Life will loop back
A coil of time,
A wreath of memories
Hold tight. Ride on.
A curve will come.
A turn to grow.
Till the next loop
For The Daily Post
Life will loop back
A coil of time,
A wreath of memories
Hold tight. Ride on.
A curve will come.
A turn to grow.
Till the next loop
For The Daily Post
The earth, the air, the water;
The sun, the sea, the dust of stars;
The times that passed and built the present;
Things nascent now that
Have not yet become –
We’re none of us alone
Aware or not,
Is and always been
The only way
For The Daily Post
It is time to be a listener.
It is time to look
It is time to know the difference
Yet it’s also time to tell some stories.
Time to let the mind roam free.
Time to open hearts
To let imagination
And it is past all time
To hold compassion.
It is time for patience, too.
Time for kindness
As well as
For The Daily Post
“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.
A little boy on the street this morning: “Mommy, when can I have a play-date with Bobby and Martin?”
Mommy: “You just did on Sunday. Don’t you remember? In the park?”
Little guy: “Yeah, but its already more before than yesterday!”
Mommy (chuckling): “Okay, let me call Bobby’s mom and see if you can play with him later this afternoon or tomorrow.”
Little guy (pedagogically admonishing): “Martin, too, Mommy! We’re friends together!”
Ah, friends together! Best friends are immensely and unquestionably lovely, but in my view–and this little guy’s clear statements–the third wheel theory is wildly overrated. Philosophically speaking, a third wheel can indeed offer an extra level of stability … Truth be told, there’s nothing quite like triple decker fun: gales of laughter multiplied, mischief bubbling like a shaken soda-bottle … Not too few and not too many (and if you’re a skipping gal, enough for double-dutch!)
I can see then in my mind’s eye. Three little fellas: this curly top boy, Bobby, and of course, ‘friends together’ Martin … There they go, conquering the playground and marshaling a bench for headquarters. The Three Musketeers. The Trio. The Triple Besties.
Come to think of it–when is the last time you got together for a tricycle of laughter. How long has it been since you had a play-date of ‘friends together?’
I know it’s been a while for me, and overdue for some revision. How about you?
Three’s company. Pick up the phone. Do not delay. Go play!
Life rushes by.
Essential tasks tick looming.
Hardly a single second left to breathe …
Slow down … take heed …
Even in the midst of chaos,
the heavy endless canyons of dark asphalt,
and sky-high gray concrete,
even in the angry honking of a thousand yellow taxis,
in the press of harried people on the streets,
in the tasks that frustrate waiting,
in the overwhelming wish for time and needs–
Take a moment.
Change your point of view to rise above
and slow the moment’s speed.
It’s there. Believe.
Even in the concrete jungle
There’s a wide green lung
Awaiting, present; a potential reprieve
A slower pace
A gentler space
Reminding you to pause and breathe …
Take some time to be quiet.
Quietude. Do you remember what it is?
“Impossible,” some say. “Unrealistic.”
“Maybe the next time I am on vacation,” others lament wistfully, “… don’t know when … maybe next year. If I can manage it. Somehow.”
In this world of ours, it may be difficult to imagine taking time for quiet. Maybe harder still to figure out how. Logistics, you know. The noise of churning plans.
If you must, make a quiet-date with yourself. And keep it. But if you can let yourself release a moment of control and grab a quiet moment, do so. Today. Now.
Just do it.
Take a minute. Take two breaths. Take five minutes if you can. A half-hour if you’re extra-lucky and the stars align. A few hours if you’ve won the My-Time-Lottery …
Find a bit of quietude. This day.
A bit tomorrow, when you can.
And the next …
Whatever brief respite you clear up in your mind–take it. Make it yours. Be quiet in it. This is worth it for you, but will also pricelessly teach others who need knowing, who forgot the way to be quiet, who maybe had never learned how.
Little ones, too, need quiet time.
Some of them do not know, either. About silence. Constant beeping, typing, video, screen time, phone time, entertainment, play-dates, lessons, coaching, characters and things that move and ping and chime and replay high-pitch recordings.
