Friday, March 28, 2014

Lesson One

After Monday's post about stepping sideways off the pathway I've been keeping my eyes peeled. Paying attention....

And on today's walk I watched for clues. Messages from the Universe about what it is exactly that I'm supposed to be learning.

I kept my mind open. Loose. I engaged my senses....

I noticed robins in the rowan tree.

And snowdrifts etched by the wind into the diamond skyscrapers of miniature ice cities.

I heard the over-wintered leaves of an oak tree applauding my progress, the tinkle of a windchime caught up in the breeze, the 'cheeseburger!' call of chickadees, the trickle of snowmelt as it collected at the curb and laughed its way to the storm drain.

I smelled woodsmoke, perfumed dryer sheets, someone's barbecue, spring.

I felt moisture on my cheek and tasted road salt on the air.

And I discovered these on my path: a fancy paperclip and a silk maple leaf from someone's autumnal arrangement.

The message (as I interpret it):
"Lost your place? You'll find it in Nature."
Let the learning begin.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stepping Sideways Off the Path

I sense that foggy, cotton-wool feeling. The shadows on my periphery.

I expect to find my routine suddenly shaken, my mind on walkabout, the door to the rabbit hole ajar, and me about to slip inside and pull it closed over my head....

Maybe you're feeling like this, too?

At these times it helps me to write, but not necessarily to share (although I'll try to; perhaps if I do I'll even discover like-minded kindred souls Out There who can maybe identify....).

Facebook is out of the question. Facebook just annoys me when I'm like this, when I'm contemplating the rabbit hole.... It reminds me that there are folks in my world who aren't feeling lost and out of sync, folks like everyone else who are going about their normal lives watching cat videos and taking 'Which Jersey Shore Character Are You?' quizzes and posting pictures of their lunch.

Plus, I feel too exposed or something on Facebook.

But blogging might just work. I need to type; feel my fingers move. I'm safe here. It feels like a one-way connection. Like me just talking aloud to myself. And that's OK.

But, just to be on the safe side: if YOU'RE here, IF you're here, if you're reading this, please think kind thoughts, 'k? Tolerant, sensitive, open-minded thoughts. I don't mean to sound all woo-woo kookyheaded I'm-losing-my-mind (and I hope you're not taking it that way); I just need to open all three of my eyes, step sideways into the unknown, allow myself to be fairy-led, take notes, see what happens. I sense that I'm supposed to be learning something.... Something important....

And I can't do that if I'm spending all my time trying so hard to -- do what, exactly?? -- appear 'normal?' Act like a generic human bean? Not sure. All I know is that today my weird energies have reached some sort of zenith. (Could it have something to do with the Equinox?) Even my dreams have been out-there exotic, so there's no 'sleeping it off' for me.... I have to pay attention.

So, just bear with me while I do this. Or leave me, because that's OK and I'll understand.

But you just might learn something, too. In which case, we can hold hands and learn something

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Leprechaun Tale

A couple days ago I mailed each of the beloved grandbuglets a handwritten note.

The note explained how 'Grampa James discovered a leprechaun hiding in his sock drawer and how he'd agree to free it if it gave him a gold coin for each of the grandbugs, and so it DID, but the next day when he checked on the 'gold' in his pocket, it wasn't gold any longer.' And enclosed with the note was proof: a fat plastic coin with a shamrock stamped on it.

On Saturday James and I FaceTimed with our local 'buglets, and the first thing the 4-almost-5-year-old did was muscle her little brother out of the way in order to hog the camera and demand, "Grampa, did you REALLY see a leprechaun? How big was he? Was he the size of a crayon? Did he have a little green vest? Did he look like this?" And she held a grocery store ad with a Lucky Charms character on it up to the camera lens....

I'd made up the story, but now poor Grampa had to confirm it (oops). To his credit, he winged it beautifully, describing in grand detail how he'd bargained with the leprechaun, and how it begged for its freedom, and how surprised Grampa was to discover the next day that what he thought was gold wasn't gold after all.

All the while he talked, she listened intently with eyes wide, eyebrows high, mouth turned down at the corners. Very intense. And there was a long pause afterward while we sensed the gears turning. Then, in a stage whisper: "Grampa?.... Did you fall for a leprechaun TRICK?"

(We were so delighted by her response that James and I roared with laughter; I hope we didn't embarrass her....)

I suggested we could all set a trap for the sneaky thing, but how would we do that?? And she flew off on a Rube Goldberg tangent: "We could hang a cage from the ceiling and run a wire from it over to the wall and then run the wire across the floor and then when he walked by he'd trip on the wire and the cage would come down and catch him and then I'd grab him and say, 'Give me TWO GOLD COINS -- one for Grampa, one for Gramma, one for Miss Lily, one for Boo, and one for those cute little birds that always try to snackle your fingers off.'"

(SO generous. And to those horrid piranha birds, too, bless her!)

And there you have it: a tale about my brush with the gold at the end of the rainbow and the magick it made one Saturday night. And now I hope some of it's rubbed off on you.

May all your Erin Go Bragh-ing go well today, my friend. And may 'snackle' forever be a word in your lexicon.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Ring and I

Art by J.R.R. Tolkien (LOVE this....)
I almost hate to say this but as far as hobbits, and Tolkien, and lords, and rings, and Lords of Rings are concerned, I am lost. Completely clueless.

(Aaaaaaaaad there goes my 'friends' list.... Bummer....)

