27 December 2012

A Little Something to Think About

Imagine what the world would be like if all of the thinkers, artists, creators, musicians, writers, poets, scientists, inventors and innovators who are currently spending their time and energy raising children, working 9-5 to pay the bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, driving freeways during rush hours, making meals, and finding socks for other people were instead spending their time creating wonderful, beautiful, life-transforming things for the rest of us.

...if the next great novel is trapped inside a guy who has to sit in a toll booth 8 hours a day.

...if the next great medical breakthrough is stuck inside the brain of a young woman who is working full time and still can't afford to go to medical school.

...if the most beautiful painting you've ever seen is hiding inside the fingers of a mom who uses those fingers to fold laundry instead.

I saw a photo on Facebook the other day of a coffee bug emblazoned with the words ART BEFORE HOUSEWORK on it.

I'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to put Art before Housework, and Work-work, and other people's homework, and food-work, and childrearing-work.  I don't get enough sleep as it is.

No answers here.  Just random ponderings.  And a wish or two that I could live just a little bit more ART BEFORE HOUSEWORK.

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11 December 2012

You know you have a big family when...

...you are flooded with relief and gratitude by the realization that you no longer have to open a car door or fasten a seatbelt for anyone -- besides yourself.

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06 December 2012

Pay Attention

"The greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child." 
-- Thomas A. Edison --
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I found this video on the internet today.  Everyone with a child should watch it.  Actually, everyone with a brain should watch it.

Yes, that means you.


Just one of the brilliant nuggets:  The connections we pay most attention to will be strengthened while the ones we use less will be pruned.

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01 December 2012

Welcome the Wild

It's a dark and stormy night.

These nights deliver my favorite sound, right to my doorstep.  Well, to my rooftop, actually.  When I was a child, my attic bedroom was a symphony on rainy nights, with a rushing creek right outside the window.  Now that sound of rain on the roof tells me that mine was a good childhood because whenever I hear it I feel safe and happy.

The bittersweet thing about rainy nights is that they really mess up our garden, which means lots of yard work is in our future.  That would the royal "our," since I don't actually do most of that work, but suffice to say, bad weather means someone around here has to work his backside off to clean everything up.

Today, I was sitting at an uncharacteristically clean table, making some notes about things I need to do, and I drew the curtain back to look out over the garden.  The rain was pouring out of the sky and the wind was mixing up the entire yard.  It was beautiful -- rainy, sloppy, slipping into mayhem -- but also wild and living.  On my to do list, I wrote:
Messy, soggy, damp and weedy,
Leaves and apples sinking deeper,
Rain and wind churn the earth,
Roiling matter and wreaking havoc,
Havoc where we once placed order, or tried to.  
One some other sunny day, we shall unpack the gift of righting it once more.

Some other day, but not today.  Today, I just took a deep breath and watched the wild outside my window.  It didn't occur to me then, but when I think about it now, still listening to rain at my windows and watching my garden go to hell in a hand basket, I remember this quote from Michael Pollan, which I've written about before:  "Relations are what matter most, and the health of the cultivated turns on the health of the wild."  

That seems to be the key to a happy life, a happy home life.  Somehow, we're supposed to keep right on cultivating the spaces around us and welcome the wildness that keeps it all healthy and vibrant, even while thwarting it.  

Now if I can find a way to see this same little nugget of truth in my laundry pile, there will be no stopping me.

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