Brains need quiet like they need oxygen. Like they need love. Like they need soul.
Show them you believe that quietude is important. Show them you know how … begin now …
Oh, I know it is a rare thing; silence.
In this busy, hustle-bustle, to-do lists and beeping phones, email, texts, chats, calls, meetings, reports, social obligations, family events, work mingling, and information pouring in through every moment, every pore … there is noise just about everywhere. A hiss, a buzz, a murmur, background hum of electronics, cars, people, needs, demands, small children, needy neighbors, ailing parents, crises calls …
It is because of all of that that it is all the more important to take time for quiet.
To re-align your center. To restore the foundation of yourself–of who you are and where you’re going and what makes you who you are and what calms your body why and how. Yes, all that in a moment of quietude. For once not in words, but silence.
Take time for quiet.
Let quiet in. Allow it home, again.
Take time for a calm, clear breath and momentarily emptied mind.
A pause for calibrating a brief neutral.
Be silent. Lower volume on your inner critics (they can use a moment of silence, too!).
Just take a moment. Listen to nothing but the beating of your heart, the music of your soul, the nothingness that holds the breath of life around you.
The pulse of nature.
The space between the spaces.
Silent. Powerful. Whole.
Kids are wizards of pointing out minutia of life that can seem quite arbitrary to us. They note things we missed completely. They seem to ‘insist’ on irrelevant details like the way the plate is organized, who got to open the refrigerator this time, or what touches what. Everything takes far LONGER to do with a little one around …
In good part it may well be because their life moves slower. Time is yet to be shackled onto watches and the ticking of a schedule. They pause mid-sleeve, pondering the way light filters through the cloth, unconcerned with how rushed the morning is. They stare in wonder at a pigeon when the light changed and it is time to cross the street. They have an urgent question or need just when you finally sat down to eat.
And they notice. Everything.
They collect each leaf and pebble. There is no such thing in their vocabulary as a “quick run to the store and back” … not when there’s a big exciting world out there. There is endlessness to explore: Cracks in the pavement. Bits of paper flown by winds. Funny people. Yippy dogs. Horns and beeps and squeaks and windows with wonders and when finally at the store, multitudes of candy at eye-level … How could it be that this was not what you came all the way for? …
They teach us patience, that’s for certain.
They also teach us that time is what we make of it. That stress can catch one breath, and relaxation ride right in upon another. That one can laugh before their tears have dried and emotions coexist and flow without a judgment.
They hold a mirror to the things we have forgotten or have misplaced our truth about or have given up on trying to critically examine.
They listen. Even when they do not seem to.
More than most anything else, they note the mismatch of expression, the ambiguity of tone and matter. The odd things our mouths can say and we do not hear.
In part it is because small children are so literal. They get confused when they listen to the WORDS we say and find it not to match the words’ MEANING. Their reaction (and ensuing cuteness) can have us realize hidden ambiguity. They reflect what we once saw and now are almost blind to: how the world works even though words so often mean things they do not really mean.
Want a few examples?
A father talked about his mother looking after the children when he and his wife had to both be away. “She has a heart of gold,” he gushed. His preschooler daughter piped up and added, “no daddy, you forgot. Nana’s TEETH are gold …”
A mother had forgotten something she needed to ask me. “I’ve had it at the back of my head all day,” she sighed, frustrated. Her three-year-old scrambled up onto the couch and took a look, exclaiming, “No mamma, it is nothing there!”
“It is all politics and money,” another parent moped when a kindergarten admission did not go the way she’d hoped, “there’s absolutely nothing new under the sun!” Her almost kindergartener son looked at her sideways. “That not true, Mommy,” he said, rather accusingly. “I have new Spiderman shoes! You forgetting my new Spiderman shoes?!!”
