Saturday, August 30, 2008

I heard a killing at 5:00 am this morning . . .

At first, it sounded like small children--small girls--whimpering. It sounded like whips beating through the air.

I sat up in bed. Strained against the darkness. Was someone being hurt, outside?

The sounds sharpened. A chipmunk chirped too quickly, bleated out in distress. And the rhythmic beats continued--whirr, whirr, whirr.

I flipped on my bed stand light, hoping to disperse the animals. And their sounds.

The bird--it had to be a bird, most likely a hawk, because of its powerful wings--screeched in victory. The chipmunk shrieked out its terror.

And then the killing outside my bedroom window ended.

I went back to sleep, my light left on.

Nature is frightening. And cruel.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The size and shape of a miracle . . .

Is a miracle the rains of heaven being started or stopped? Is it the great waters being parted or crossed? Is it the friend who comes over, after your tears have run dry, and sits and talks to you about anything?

Is a miracle a realization, a shift in perspective, a way that we didn't before see? Is it a door, a window, a crack, a portal of perspective? Is it an implement offered to us without our knowing what tool to ask for (or even that there is a tool to ask for)?

If so, then I, Olive, have witnessed many miracles.

And, the interesting thing about miracles is that before they happen, one must reach, reach, and reach, by working as hard as she can. The miracle takes us the rest of the way, even when we don't really know which way-what way-this or that way we are going.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sometimes, I wish that I were more like my grandma . . .

My ninety-year-old grandma talks like she'll live forever. Yesterday, she told me that she can't wait until the elections are over (there was a cover story on TV about John Edward's affair, which was trumping the actual political candidates' stories). She also corrected my grandpa on how he was loading the dish washer (she told him to place the utensils so that the eating surfaces faced upward; that way they would get cleaner. I told her that I often place some utensils up and some down but that my sister is very particular about how she loads the dishwasher, to which my grandma responded, "I'm that way too.").

I've been thinking about why it is that I keep preparing myself for my grandma to die (one reason is that I will be totally devastated), while my grandma lives as if she’ll live forever.

Today, I was thinking about how I like that my grandma tells me to come back and visit, that she asks me how California was and that she’d love to be sitting on the beach right now watching the dolphins, and that she is aware of what’s happening in the world and cares which way the utensils are inserted in the dishwasher.

I think my grandma has one of those iron wills to live. She values life. And me? I think my will just isn’t that strong. I’m afraid I’d be talking about my broken bones (my grandma has some) and about how I didn’t know if I would make it one more day (my grandma told me a story about almost not waking up at dialysis, but that’s as close as she’s ever come to talking about death. And even then she was irritated that the tech didn't shake her awake and call the nurse).

Anyway, sometimes, I wish that I were a little more like my grandma.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why . . .

I am trying to get back into the writing mode--write the blog, write some emails, write up stuff for work, write the novel--but it's difficult. Why is it so difficult?

Is it because I have too many big things to think about? Is it because the stress level is ramped up to such a level that passersby can hear the bass booming from inside of me? Is it because I only have so much time to wind up everything that needs winding up, formulate everything that needs formulating, and get in an un-burned-out state, so that I can carry on in a meaningful way? Is it because it is summer and summers are meant to be enjoyed?

One hour a day. That's all I need to do. One hour would get me started, right?

But in ten days, on the 20th of August, I have to email out 25 pages of my novel to a critique group that I was inducted into, and I would prefer that those 25 pages were good. Drivel is embarrassing. And if I write for ten hours, I won't have 25 pages. If I write for 25 hours, I won't have 25 pages. If I write for 50 hours, maybe . . .