Monday, February 15, 2010

Ode to My Daughter, Twenty-Five This Day, February 15, 2010

A quarter century ago, a beautiful woman with a dimpled, cameo face was born, her skin still creamy from the inner world. To her amazed parents, she was so uncommonly alive, so full of breath and determination, that disbelief and wonder vacillated between them. She was their treasure, as money they had not.

Refusing to be treated as a china doll, the woman watched the oooo’s and aaaaa’s formed by her parents’ mouths, but let out her own wild yell when enough was enough. Holding her required rough treatment, or she’d yell all day. Alone in a rocking wooden cradle was her preference, or bounced over the shoulder, arm cradling, not.

Her life started the day after St. Valentine’s Day. The separation between her first day of life and that seemingly fabled day of love mattered, though the taste of frosted cut-out cookies and conversation hearts reached her umbilically. This may have begun the sensitivity of her stubborn stomach easily turned into knots.

The days and years since proved difficult enough that her determination and beauty served her well. She smote those within her icy, dreamy, alluring stare and rose to conquer those things her passions desired or not.

What comforts she may have sought from her distracted parents proved stark, if at all. She learned to read what floated in the air—words, thoughts, impending conflict, promises of ice cream or trips to the park—so wears she a chain mailed heart where the wind is full of torture and arrows seek her not.

She won’t be left behind or forgotten, though you’ll find her quieted in a spot where the walls endure her morning stare and listen to her cares. Give her a mountain to climb, an ocean to cross, a tree to perceive, a flower to prove, an idea to believe or stretch into lines of long prose, and she is up for the challenge—except when she’s not.

Like her mother, like her father, (she resembles them both), she’s remarkably endeared to that curly-haired girl whose demeanor surprises between good and horrid. The predictability of which remains a mysterious combinat

ion of constellations, colic, and tragicomedy. Expect concealed sentiment. Tease out her winning smile, but trust it not.

Though infinitely loved and sought by many, she’ll count her friends and loves with two hands. If you tell her you love her, she rarely believes, she watches your actions, the things left unsaid, seeing, instead, the day you will leave. Beware the one seeking to tie up loose strings, those things dismissed as meaningless in the procurement of love, into what the world’s elders call the truelove knot.

Know your buttons, your wares, books and words bird by bird; know pastries, gardens, vegetables all; know waters, tonics, teas and coffees; know bands and their alternatives, the art on the wall. If with this century-old woman you wonder what ought? Forget all you know since with her you’ll know naught!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Swedish Wildlife

There are two reasons I’m typing this note by the kitchen sink. First, the countertop is at the right height for standing and typing. Second, the floor is warm underfoot.

Other fine reasons are that the hot water for tea is here and there is a window looking out over the vecker (beautiful) vinter (winter) underländet (wonderland). (At least that’s how I’d like to write my Swedish. Alas, it’s probably wrong. We were still eating when Phil took his dishes to the sink.

“Warning!” Phil said. “There is a spider in the sink. I thought you should know.”

“Thanks!” I said, “Why didn’t you take it out?”

Silence (a typical response).

I figured it was a Daddy Long-Legs (I don’t know the scientific name) like most of the spiders around here in the winter. Hunter tuned my mind in even closer by asking, “Why do they only have Daddy Long-Legs in Sweden?”

We explained that there were more spiders around here, but that they were generally not harmful.

When I finished eating, I took my dishes to the sink.

“Oh!” I said, surprised to see a Tegenaria atrica female (for you scientific types since I don’t know the common name) holding her ground of about two by two inches. “Why DIDN’T you take the spider out?” I asked Phil a little bit more insistently, as he cleaned up the table and I got the flyswatter.

“It wouldn’t have fit down the sink,” was his reply.

“Hmmm. I think it was something else,” I said, letting the spider climb onto the swatter, opening the back door and flinging him out onto the snow.

The spider ran across the top of the snow as if he were headed somewhere, then stopped.

“Ever seen a spider run along the top of the snow?” I asked, closing the door and watching.

“No!” he said, turning around quickly to look out the window (made you look, made you look!). We watched the spider stand still in the cold morning.

“I figure the birds will like it,” I said, turning away to get ready for work and school. Under my breath I said, “What a wuss.”