Archive for the ‘Thought for a Thursday’ Category

Distilled to Beauty

Posted by julie on Thursday, 12 January 2017, 5:43

Yesterday, I found out that an author whose work inspires mine is dying of an inoperable brain tumor. While I’ve wondered if my headaches were due to something serious, his migraines have actually been caused by a brain tumor. For the past year, before I write, I’ve been reading a poem or essay of his—any poem or essay—as inspiration. His way of crafting words into moving pictures, of taking an apparently mundane moment and reminding me of its singular value, reminds me how much beauty is possible.

I wish I didn’t feel like cancer had just run ramshackle through last year. Three friends under 50 died of cancer in 2016. The 37-year-old runner. The 43-year-old artist. The 49-year-old dancer. One left a 2-year-old, one two teenagers. I suppose if I had to find the significance in all this—not really the point, but something positive—it would be that I know all three of them distilled their lives to places of beauty and love in their last months. Surrounded by friends, doing only what inspired them, they had figured out the essence of how they wanted to live.

Their lives and deaths are not lessons. As a human, though, struggling to find some meaning, I can find much. I can choose to live differently. I can spread as much love as I can—inviting others over, helping friends and family who are struggling. I can decide to just create—spending time making beautiful things. I can forgive—moving on from perceived past injustices. I can live as much as my friends did—finding and moving with their passions. Eventually, I hope to leave those I love with memories—sharing laughter, kindnesses, moments, saying “yes” to my children.

I can also leave the world more beautiful than I found it. In this time of political furor, it’s going to take a whole hell of a lot of beauty to overcome the ugliness that’s on the horizon. So, every day, I really have no choice but to do the small things. I must do the work. For my friends, for family, for myself, I must help to create something beautiful.

Thought for a Thursday: Small Adventures Are Still Adventures

Posted by julie on Thursday, 13 October 2011, 19:12

This afternoon, with no preparation (in my household, that means with no snacks), Elena and I drove to the Dover Firehouse and parked, then walked up the sidewalk to the official Stone Church trailhead nearby.

This was translated from the original Korean at a sign-making facility in Greece. The cavern was killed by Mohawks? Who really knows how a comma should be used?

We walked down the new stone stairs to the freshly-mown path, lined by deciduous trees planted in just the past couple of years. Tufts of milkweed seeds sat in bright white clusters atop the dead, waist-high flowers and grasses. I took only a few, stuffing them into the memory card pocket of my camera case, the only thing I carried. When we walked through the older trees—certainly there and huge when I was a kid, over 30 years ago—peepers called from somewhere in the canopy above us.

My little rubber boot sprite

Elena and I walked upstream, chatting about what this trail was like 30 years ago, muddy boots, and where Daddy and I got married (legally, right here, it turns out). She powered on, not once asking me to carry her. It’s a short hike, maybe a mile round-trip; and we took it slowly, looking around. She posed for photos, asked about the downed tree that had been cut into rounds, and said, “Ooh, that’s pretty” when the stream steepened and turned to whitewater. She was surprised when I told her that the Stone Church is a cave. When we got there, I pointed out some names etched into the stone, one from 1860. It turns out 151 years is a bit too much for a 3-year-old to grasp.

Stone Church October 2011

One of my favorite places, and so easily shareable. I tend to turn outings into BIG EVENTS. Sometimes, it’s good to remember that all you need to do is step out the door. Would it be nice to have some peanuts in your pocket to stave off the grumpies? Sure. But, really, it doesn’t take much. We were back in the car in an hour, and we certainly hadn’t hurried.