 27, 2014

Simply Put

Roses are glorious, as are orchids. Peacocks, sunrises, exotic fish. Sometimes, however, I think the simplest things are the most beautiful of all. This flower, for instance, or the tiny pink tongue of a newborn baby.
            I wonder, therefore, why we so often try to complicate matters with high heels, various shades of eye shadow, fabrics, fashions and accessories. Is a mixed bouquet more worthy than a simple, white violet? Does a single stalk of lily of the valley count less than a field of wildflowers?
            At times, I feel as if the answer might be yes. Certainly, I’d give more merit to a book by Tolstoy than one by yours truly. But…is a quiet little poem less intriguing than an epic? Sometimes a Rumi quote holds more weight (in my heart, anyway), than lengthier, more intricate writings. Sometimes, a single sentence, uttered in just the right way by just the right person, means more than a speech given by an “expert.”
            Of course, it’s wonderful that we can choose. We can select from a menu, for instance, the complex paella, or a simple cucumber soup. We can choose to listen to a Mahler symphony or a solo Bonsai flute. We can decide whether we want to take a tour of the world, or be content with a quiet canoe ride on a familiar river. We can dress to the nines, or throw on our jeans and old T-shirt.
            I love the exciting, stimulating array of colors, scents, languages, possibilities, places, and people that make up the world. But I have to admit, when I manage to focus on only one thing—one green leaf, one tiny piece of chocolate, one child’s hand—it can lead me straight to the seed of the wonder of life, without any side trips, distractions, or confusion. There is an elegant, wordless beauty to things that don’t cry out for attention—to things that are just simply and quietly… here, now.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

His & Hers: Mud Pies

Recently, I was contemplating the state of my bedside table. Things had become a bit jumbled, rather messy, actually quite out of control. I glanced over at my husband’s side of the bed where I noticed a candle, lamp, and a clock (albeit a dusty one). “Hmm,” I thought, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
          Honestly, I am not a slob. In the past, I’ve been known to be quite organized. Lately, however, my life has been full to bursting, and my bedside table is a reflection of that. I’m behind on deadlines, don’t have time for housework or cooking, and seem to be constantly running late (in the past, I’ve always arrived early). Some chores-- like putting away my jewelry-- just never get done any more. I planted exactly one tomato this year and have not been outside to water it (thankfully, we’ve had rain). The weeds surrounding it are growing quite well, though, thank you very much.

          My husband, on the other hand, seems to have lots of time on his hands. I hear him chuckling sometimes as he watches a comedy show on his computer. I observe him now and then reading books for pleasure. He runs and exercises every day. In the past, he was always late, always overbooked, always working. He was busy making mud pies while I handled the kids (most of the time), did the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. My mud pies were made in stolen moments after the kids were in bed, but his career sustained us financially, and he was devoted to it.
          Now, the bedside tables have turned. I’m the one racing out the door, staying up past midnight, getting up early to work. I used to marvel at how much my mate could talk about his career. Now I am the one who can’t seem to shut up.
          Relationships work like mud pies, a friend once said. We’re like kids playing in dirt and water; sometimes it’s your turn to make a mud pie, sometimes it’s mine. Where we run into trouble is when one can’t tolerate the mud pies of the other, when one partner wants to be frolicking in the mud 24/7, and the other never gets to play with her (well, sorry to be sexist but it still quite often is the female) mud pies at all.
          Yes, I should straighten up my bedside table, and maybe I will one day. But right now, I have a few more mud pies to make!