Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Little Beauties

You know who would have made a great blogger? Anne Frank.

We visited her hiding house in Amsterdam. The line to get in was around the corner and through an entire square, as it is, I understand, every day the place is open. There is good reason, though it occurred to me an hour into waiting that it sure would've been nice if people could've rallied around them with such fervor in the 1940's. I guess it was not that simple. Actually the thing that moved me most about our visit was this little video clip of her father, after the diary was published, years later, saying "most parents don't really know their children." He was close to Anne. But still.

In this day of helicopter micromanagement we like to think we know everything there is to know, and more than they know themselves, about our kids. Actually, Anne pretty much felt that was how the adults in the secret annex acted. I guess you cannot get more chance to micromanage your kid than to live in an extremely small space with them, unable to go outdoors for a break even once for years.

I don't have profundity to add to this observation of myself being so moved by that particular part of the Anne Frank house. It just struck a chord, especially as my little beauties enter into adulthood.

Which means I must be entering into something beyond adulthood. Maybe middle age or something like that. I was going to run this morning, but my body creaked in protest when I awoke, still deep in REM when my alarm went off. I have been running and biking and swimming and playing big chords in this Chopin piece and my body is feeling good in a sense--dropping some of the prednisone weight and getting a smidgen faster on my feet (and my fingers). But I can tell that if I push just a bit too hard, I am going to hobble myself and have to take a chunk of time off and go pool running or something equally terrifying in its monotony. Nothing makes the clock tick slower than pool running.

So instead of running, I did core work. Meb and Laura M says I should, so I do. Instead of running, I am writing this, and sipping some pre-work coffee. And trying not to think too hard about the future of humanity.

Yesterday, at least 70 people were killed by accident in Syria, by US led coalition forces. The footage is gruesome. Little kids buried in rubble. Syria is a complete mess. Why are we not more worried about it? It is like the situation with Anne and her family. After the fact, we will build museums and solemnly charge eager tourists to stroll through and contemplate the sadness. Not that I do not think these museums are worthwhile--they keep the stories alive, and maybe some people will come away with real motivation to fight for justice right here, right now. But today, I am just perseverating on my core and the fact I did not run and that my children are leaving the nest one by one and my coffee is delicious. I am not sure what to do about Syria. Or gun violence in our country. Or drug abuse in my community.

I will probably just keep going to work, and loving people. My middle child, who has had his fair share of woes, told me the other day he has decided the point in life is to make other people happy. He says he finds it makes him happier himself. Wise rapscallion.

Little beauties helps pass the time tolerably, as does remembering who we are at our core (the proverbial one, not the burpee target).

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way, by Mary Oliver

If you're John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you're Emily, a garden
will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can't find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,

Some words will never leave God's mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

The point is, you're you, and that's for keeps.

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