Monday, July 30, 2007

We know it in our bones

There’s an wonderful children’s book by William Steig called The Amazing Bone. Steig’s heroine is Pearl, a school age pig, who is particularly in love with the world one fine spring day. She feels as if she is turning into a flower and finds, in the verdant woods, a talking bone.

Wise enough to listen to the bone, Pearl takes it with her. The bone scares away some particularly difficult robbers of unknown origin, but isn’t too effective against a wily fox, who is determined to eat Pearl for dinner. “Don’t take it personally, “ the fox says to Pearl. The bone, unable to scare this predator, offers solace, honesty and comfort to Pearl in her perilous position.

Just as the fox is about to put Pearl in the oven, the bone utters magical words. The bone does not know he knows them, they come from an ancient memory, nor does the bone know really what the magic words can do. What the words do is reduce the fox to the size of a mouse, who scurries into a hole in the wall.

Pearl and the bone walk away from certain death. Arriving home, Pearl is welcomed into the arms of her parents. The last line the bone says is “You have an exceptional daughter,” to convince Pearl’s parents that the bone can indeed talk.

Listening to the bone saves Pearl’s life.

Our lives create the voices we hear from our bones. We have only to listen to our true voices, down to our bones.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Illuminating Luminescence

A few weeks ago, Ben walked into the sliding screen door in our new place. He hadn’t adjusted to the idea of a window wall between our dining room and his sand and water table, or, more accurately, his ride-on excavator. The maintenance guy was very kind and popped the darn thing back into its unyielding aluminum track.

The very next day, my Dad walked through it while talking to me over his shoulder. I guess at 3 and at 81, in the immortal words of Tow Mater, you don’t need to see where you’re going, but you do need to know where we have been. I sheepishly called and asked to have the door fixed, again, but they haven’t gotten to it yet.

It hasn’t been a buggy summer, being very dry and cool so far. And Ben hasn’t been too bad about keeping the door shut as he goes out to the deck to play, and in to eat, and out to play, and in to get another car, train or wheeled thing.

Tonight, just after he drifted off to sleep without protest, I sat in the darkened living room, enjoying the silence that slowly blooms after a weekend of mostly play with Ben. The dishes sat in the sink, waiting for my last ounce of energy before going to bed. The computer was off, radio silent, the television dark (I’ve cut back on cable since the Sopranos ended.)

Then there was a flash of light at a small spot near the ceiling above me. The moon is full tonight, and for a moment I thought some sliver of it was illuminating the sweet solitude. Then another flash, and another.

My annoyance with the still-broken door vanished as I realized the identity of my visitors: three fireflies in search of love had joined us sometime during the endless openings and closings of the day.