Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Music of Sounds

I opened my friend, Lin's blog this morning. She'd written about music and asked for a response from her readers telling her what their favorite music was. That should be pretty easy to answer... but, as is my habit, I had to make it difficult. Let me share some of my answer here:

There are moments when I hear Billy Joel's "It's my Life" and my feet all but run away with me. I just can't sit or stand stlill when I hear that song. It's joyous and exhilarating. I absolutely love music that makes me want to move.

I also love slightly melancholy songs and songs with great swells of sound (think The Lost Chord, Ave Maria, Rachmaninoff) I like country music with lyrics that make me smile, music of the 40's most of the 50's. Heck, I even like some elevator music. But, she asked for our favorite.

The truth of it is that I often turn on the sound system when I'm home alone, but I don't listen to it the majority of time. I really like natural sounds. Music to my ears is:
The crunch of gravel in the driveway when Wayne returns home from an errand, the dogs playing with each other in the yard, the rush of water in the creek. I love the sound of my kids talking to each other in the next room, the door closing when the kids come in late at night, the teapot whistling, water running in the shower, the refrigerator door opening and closing. I like the sound of flip flops and bathroom slippers, my family's footsteps no matter where they are and what's on their feet, a neighbor knocking at the door, and hearing the clack, clack, sputter, chugg of the lawnmower while I'm outside working in the flower gardens.

Sometimes the music of a piano, quitar, violins and harps, or a soothing baritone voice, although most pleasant, serves to filter out those sounds that bring me the most contenment. So, my favorite music? The soft noises that remind me just how lucky I am. I like enough silence in my world to enable me to hear them well...and often.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

And I knew

November was the month of my birth.

I was ushered into mortality and it's myriad adventures in the 11th month of 1941.

One such adventure began in another November nearly thirty years later.

He stood at the top of the stairs. His hair was sunstreaked with the same pale yellow as his shirt. He didn't speak, he didn't smile. He just pulled himself to his full height and looked down to where I stood. We were introduced. He turned and walked down the hall without uttering a sound.

"What an odd young man" was the only thought I had as I crossed the road and entered my apartment. I wondered if he was shy, ill and unable to speak, or possibly just rude.

Soon, I was pulled from my musings by the noise of roommates coming home and excitedly talking about the cute, new guy who had just moved into our B.Y.U. "family". "Did you see how tall he is?" "His eyes are so blue." "Did you hear what he said when I asked him where he'd been the first couple months of the semester?" "He was so funny." "I love the way he moves." "He does seem sort of quiet."

Quiet? Did I hear someone say quiet? Mute, was the word that popped into my mind. Aahhh, well. It looked like he'd be well received and befriended by the young women in our small group, anyway.

That evening we had a gathering in our yard to introduce him to all of the members of our family. He sat aloof in a corner watching the activities with detached interest. Hot chocolate was passed around to everyone. As I walked up to ask how he was feeling about the guys he shared his new home with, he offered me the steaming cup in his hand. "No thanks, I answered him. I prefer hot egg nog." We exchanged a few words and I moved on as several of the girls swooped in around him.

I saw him several times over the next couple of weeks. We spoke briefly on a few occasions. Then during a family fireside one night, he turned to me and asked, "Just how old are you, anyway?" I laughed, answered him directly, and turned to grab a cookie off the plate that was teetering precariously on the arm of the couch behind me. Then, I took a deep breath and made the plunge. "Tell me a little about what you want to do with the rest of your life." I full well expected him to pull back under his protective shell of silence. But, his soft voice began to weave dreams... he told me of his love for the outdoors, of his desire to work with young boys who society was prepared to toss aside and declare as lost. His goals to do something began to take a turn and be replaced with a purpose to become something. I was mesmerized.

The following night, we had a dinner at our apartment for all of our family members. I had invited my beautiful, best friend to meet this young man who had suddenly become enchanting. I also had invited my boyfriend. Just that evening I had knelt in prayer and told my Heavenly Father that Jerry and I had made the decision to take our relationship to the next level. We were talking eternity. I told Him that unless He did something to stop me, I had decided to become Jerry's bride.

I've learned that when you ask, be prepared to be answered. At one point during the evening I went into the kitchen to help carry out dessert. While I was away, Jerry leaned across my dinner plate and asked my best friend to do him the honor of accompanying him for a nice meal and a play later that week. When I was told by my startled friend what took place in my short absence, I was devestated. A set of blue eyes sitting across the table had been watching with sympahty and understanding as this minor drama unfolded.