Then there are the cats and dogs that do not really rain; the invisible pins and needles one can be on (and no wonder one’s child refuses to sit where the parent sat a moment prior!!); the feet in mouths (“You can’t do that no more, Daddy. You’re too old. You can’t reach like baby Deena!”); the bleeding hearts (think on that …); the pants on fire…
Language is a treasure trove of meaning, and learning symbolic language is a big task. It calls for the ability to hold two lines of listening: one for the words, another for the context. Children get very good at that around age 5 or so, though they get thoroughly confused before they realize that “listen to what I say” is far from straight forward.
Kids practice logic. They spend a good bit of their time making connections, figuring out how things work and what brings on what. If you pour too quickly, you spill everything. If you push your brother, mom gets cross. If you don’t stop whining, you may lose a privilege. If you mix milk with chocolate syrup magic happens and you get chocolate milk!
They get right fast at figuring out what makes what, and a never-ending list of ‘why’s helps them figure things out. They realize there are desired outcomes and less favorable ones, some adults that are easier to get things from, that there is misfortune and consequence. They get uncannily creative at hopeful attribution of fault …
They map their world into cause and effect. Into how things happen. Who does what.
And sometimes they make connections that are not quite as we would have put them. … Like the little girl with the (newly) pregnant mom, who asked quite loudly and in public: “Daddy, how did God put a baby inside mommy and didn’t tell her about it until she peed on the stick?”
People ask me how I find the time to write. Though I know they often come from a true query, it never fails to puzzle me … For I don’t see how I could not find the time, when to me writing is like breathing. Writing is my heartbeat.
“How do you find the time to breathe?” I want to ask them back. “How do you make time to see, or hear, or learn, or live, or laugh?”
My heart beats in words. It strings them into sentences and puts them forth into the keyboard or the page. There is magic in writing, certainly. It is not something to claim to own but to allow the flow of. It has in it old life and lives that never happened or might or have not yet been found. It embroiders the fine threads of reality and mystery, interwoven as they are through the uncountable miles of words already written by those who came before: their words that I’ve read, their books that scratched their essence into my soul and changed me, the writers who forged manuscripts out of molten core, the teachers who chiseled rawness into finery, the poets who strung words into daisy chains of soul.
It is a force of nature, writing is. A cumulative tide. A mirror of what is and what could be and what still is hoped for. It is a pool of stillness and a roiling sea.
Writing does gather light from the eyes that read it. Through them it reflects the recognition of what unites all spirits, amplifies the rhythm of all hearts, connects the pace of tides, anchors the pull of moons into the hopes and dreams and grime and steepest climbs. Reading eyes infuses writing with continued life. It strengthens words that last into tomorrow. It is as it should be. Writing is meant to be read.
In its nascent state; however, writing unfurls shoots of new breath into pages for the pure joy of its birthing. It evolves for the very marvel of the stem unbending and the leaves uncurling and the buds of something that could never be imagined until it came through, come true.
“Where do you find the time to write?” I’m asked. “I wish I had the time to write, as you do,” some say. “It must be wonderful to be able to make time for writing,” they comment.
And I don’t know the answer for the ‘where’ or ‘how’ or ‘when’ questions. Nor do I have the key for finding more time (though I wish I did, with writing a vast ocean and only splattered drops finding their way into the daily grind). I do not know where one finds more time for living, when life happens to move through already, interlocking stories as we go. The wonder of the writing I do get, however. The deep gratitude for being allowed the magic in the heartbeat, in life’s pace.
“Writing is like breathing,” I want to tell them. “I can no more cease to do it than I can hold my breath. Oh, for a moment, surely, but not much more. For the words fight back and breathe me and sneak out … as they should. They are my heartbeat. The pulse that crosses time and space to hold together human thought, invention, wonder; life.”
I write because I breathe.
Why do you write?
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(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction
Death is not an option, living is. Choose to live life fully!
" C A T T A L E S "
Steve's body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element. www.stevemccurry.com
Speech Language Pathologist for Adults and Children, Manhattan, New York
bilingualism across the lifespan
An Idiot's Guide to Parenting
Speech Language Pathologist, Writer, Blogger -- musings, anecdotes, stories, quotes, life lessons and growth
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Bringing language research into the classroom
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Making sense in an upside-down world
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