Until quite recently the only thing Tolkien-ish that I was even almost marginally vaguely fairly sort of confident about was that hobbits had something to do with hairy feet. And I took a silly Facebook quiz meant to reveal to me just what Tolkien character I'm meant to be, too -- as if that would magickally reveal all -- and I'll have you know that when I got 'Hobbit' I was a little put out about it. Hairy feet? No way. Hairy toes, maybe. (Although not anymore. And forget I even said that....)

Waaaaaay back in my high school days I tried reading Lord of the Rings per a friend's suggestion and I got as far as I-don't-know-how-many-chapters-into-it-exactly and I just caved. Couldn't go on. Couldn't read another word.... I thought I'd lost the friendship, too, when I admitted my failure. But then the friend said, "Everyone gives up at that point. You just have to burn through it until it starts getting good."

Really?? Gah....

I don't often give books second chances let alone multiple chances. But as it turns out, I've revisited Lord of the Rings often over my lifetime. And I've still managed to give up at the same point every dang time. Occasionally revealing this hasn't been the wisest thing I've ever done, either, seeing as how my Renaissance Festival credentials put me in a somewhat Tolkien-knowledgeable circle. I want to be part of the group, but this isn't helping....

Figuring I'd bypass the books by seeing the films sounded like a good idea at first. But little sad-faced Elijah Wood in suspenders and short pants immediately made me think of 'Pa Ingalls' and the whole thing just fell apart at that point. Maybe I just didn't have the Right Stuff....

But then came Martin Freeman.

I heart Martin Freeman. I like his performance style. So casting him as 'Bilbo Baggins' was THE best way to get me to revisit the whole shebang and stay awake for it this time, at least for this prelude-y, this-is-how-it-all-begins bit. And when I learned somewhere (unless I dreamt it) that Mr. Freeman was originally as unfamiliar with Tolkien's works as I, it seemed dipped-in-gold somehow. Special. Serendipitous. I imagined us both on a quest to discover Tolkien together; two of the only people left on the planet who had never heard of Middle Earth. And if awesome Martin Freeman could admit to being out of the hobbit-y loop -- at least until being cast as one -- then I didn't feel so bad. I was in wonderful company.

A while back, James and I saw the first 'Hobbit' film installment in IMAX-3D, and on a whim we chose the high frame rate version. (I know HFR makes a lot of folks crabby, but not this girl; it reminds me of the way programs on 'Masterpiece Theatre' used to feel back-in-the-day, as if they were being broadcast 'live.') It was magickal, although I'll admit I paid way more attention to the details than I did the plot. I watched it again recently in preparation for 'The Desolation of Smaug' and was a little dismayed to discover how much I'd forgotten, or perhaps just missed, as everything about it was a sensational smorgasbord for my eyes.

Revisiting Martin Freeman's 'Bilbo', however, was a delight. Here was a character I could identify with -- someone fearful of Adventure, someone reluctant to leave his comfy cottage and his books, someone who panicked upon discovering he'd forgotten a handkerchief.... Bilbo Baggins was so me.

'The Desolation of Smaug' did not disappoint me. Again, I called around to find it in HFR and was sooooo happy I had. And I left the theater with a lot of questions that my geeky James (himself not much of a Tolkien reader either, having attempted Lord of the Rings as well and given up at exactly the same point) was unable to answer.

Which brings me to last New Year's Eve and my suggestion to James that we finally stream The Trilogy, all in one go. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), he agreed. We made a party out of it and settled in for the long haul. The story was infinitely more do-able this time around. And yet....


Disappointingly, it was still a torturous weekend full of endless Orc battles and impossible-to-pronounce names and boatloads of odd facts that the filmmakers assumed I already knew but didn't. I was left with so many questions!....

By the dawn of January 2nd I really DID feel like I'd been on a quest. (My butt did, too.) I asked James how he felt about us dedicating our New Year's to the Trilogy instead of to our usual Twilight Zone marathon, knowing as I did how reluctant he was to it all originally. He admitted that it was enjoyable, but he was glad to have it behind him now, and he didn't think he'd ever need to see it again. I thought that was fair and I'm kind of in agreement, although part of me wonders how seeing it with a Tolkien fan wouldn't simply answer all my questions once and for all. (Weren't wizards powerful? Couldn't Gandalf just magick all the bad guys away? And what was up with that ending?)

I still know nothing about hobbits and rings and lords of rings. And I may never gain admission to the geeky planet I orbit. But I'll have you know that since Mr. Freeman's delightful performance I have purchased some baggy trousers and a tweedy vest, some totally Old School suspenders and a velveteen jacket. I've worn them, too. I've now got the 'Bilbo Baggins' LEGO character on my fridge. I've ordered more than once off the limited-time shire menu at Denny's! I've searched for 'hairy feet slippers' on and I wear my Tree of Gondor sweatshirt proudly and I've wondered way too often how I'd look with pointy ears (better than you'd think, actually). I've purchased a copy of The Hobbit -- on purpose! -- and it's in my stack of To Reads, because what better way to tackle the Trilogy once and for all than via its prelude?

And in future, when my friend Tony calls me a hobbit, I'll think, "I guess that does kind of describe me, doesn't it? Safely reading about Adventure here in my cozy house with my pot of tea and my shelves of books and my tweedy vest with a handkerchief in its pocket." And I'll consider it a compliment. And for that I'll thank Martin Freeman.


There may just be hope for me. :)