After the dishes has been washed and put away and everyone had gone to their seperate destinations, I sat in darkness and talked with the Lord. "Okay, I get it. The message came through. He is NOT who you have in mind. Couldn't you have been a little less brutal in letting me know?"

There was a quiet knock at the door. There he was, blue eyes downcast. Snow was settled on his blonde hair like an old night cap. "I thought I'd go buy some ice cream. Would you like to tag along?" I didn't feel like going out in the storm... but somehow I found myself putting on a coat and following him out to his old grey Chevy. I waited in the car while he ran into the store. When we were back home, he invited himself in. I sat on the couch as he went in the kitchen and began to rattle in the cupboards for... well, I couldn't tell what. In a few minutes he was standing before me holding a cup of hot egg nog and extending it toward me. I began to cry. He pulled me from where I sat and said, "You silly Californians. I bet you think the sky is falling. It isn't. It's just snow. See, you have snowflakes melting in your eyes." Cheesy? Perhaps. But also sweet and full of tenderness and compassion.
And I knew.

That night, Wayne took my heart in his hands and ushered me toward our eventual marriage and it's myriad adventures. It was the 11th month of 1972. He has since nourished and watered my soul as you would a flower garden. Through his care, I have grown and blossomed.

November was the month of my re-birth.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicken nuggets and Superman

In answer to my query... blog is the accepted abbreviation for
Web Log. I'd be willing to bet every last one of you knew that... but, since no one told me, I'm informing one and all that I'm no longer one of only 42 people in the entire universe who had no idea where the silly sounding word "blog" came from.

I'd really like to write more. But, when you lead a very quiet life in a very quiet town, there just isn't a whole lot of shakin goin on to report about.

There's a poem that I sent to Wayne in the early days of our marriage that sort of says it:

I think about you often
And I'd write you every day
But, there's so very little
That seems worthwhile to say

It either snows or doesn't snow
It's either warm or cold
The news is all uninteresting
Or else, it's all been told

The only thing that matters
Is the fact that you are there
I am here, without you
So it's lonesome everywhere

There's more, but it gets a little bit personal after this point.

I'm back to sitting in my office in Fairview looking out at the covered bridge and the mountains surrounding our valley. I'm no longer making chicken nuggets for the grandkids, but chicken sandwiches for Wayne. I'm no longer reading "Jan ran to the van to get a pan" with Brannock, but reading books that help an adult stretch her mind. I'm not playing hide and seek, but seeking for where the lost socks are hiding. And I'm no longer basking in the glow of hugs and smooches from tiny arms, but missing them terribly. It's true that when I'm away for a while I forget the noise quotient in a house full of little boys. And every time I visit with the grandkids I have to adjust to the rowdiness and high pitched voices that haven't learned to whisper. But, it's such a kick to be with them. They're so totally "without guile"... so full of surprises and sunshine for the soul. I love it! And, of course, it's always comforting to sleep in a house protected by superman himself.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

young chicks, old dogs...

I've been reading some of the posts written on my neice's, and some of Chandi's good friend's,
"blogs" There's Jade and Cali, Tessa, and Summer. There's Maria, Tara and Stacia. And, of course when she's not basking in the sun on a beach somewhere in the Bahama's...there's my own little girl, Chandelar. Young chicks all.
Those days are faded memories for me now. I'm all sqawk and not much strut anymore.
I was thinking about that this morning while looking at the towers of snow that are slowly melting in the yard. I've been telling myself that the productive, fertile days of being a young chick are behind me now. What a ridiculous thought!! Why in the world would anyone try to convince themselves that they're past the time to create, and develop their gifts, and contribute to the laughter and wisdom of their circle of influence. Pretty crazy. And I've decided that even if my feathers are falling out (that's a loose translation. I'm losing my hair) I can still strut what stuff I have left... and I can have a good time doing it. What's more, the old dog I share my life with still thinks I look like a tasty dish now and then. So what have I lost?? Not a thing that hasn't been replaced with something else of value. Do I look good in a swim suit? ha ha ha ha aahhhhh ha ha ha. Of course not! Can I wear really cute capri's and t's (you know, like Chandi wears) and not look silly? Not often... and less often than I try to, that's for sure. Can I chase kids around the yard and climb hills to fly kites with them? Certainly... but I can't do it without huffing and puffing and suffering mightily for it later that night.
So what? I have the time to read and paint and sculpt and write and think. I can listen to kith or kin as long as necessary to salve a breaking or sorrowing heart. I can go for a leisurely stroll and not have to worry about being home when school's out. I can leave my sculpture on the dining table and give no thought whatsoever to who might put their little fingers in it. Life is delicious at every stage! I don't want to go back. I want to move forward. But, oh! How I love to peek in on the lives of those who are in the mid morning years of their lives. It's such a treat for someone who is living in the twilight of hers.
Thank you one and all for allowing me to read and remember. I'm so very moved by each of you and the wisdom, insight, and joy that you express. Here's to youth, and old age, and everything in between!

