The Art in Earth

Day 31: My Word For 2016
Day 31: My Word For 2016

My word for 2016 is ART; the art of living well, the art of compassionate coexistence, the art of intuitive creation, the art of health and healing, of joy and humor as well as grief and letting go. One of our greatest gifts is to see the art in life, since after all, there would be no Earth without Art. Happy New Year of photographic and literary art to all who read here. May there be plenty of art in your future.

Thanks so much to Susannah Conway for her December Reflections  photo prompts again this year. During this hectic and stressful season, she has prompted the art of mindful reflection from life’s photographic window seats with contemplative comments that helped me process the world with hope and love for all.

Wish Upon a Star

Day 28: A Secret Wish For 2016
Day 28: A Secret Wish For 2016
My secret wish for 2016 is to visit the heavens more often, where I pull up a chair to dine with the moon while listening to whispered conversations between stars, reading the menu of meteors, hoping a swing of the pendulum will take me there and back.

I’ve decided to participate in Susannah Conway’s December Reflections  photo prompts again this year. During this hectic and stressful season, won’t you join me in mindful reflection from life’s photographic window seats and contemplative comments that provide refuge from the madness.

The Empty Room

A member of my household moved back to college a couple of weeks ago. But this time, instead of the claustrophobic closet of a dorm room, there is a big apartment to furnish.

Off the walls come the autographed mementos of childhood heroes, yellowing banners of former school victories, the dry-erase board that is still active after all these years, vintage music posters and personalized signs establishing territory.

The dirty clothes have vanished with their hamper, scattered footwear marched off toward winding campus trails or retired to the darkest, forgotten shelves. Chairs, drawing table and lamps have all been whisked away to find new productive lives.

The perpetually unmade bed has left dimples in the carpet to remember it by.

I wander around aimlessly in this small room, suddenly vast and hollow as a canyon, its cloudless blue walls and sand-colored floor containing my desert in parenthood.

Before the empty echoes of the U-Haul fade, another family would find younger siblings lined up to stake their claims, the winds of seniority shifting down the hall to find a new balance.

But at my house, there is nothing to redistribute. Everything has found its place. There is no mid-life hobby busting its seams, or exercise equipment for the middle-aged chaffing at the bit to spread its wings.

And even though I have an unobstructed path, there’s no incentive to vacuum away the traces of childhood.

Maybe tomorrow.

What They Don’t Tell You About College Orientation

Letting Go #11:

When the opportunity to participate in our daughter’s college orientation came up we thought, “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to go back and relive our wild youth. Stay in the dorm overnight sharing a twin bed. Sneak out and drink beer. Break curfew. Play our stereos too loud (make that ipods). Hang out in dorm rooms with people we don’t know. Skip breakfast. Share the communal bathrooms. Arrive late to class (make that programs). Do something vaguely illegal. Ah, the college good ol’ days.”

What we got instead, was more of the same stress of preparing the offspring for THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Too many kids, too many nervous and pushy parents, too many rules, too many meetings, too many forms to fill out, too much money–not enough fun. It seems to be a recurring theme in the Y generation’s life experience.

When did the ritual of growing up become such a job? I have to say that the program was well-coordinated and the food was great. The air-conditioned dorm we stayed in was far better than anything my husband and I lived in even during grad school. I tried to have fun, I really did. But it was still a lot of work–even for the slacker parents that we are.

I came home exhausted. Maybe those college memories are way too rose-colored. Maybe my body was better prepared for that environment–back when my thyroid was functioning. Maybe I’ve blotted out all the paperwork and formalities of entering college in 1978. But darn it, I just don’t recall it being this complicated. All I remember is paying the bursar and making up my twin bed (regular size, not “extra long”), and doing my best to avoid the “Kool-aid” at the freshman mixer thoughtfully hosted by the richest frat on campus.

All I know is that this little trip down college memory lane sure wasn’t the wild overnighter that I pictured in my 49-year-old head. Gotta let go of this one in a big way. Let’s face it–nobody wants to see a middle-aged girl gone wild.