Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quiet Waters

Photo by Jimi Ann
"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is there adequate perception of the world."
~Hans Margolis

Well, on a normal day, it can be quite a challenge to find those quiet waters.

My littlest son came into the living room yesterday. I stopped checking papers for a moment and lowered my head to look in his eyes, to be on his level. I could tell he had something important to say. He was looking very earnest and determined. I cupped his sweet little face in my hands. "What is it honey?"

"I dropped Daddy's multi-tool." (For those like me who are ignorant to boy things, having grown up in a household of all females, a multi-tool is a very fancy, expensive pocketknife-thing with other fancy things on there to use for who-knows-what. Daddy's is of the skele-tool variety. A veritable treasure for men and boys.)

"Oh, well go pick it up, honey. That's ok. Be very careful with it. And remember, don't open it unless you have permission," I said in my patient sweet voice. (I was feeling like such a good mommy; teaching my children to be safe and all, and in such a patient voice.)

"Well, it's hard to pick up. I dropped it in water."

"It's ok. It'll dry. Just pick it up and dry it off."

"But it's in the toilet. And the case too. (long pause here) ...And a little poop is in there too."

Hmmmm....boys...what will they do next...

Photo by Jimi Ann
Another scenario -- I decide it's time to break down and do some good, hard cleaning. I'll work for an hour as hard as I can. I should be able to put quite a dent it, and then I'll feel like I've done something. Yeah!

"Mom! You've got to come right now! Quick! Hurry!"

"Oh no, what's happened?!" I wonder what on earth it could be, with that urgency in my 8-year-old son's voice. Is someone badly hurt?! I throw my rag down and dash out the door, leaving it open as all the flies come darting in (I swear they must wait just outside the door in sprinting position.) I run out into the yard. I look right. Left. I don't see him. He's still screaming and yelling. I frantically run around the house, down the hill, over to the other side. Is that him, that little dot in the field? I'm squinting. Soon, the other children are racing out through the pasture, with me racing to keep up, tripping up on the way. Oopffh.....

Photo by Jimi Ann
"LOOK!! There!!" he screams.

"What?!! What?!!" Is there a dangerous animal approaching?, I think. A poisonous snake??! Oh no! My mind starts racing, Where's my suction-cup thing that sucks out venom in case we ever get bit?? Did I leave it in the car? Wait, I think I remember seeing it last year in a box in the basement!

"Don't you see it??!!" he yells.

" See what?" OK, now I'm close enough to him to see he's looking up. Could it be a hawk circling, ready to make a kill? (That's big excitement here -- especially for me, a bird enthusiast.) I look up. Nothing.

"Oh well," he says, "it's gone."

It was some kind of special helicopter. There's a name for it. The boys all know it. But to me, it's a mere helicopter.

Photo by Drew
Now, what was I doing, I think as I trudge back up the hill, getting those little prickly things stuck all on my socks. Ooh. Ouch.

Photo by Jimi Ann
Ok, well, it's getting late and I really need to get started on dinner. Forget the cleaning. It'll still be there tomorrow. I'm going to try a new recipe tonight. Thrill everyone with my superb culinary talents. I really have to concentrate so I don't mess up big and end up having to go to KFC. (Some nights I rate KFC at 5 stars.) I get out all the ingredients. Make a quick run to the little grocery store in town for a missing ingredient. There. Got everything. Here I go. Hmmmm....set the oven for....

"Mom..." I can tell my teenage son really needs to talk. Teenagers are like that, I'm finding out. Did you know I recently read that we need to stop and listen to them whenever they talk? They desperately NEED that to develop into healthy adults. Far be it from me to ruin his adulthood by not listening to him!

"Yes, honey?" I ask, as I take a seat to remove more prickly-things from my sock.

When he asks me if I know how enormously big an A-380 is, I reply, "What's an A-380?" A new Ford minivan, perhaps? Well, he immediately sees my need to be educated in aero technology. I spend the next half hour learning that all airplanes are not classified as "big." Did you know there are actually tons of differing sizes, shapes, and variety of airplanes?? And they all have different functions? I continue to learn about the various engines and the intricacies of aero dynamics. (Maybe you knew -- but I'm ignorant of this new information. I mean, really, I'm a bird-watcher, not an airplane watcher. You've seen one airplane, you've seen them all.)

Photo by Drew
But, my teenage son really wants to be a pilot.

Photo by Drew
He lives and breathes and dreams airplanes...

Photo by Drew
What happened to wanting to be a medical missionary in Madagascar?? I mean, he was set on that. So set, that he had already decided this was going to be his life's work when he was two and a half. Right after he learned that they have lemurs there, from watching Zoboo-mafoom. Back in the days when we had TV.

I stop that daydreaming, though, for a new daydream. And I imagine how handsome he'd look in that pilot's I'd be waiting in some big international airport with a crowd of onlookers, and this regal-looking, handsome pilot would come walking straight to me, his mother. I'd latch onto his arm, and we'd stroll out together...yeah..... Now, back to reality. be Henry David Thoreau. I secretly dream some days of how I'll set off for the wilderness, build my one-room cabin, live in complete solitude. (Or, at the least, get a room in a nice bed & breakfast for a night alone, and then a breakfast of homemade belgium waffles and hot coffee made by someone other than me.)

Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond

I hear a car door shut. I snap out if it. My husband walks in to a kitchen with not a single dinner aroma floating in the air. I mumble something about my dream and my craving to be totally alone. "That sounds great," he says passing through, kissing me on the cheek. As he's putting down his briefcase in the bedroom, I hear, "Hey honey?"

"Mmm-hmm?" I answer.

"I'll go with you!" Agghhhh.......

So, on days like this, the only quiet water I find is when I lock myself in my bathroom and listen to the trickling of the toilet. Hope that cat doesn't come and meow at the bathroom door to be let in. Again.

Photo by Jimi Ann
But that's ok for today. I love my imperfect life! I love all the idiosyncrasies and never-dull-moments. And besides...

Tomorrow is another day. I trust what David said about our God in the Psalms, "He leadeth me beside the still waters." He will.

Previous posts on Solitude are in "November" under Blog Archives to the right. (Yeah, I know...but I need detailed instructions when it comes to computer things...)

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