Netted

Photo Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

“Looks like a tennis ball on steroids,” Linda squinted at the gray blob.

Ethan rolled his eyes and turned the screen so it faced him again. “Definitely not a tennis ball.”

He shouldn’t have caved and showed her. Not that he ever did manage to withstand her pleading. Linda’s persistence could persuade a zebra to do away with its stripes.

“A cement globe?” She pressed.

Ethan shook his head.

“Am I at least getting warmer? Oh! Is it a post-global-warming thing?”

He sighed. It was hopeless. Might as well give it up.

“It’s Pluto, barely netted by the Sun.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Pictures on Pavement

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

Shirley Baker children draw on pavement France 1960

 

Find time for drawing

Pictures

On the pavement of your mind.

Remember

The dry feel of chalk on fingers

The odd satisfaction in

Colors

Merging in the rain.

Put aside the rush of feet

The soles of to-do lists

The pressures of perfection.

Pavement pictures do not require

Standards

Other than imagination and

A bit of emptiness,

A soft rock,

A hand.

Make room for pavement pictures

On the pace-space

Of your mind.

Let the squiggles free

So the sketch

You never knew was there

Could stretch

A doodle

To the sun.

Breath of Space

Take a breath in the streaming rays

Feel the light fill up your days

Know the sun

The dappled warmth

Sense the earth supporting

verdant growth

Hear the wind whisper stories to the grass, the fronds, the palms

and

Find the space that holds your heart inside your calm.

From Pintrest: Thailand

From Pintrest: Thailand

Find Your Pace

rollercoaster

“I think life is moving too fast. I can’t keep up.”

My friend’s face on the chat’s screen was drawn. She has been through some hectic times. Her father fell and broke his hip two weeks before, cascading into issues that required not only the logistical reorganization of everyday life from an independent elder to someone who would not be likely to return to his home of 60 years; but also the emotional and psychological support for both herself and her father at this sudden change. An active retiree, her father was usually out and about, fishing, carpentering, flirting with a few old ladies at the retiree club he frequented. My friend lived only 15 minutes away, and visited often, but he rarely asked for her help. When he did, she suspected it was more as a point of connection and to let her “feel needed” than due to actual need for her assistance.

One burnt light-bulb later, and it all changed.

Life’s pace for both of them shifted. Her father’s life turned mostly idle, his days passing with him sedately in his bed, or at most in a wheelchair. Where he had counted months and weeks and days in plans and projects; he now counts hours as he waits for meals, physical therapy, and his daughter’s calls and visits. For my friend, life sped to calculating minutes into which to fit things. She juggles her job and two children, her home and preparing it for winter, the recent flooding of her basement, coordinating the care for her father, orthodontist appointments for one son, college applications for another, all while trying to manage the stress and grief and worry without losing so much sleep that she is no good in the morning.

Things do not let up. Her father is to be discharged from the nursing home very soon, and he will need a long term placement where he could continue to get care now that other systems in his body have decided to give in to old age. To top things off, she just found out there is a problem with her car that will require her to leave it for repairs for several days. The logistics of a simple car rental outdid her just the night before.

“I can’t keep up,” she stated, sadly shaking her head.

“Maybe you don’t need to–or at least, not with everything,” I suggested.

She glared at me a moment. Then her eyes softened–she knows I understand a bit about overwhelm. “How?” she asked, voice shaking now, maybe with just a hint of hope that there can be a way off of the roller-coaster and into calmer rides. “How, when it all needs to get done …”

We brainstormed, and she realized that she had accumulated quite a few vacation days. The original plan was to use the lot for a cross-country trip with her kids–and her father–but these plans may  well change some anyway. It could do more good to take some of those days now. Even three days off would give her time to check out retirement-homes in the area without the stress of rushing from work to try and get catch administrators before they left for the day. It would allow her to learn more about the financial and logistical burdens her father will now face and what support can be made available. No less importantly–a few days off will give her just a bit of time for herself.

She decided to take four, luxuriating in the concept of creating time.

The realities to juggle did not change but her pace did. She found a way to slow it just a tad to give herself some sense of traction. Renting that car no longer seemed so daunting. She laughed that she would see if they had one in red, just because she always wanted do drive one that color. She friend relaxed just knowing there’d be an opportunity to catch up, pay bills, cook everyone’s favorite fall stew, drink her coffee sitting down, take a bubble bath.

“I forget,” she noted before we hung up our Skype connection. “I think so much about making sure everyone else has time to decompress, that I get squashed and do not notice until I am frantic.”

“So many of us do,” I told her. “I think this is where we can hold a mirror for one another and remind each other how to find a better pace.”

