As Mr. Rogers always peacefully sang, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”
One of those perfect summer days. The sun shines, reflecting golden hues against the electric green of the forest leaves. Birds chatter, expressing their delight with beaks and wings. Chipmunks scurry from woodpile to shed. Fawns nurse and prance away from mama and nurse again.
I just rose to open the deck sliding glass door, to let the summer inside. Rummaged in the frig for a piece of Ezekiel bread and slathered on vegan butter, cinnamon and crunchy brown sucanat sugar. A treat! Now I’m chirping like the birds, my fingers dancing on the keyboard.
About ten minutes ago returned home from one of my part-time jobs at our local two-room school. It’s budget time and I’m juggling numbers left and right, placing them in columns, watching them add and subtract from each other. It’s fun to make things balance, and this year the Excel spreadsheets balance admirably. I’ve always said budgeting reminds me of a giant jigsaw puzzle. You fit the pieces here, there, over here, and pretty soon the numbers cooperate or they run screaming from the page.
That last sentence expresses what I’m pondering this morning. How many of you regularly experience thoughts that express something like numbers run screaming from the page? How many of you have often been accused of exaggerating? C’mon, don’t be shy, raise your creative hands and admit it.
Ever since I was a wee sprite, tinier than baby garden lettuce, my mind views life and interprets it–well, in a strange way, some might say. It often likes to compare A and B and combine two completely separate variables into something new. Or at least tell a story about it!
A white and yellow daisy? It must be a flower spirit prancing upon spring breezes, swaying beside deep ditches, oh no, look, an evil bee buzzing forth, coming closer, it’s going to sting, it’s going to sting, no, it’s kissing my daisy essence, uniting us in nectared oneness…
(You see? Not only do these words come out of the unfathomable mind, but for a while I am convinced that I AM a daisy and that bee is jet-propelling toward me!)
Another example, you request?
OK, lots of people dangle a toe in Lake Superior in June, thinking they might swim in deep blue waters. Ha! This is how my mind operates: “It’s FREEZING! Oh no, I’m going to die. No one should ever swim in Lake Superior until August! This is painful. So painful. The foot is frozen now. It’s numb. I can’t feel it. Oh no, oh no, oh no…”
My mother tried to nip this tendency in the bud.
“Kathy, you’re exaggerating again,” she would sigh.
I would stand, tears arising, despairing, dying inside, how could she not understand, not realize the truth? She probably didn’t even love me. Why was I so misunderstood? Dashed toward the bedroom and sobbed wild tears in the soft pillow, the heart aching, the heart despairing, I’m going to die. (Exaggerate? Who, me?)
The problem is, sensitive reader, that some of us feel things so intensely. We feel things acutely. And we search for words which will describe the feeling flavor raging in our veins.
It is simply not adequate to say “I am hungry” when your stomach rumbles, your cells beg for food, your lips quiver, your desire rages. You must state (rather calmly and matter-of-factly you think): “I am dying for a sandwich. I can’t wait until lunchtime. I am hungrier than a cow. I am hungrier than the hungriest person on the planet!”
As I’ve grown older, wiser, questionably more mature, this tendency to over-dramaticize has abated. (Ha! Believe that one? Go back and read some of my old blogs!)
But, truly, folks, it is happening. I have proof.
The first time I was Freshly Pressed (featured on the front page of WordPress) I danced around the house like a lunatic. Checked my email and stats 9,575,389 times in 24 hours. My heart throbbed. A million excited thoughts sang, delighted, traveled to the moon and back. Called Mom, Dad, daughter, son, mother-in-law, Barry at work, OK, probably a close friend or two. It felt like ecstasy. Wild abandoned amazing ecstasy. The world was my oyster, my clam shell, my heart-thumping shining pearl!
Yesterday, ohmygoodness, how wonderful, I noticed that the post Bloggers are Real People, too (Meet Ms. Heather and Ms. Bree) was featured on Freshly Pressed. A rush of well-being arose, a quiet happiness. And then the thought, “Oh, good, perhaps people will realize that their blogging friends are real people–maybe they will be inspired to meet some of them.”
And I proceeded to continue through the day, night and now morning with simple gentle gratitude and no inner exclamation marks.
(I am still having fun watching the stats, likers, and commenters. But it’s just a sense of quiet enjoyment, peaceful almost.)
From now on I will tell stories and experience life in a completely peaceful and factual manner.
I will write things like, “The birds sang. Lake Superior is a tad bit chilly in June. Numbers add up nicely. I am a little hungry. I danced around the house for a few minutes. Look at the sailboat.”
Surely that’s what’s bound to happen? Don’t you think?
OK, dear reader, here is your question to ponder as you go outside to stroll lazily in the sweet summer sun, the bumblebees zooming toward you, oh no, there you go running wildly, crazily, down the road, attempting to escape that wild buzzing bee:
Do you experience life intensely? Passionately? Or does your mind tend to see a daisy as a daisy, a bee as a bee?
P.S. Almost forgot to tell you. Bearyweather is featuring a photo challenge on her blog Bear in Mind: Find a Face in Nature. If you’d like to participate, read her post and wander outside to find a face in the daisies or tree bark or shells. Here is my offering. I’m afraid it’s an old photo, because, well, life has been WAY too busy and I have no time to look for more than the 9,038,303 faces which wink and blink and sing and guffaw and chortle and cackle in nature every day.