May 17th, 2012

alan - joshua tree bloom


The speeches were powerful at my Toastmasters meeting last night.  All four were strong and emotional, but two are with me.  

In the first, a man shared his experience as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.   They had landed in a field, and two prisoners were presented.  No one seemed to know what to do with them.  One was a grandfather, weighing maybe 100 pounds. The other, his grandson, was perhaps twelve.  They had offered water from their well, but because it was dirty, there was a fear of poison, so they were brought in.   Water offered.   Water rejected, or received.  When do we offer water to others?  When do we trust?  What do we drink?

In another of the speeches, a man spoke of what it would be like to live in Syria.  He created what life is like there by using members of our club.  Two members were absent.  He said they were in jail.  One man, who is likable and well-loved, was pointed out as a moderate, and therefore a threat.  He was jailed.  Another man's son had thrown a stone.  He was jailed, and his father was given the good news.  He wasn't tortured before he was killed.   I can't convey how chilling this all felt.  It was visceral, and I still feel a little sick.

What I've gained is even more appreciation of my life, and of where I live.  We quibble over a great many things in this country, but we are still allowed to quibble.  I am grateful to live where I can still speak without fear of torture, banishment, death, or jail.  I am with the glass of water.   I pray we recognize we share one planet; we drink from one glass.    
Alexander Calder's Kitchen!


It may be obvious how much I love our home as it stands,  and sometimes work is needed.  This house was built in 1952, and is amazingly strong, but now it has dry-rot in what we hope is only one bathroom, but when Will came today to check things out, it may have spread into the bedroom wall, and into the other bathroom.  We won't know until it's opened up.  

Meanwhile, we are looking at months of disruption.  Will has done work here before, and is a Zen presence, so I am comfortable with that part, and I'm looking forward to how everything will look once completed.  We've put this off for two years, so now have had time to adjust, and plan, pick, and choose color and tile, and now I am ready.   Of course, this is easy to say right now when I'm alone in the house and work has not yet begun.   

I do know though that there is a place to pull things apart and see what lies underneath and behind and beyond, and then, to put it back together again.  

The story of Humpty Dumpty never really made sense to me.  Why couldn't he be put back together?  Aren't we continually breaking apart and re-forming?  Isn't that what life is about?  

Why do we offer this nursery rhyme to children, who love to build with blocks, and knock them down, and build again?

I like:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
In that fall, wings opened out,
and as he flew, he knew no doubt.