Listen Up!

Sounds can tell us what is going on around us. We can close our eyes and sounds help us know where we are and what is happening . “The Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson is a powerful title because it is very difficult to imagine spring without the sound of birds singing. Right now it is early morning and I get to hear the bird symphony. This is one of the sounds that tells me I have another day to create joy, or waste with worry. Listen up!

I grew up on a farm in Iowa, and I loved the sounds that surrounded me. Lying in my bed in the early morning, I heard birds sing, roosters crow, and the muted sound of my parents conversation in the kitchen. The roosters crowing was impolite. My sleep was interrupted without apology, but I still appreciated the unrestrained and majestic quality of the roosters’ song. My twelve brothers and sisters and I agree on just one thing, and this is like herding deaf cats. The sound from our childhood we all remember and loved, was the sound of the train whistles as trains passed in the night. The train tracks were a couple of miles away, but the sound of the train whistle carried far in the quiet nights of rural Iowa. The train whistle was a lonely sound but strangely it was also a comforting sound like a lullaby. If we awoke during the night and heard the train whistle it was easy to fall back to sleep. It meant all was well….

I read the animal sound books to my son, but I told him the real animal sounds were different. When we visited the farm he got to hear all the animals making their real sounds. Ducks don’t
“Quack, Quack”, cows don’t “Moo”, pigs don’t “Oink, Oink” and of course roosters don’t say”Cock-a-doodle-do”. The real deal is not on the page: cows are in the pasture, pigs in the mud-wallow, and ducks are swimming in dirty pond water. The “meany”rooster we named Virgil crowed like other roosters, but he also attacked my baby brother with intent to do serious
harm. True story.

The sweetest sounds are the voices of people I love. Just a “hello” and I know who they are. Mom’s hello is tentative, almost afraid. She does not trust that the phone usually brings good news; trauma was a staple of her childhood. “Watch me Mommy.”is often heard while kids play on the playground. They don’t worry if they are worthy, or good enough for Moms’ attention. I can hear my son’s voice calling me to watch him, and I still do today. I try to remember Roger’s voice before he got sick and how he called me “Dinker”. He was a great storyteller and I would be so honored to hear his stories one more time. His voice got very weak as his dementia progressed, and I would have to be close to hear him. Our goodbye at the end of our visits was always the same–Danita: Who loves you? Roger: You do. Danita: Who loves me? Roger: I do. Danita: Who loves each other? Roger and Danita: We do! Roger will always be like the whistle of the train passing in the night, my lonely lullaby.

Nobody Special

I am bruised. I was ignored at another brutal HOA meeting. Please do me the courtesy of arguing with me, so at least I will be sure that you see me and hear me.

I feel old and discounted. I guess I really am…

Nobody Special

I am still hoping
My 15 minutes of fame
Hasn’t happened yet.
I don’t think it will.

My self -worth doesn’t stick
To my Teflon self.
I slide out and
Make a mess.

The road less travelled?
Too late…
I chose the illusion of security
And that exit was many years ago.

I meet the young and ambitious on the road.
This is the direction I chose.
Wrong way/ one way street/ do not enter.
I am an obstacle in the road.

“Hey old lady
Get out of the way!”
At least they see me
I am not invisible.

I need a big old tree
So I can sit in an elbow
High up and quiet,listening to the birds.
The birds [and my doggies] don’t care that I am

Nobody special.
When I was a child I would ask my Mom who was going to be at an event. She would say “Nobody special, just the families that live around here.” I wonder who were the special ones and why they were special?

Crocheting Courage

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forest Gump

Forest Gump , brilliantly played by Tom Hanks, didn’t study the chocolate diagram or the descriptions of each chocolate. He taste-tested the chocolates, and found some to his liking and others not. Let’s call this the trial and error method. Or making it up as you go along. “Stupid is as stupid does”, or a courageous way to live?

Does taking a calculated risk mean more courage and fewer bad choices? Does calculation or”exercise of practical judgement” increase your odds and decrease fear. I do pro and con lists, worst case scenarios and collect copious information on alternatives, and then….. I am paralyzed. When the time comes to act, my courage is often buried under a mountain of facts. I need a course on “How to Find Your Courage”, but then I would fill my brain and many notebooks with how to’s and be back where I started.

After many wasted years of “self-Improvement”, I now believe Nike nailed “courage” when they said “Just Do It!” When I first saw these ads, I thought they were stupid and shallow. I can’t “Just Do It!” I thought, not until I find my courage! And then I heard this quiet voice inside asking me to fill in the blank. I can ______. I can run one lap. I can call about a class. I can talk to that cute guy at the gym. I can learn to play banjo. I can write one sentence or one paragraph. Take a tiny step. If you do it,courage will come, so “Just do it!”

So how can crocheting , “Just do crochet!” be an act of courage? Crochet hardly seems dangerous or scary. I suffered a nasty stress fracture of my foot during the hell of trying to get a diagnosis for Roger. The final straw was having to use one of those rolling things to get around and keep all weight off my foot. I just couldn’t work under those conditions, so I took medical leave. My leather recliner became my own little island. I sat a lot because it was just too hard to move from place to place, and I eventually broke the chair!! So what to do when you are terrified to find out what is wrong with your husband and stuck in a chair…crochet of course! I learned to crochet and crocheted my chair and my heart inside pretty patterns of yarn. Of course, I could not stop the disease that was slowly turning Roger into unrecognizable pieces, but I could crochet.

I crocheted to stop the unraveling of my life. It was truly an act of courage to slide the yarn thru my fingers, and learn many difficult patterns. I still crochet, and I tell myself “Just do it!”. I can crochet, one row at a time.