I am no longer worried about my friend. She found her balance, as she had helped me find my own once in a while. We do that for each other, calibrating pace.

Life rushes. We all rush on, attempting to catch up … But for today, may you find your best pace. A place to pause, a breather in the midst of life’s amazing and yet often tiring long race.

Rest your mind, calm your heart

Small Angels

beach

I was on the beach the other day, breathing in the surf and listening to the chortling of playing children, the call of gulls, the whistle of the lifeguard at too-deep-straying-swimmers, the sound of air flapping through flags and sun-umbrellas. All was calm. The late afternoon sun played hide-and-seek behind the clouds, the light strung rhythms with the shadows and made the water dance.

A woman sat nearby me. I saw her when I arrived. There was a halo of space around her, a sort of boundary that others somehow did not cross even on a fairly populated stretch of sand. She had her beach gear all in line: the chair, the sun-umbrella, the cover-up, the towel, the hat, the shades, the bottle of water in its designated armrest hollow, the requisite paperback. There should have been nothing about her to stand out from the many others on the beach, and yet there was that halo … and something amiss about it. A gloom of sort, a yearning, even. A separation that hung above her, overshadowing the light and sun. The energy of it drew my eyes to her, and I felt pulled in by her need yet uncertain how to assuage it when her posture and avoiding of eye-contact also said “leave me alone” and “don’t ask me anything.”

How does one offer support to another about whom one knows nothing and yet perceives wishes no intrusion? I’m a talkative one, and usually make easy conversation with people around me (family teens have repeatedly rolled their eyes at me for that, asking “do you have to talk to everyone …?”), but sometimes chatting feels like an intrusion and the wrong connection. So I fell back on the good thoughts alternative, sending wishes for ease. In Therapeutic Touch this is a way of using intentional compassion to gently direct some of the universal flow of life and kindness to another, with the intent of healing and restoring equilibrium in whatever way that person needs and can do at the time. It is an offering of compassion for the sake of offering it, without intrusion or attachment to the outcome of how or if it would be used.

Regardless of healing intentions and their acceptance, I hoped that whatever her heartache or process or sorrow,  that she be provided with whatever she needs for relief. If anything I offered did help, it would not be anything I was doing, anyway. Healing never is done onto another. All healing, by its very definition, is an act of making whole, of self-repair.

The surf flowed. Waves licked the sand, retreated, returned. The shadows elongated, lingered. An hour passed, dusk was arriving, some families were readying to leave, others–mostly with small ones that need to keep out of direct sun–were just arriving.

A movement caught my eye. A little guy in swim trunks to his ankles and a full head of (literally) sandy curls was traipsing purposefully on the sand. I looked up, automatically scanning for the caregiver. Protectiveness toward children is hard-wired in me and I have returned my share of wandering tykes to their minders over time. It is rarely a critic of care, really. It is not difficult to lose sight of a small person in the thick of people. Short of leashing the small ones to one’s wrist for safekeeping, all it takes is one second of head turned to tend to another child, to have a little one slip by.

No worries. This one had a watchful mama five steps behind.

I caught her eye, and we smiled at each other, connected over the shared attention to this determined little one, who not once turned to look behind him. He might have been oblivious to being followed or knew with total clarity that there were those who had his back … Maybe both. Sandy-Curls trudged on, little feet sinking in the sand with every sturdy step. He glimpsed at me as he got closer, but his eyes roamed away–I was not his source of interest, just a section of the scenery. His concentration made me smile.

It was the woman, I suddenly realized. He walked right into her ‘halo’, the several feet of space around her chair where no one–no child or adult or stray ball or gull–had yet trespassed. She looked up, surprised and not smiling but maybe curious or wondering whether he was lost, somehow, to come her way.

Oh, but he was not.

The little guy walked right up to her chair, lifted a dimpled arm, and unfurled a sandy fist. There was a shell in it. He moved his palm toward her, offering. A gift. She took it, too startled to smile. Sandy Curls nodded solemnly, then turned and walked away, toward the water and his mom. The mother and I exchanged looks, her eyebrow lifted in amusement. “He does that all the time,” she said. “Finds a shell and designates it for someone …”

He reached her and hugged her thigh and she patted his head lovingly. He looked at me then and I smiled and he grinned back, sunshine dancing in his honey-colored eyes. One hand he gave to his mother, the other he waved “Bye” at me, then turned and waved “Bye” at the woman, who still stunned waved back, now smiling–at him, at me, and his mother. Her ‘halo’ gone.

A little angel in the sand.

 

beach toes