The Bird, the Bug and the Bean

The kids were playing, very ACTIVELY playing, in the family room Monday night. Brannock was flying from one couch to the other. They had every pillow and a third of the blankets in the house piled on the floor. Occasionally, Brannock would fly into the middle of the pile. Then he'd get up and flit from one room to another, a constant blur of motion. Ryson was sitting on the floor looking like the cute little bug that he is, when every now and then, his older brother would drop, almost mid flight, flat onto him, squishing him into the mound of pillows. Keaton, in the mean time, started to reek, as had been his habit every hour on the hour for the several days. So... I mentioned that I was going to call Brannock, "Bird" because he was always flitting and flying around the house... I was going to call Ryson, "Bug" because he was always getting squished and he was so darn cute... and I was going to call Keaton, "Bean" because he always smelled like he'd eaten too many beans, (I know you get my drift, we've talked about it before). Anyway, they thought it was funny. Keaton keeps saying, "I'm Bean, huh Gigi? I'm Bean" He's pretty taken with the name. (It may have somethihg to do with little boys and the strange affection they have for anything even closely related to bathroom humor.) Brannock has told several people who've popped in for visits that they have new names and proceeds to rattle them off. Let's see, that's Dustin, Davin, Dallin, Grandma, Lindsay, Trina and my good friend, Patti. So, Bird, Bug, Bean and Gigi are having a good time calling each other nicknames while listening to the snow and icicles fall off the roof. I suspect that we'll continue to have a good time with it until mom and dad come home and abolish the new handles. Isn't "handle" a strange thing to call a name? I wonder where and how that originated.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Going, going, gone...

I just read something on my good friend, Lin's blog that got me to thinking a bit. Oh, oh, huh?
She mentioned that another month is gone. I don't know why that hit me the way it did. Another month has slipped past...almost unnoticed, barely recorded in my memory. Another cluster of moments... many mis-spent, some productive, too few filled with short, yet precious snippits of time that will comfort me during snowstorms, sleepless nights, and lone, introspective walks.
I want to take the days yet unlived in February and fill them with more of those moments that will wrap themselves like tentacles around my heart. I don't know how many more breaths I will be allowed to take, but I want to breathe in the love of family and friends with every last one of them. Less time looking for cobwebs, watching mindless television programming, and sitting in a real estate office while my husband is home, walking the dog, building a snowman, or reading a book by the fire without me. Lin suggested that perhaps we are trying to leave recorded history and wisdom on our blogs much like the ancients left notes for future generations with their rock art. Am I leaving words of wisdom? I can talk wisdom fairly well now and then, so perhaps a certain number of my words may lift one of them on occasion. But, I don't live very wisely. I would like to take on the maturity that should be a part of aging and live in such a way that what they have SEEN me do would be my legacy, and not what they have heard me say...or what they have read that I've written. It's so much easier to talk and write than to live with wisdom and clarity. So... I raise my glass to better times ahead in this month of loving and lovers. I make a toast to renewed commitments.
I will strive to keep my loved ones at the center of my actions, not just my thoughts. I will try with more energy to savor the moments of solitude, to taking in and digesting new thoughts, and to finding ways to make someone else's burden a little lighter. I'm finding that opportunities for prayer are made, not stumbled upon... and that they become more important and sweeter to me with each daybreak, each nightfall. I listen more, and remain still longer, when I pray. It helps me to know that the Savior is there, at that very moment, listening and comforting and whispering what He would have me do....that He is watching over my children, that He loves them as I do... and that He will stand with them and help them find companionship and purpose, and to feel accepted and complete.
This is Cordell, standing at the shore, with his poets heart, soaking in the serenity that he finds in the myriad beauties of creation. He's not always content with his solitude, but he no longer seems afraid of it. He has reached that point at a much younger age than I. So perhaps it is he who is showing the way to live wisely. Yet another example of my children teaching and leading me as they so often do. I am always and forever grateful that each of them has been a part of this mortal existance. I suspect that they were a part of my pre-existant state as well. They are premier among all that is holy in my life.