Wednesday, July 28, 2004

white ribbons on the breeze

My brother is getting married on Saturday. We're rallying the clan such as it is to go and stand in an orchard and watch him change his life forever. He's making the right choice and I am so happy to be able to stand with him as he does it.

It's easy to be pretty cynical about marriage these days. To think that there are cases where matrimony that is supposed to last a lifetime is clocked, almost literally, with an egg timer -- it's ridiculous. I wonder sometimes if anyone actually listens to the words they are saying. My brother is young. But he and his almost-wife and solid on the essentials and everything else is, quite simply, not essential.

I do not doubt that the two we will celebrate this week-end are very aware of what they are promising. They are each handing their life over to the other in the knowledge that it will be very well taken care of. This is the stuff of fairy tales -- not the fairy lights and ribbons in the trees, but the ever after. Even in the knowledge that you cannot guarentee that all the days will be happy, I know that this is their ever after.

I'll be smiling as I watch as the promises are made, a proud banner waving like white ribbons on the breeze.

Monday, July 26, 2004

everything and nothing

Do you ever have one of those days when you're busy all day only to find at the end of it that everything that was on your to-do list in the morning is still there? It's times like this when I almost wish I had a webcam mounted on top of my screen so I could answer the question "what did I do all day?" Sure I have notes and phonecalls and meetings and documents to prove that I really did show up this morning and didn't spend the day watching Strongbad go another round with his emails. It's not quite the same though; especially when the things on the list were important things, they still are important things and the deadlines are now just a little closer.

Where did the time go?

It's a question that gets asked a lot. In Einstein's Dreams author Alan Lightman writes stories of time. What would it be like if time went backwards? What if we knew when time would stop? What if time were a fixed point and the farther away you got from it the slower time moved? Good questions all. But time, for all that it seems to speed up and slow down, is in truth a constant rhythm. It is a heartbeat sounding quietly (or not so quietly) in the background of our lives. On days like today I wish that time had colour or substance -- something that I could point to and say "oh look, there goes the time". Maybe we could colour code it so I could track where my time was going and you could track yours.

Even so, I'm sure I'd still be sitting here at the end of a day when I've done everything and nothing shaking my head at the thought that something as personal as my own day is so often outside of my own control.

Friday, July 23, 2004

killing me softy

I'm still chewing on this whole idea of sending laughter out into the world.  I think that some people change the world by curing diseases or stopping wars or inventing lightbulbs, and others change it simply by making a stranger smile for no reason at all.  Ghandi said that we must be the change we want to see in the world.  What would this little planet look like if we all set out to make one person we don't know smile each day? Little children do it all the time -- pulling faces in the line-up at the grocery store or swinging on the metal baracades at the bank.  They seem to be able to find play in any situation.  Is this one more skill we learn to forget with age?

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of a book I was force-marched through in elementary school -- Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  I hated that book.  Sorry Ray, but I did and still do.  It seriously freaked me out.  But there's this one scene, one quote that I still remember all these years later.  The Really Good Character was locked in an epic battle with the seemigly impervious Really Evil Character (and as a sidenote, in this book there is a ton of evil, so the Really Evil one is saying something).  Anyway, just as you're sure the good guy is about to bite it he takes a wax bullet and carves a little shape into it before loading the gun.  He turns to Evil guy and says, "Did you see what I did?  What I carved in the bullet? It's not a crescent moon, it's a smile.  I'm going to shoot you with my smile."  At which point the gun fires, the Good Guy wins, the music swells, the screen fades to black. 

Thinking about this now, it's an interesting concept -- shooting someone with your smile.  Not in the sense of destroying them, but "killing" their mood if they're in a bad one, changing the direction of their day.   Zapping the negative kharma if you're so inclined.  I was told awhile ago that each of us has a much greater impact on those around us than we realize.  If we work or live or wait in line together, my mood has the ability to affect yours.  My actions can change what you do or even how you see the situation that you are in.  My smile could kill you softly. 

What is your gun loaded with today? Do I need to duck?

the missing link

The blog that inspired me to finally show up was John Kim's Xanga .  Scroll down to July 22 and read the post about his Mom and a little driving adventure involving a deer.  (Don't worry, no deers were injured in the making of this post.)  For anyone who's ever had parents, it's funny stuff.

it's a big wide world out there with a lot of white space

After reading a fair few blogs I was starting to feel like a dinner guest who nevers brings desert.  Everyone was giving me really great things to think about and while I had spent considerable time chewing on them I had refused to share the results. 

It was time to pony up.  

I read a blog this morning (when I remember the URL I'll post it) and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.  I could barely speak.  It was wonderful.  As my breathing recovered I thought, how great is this? I have never met this person, I wouldn't know him from Adam but he made me laugh.  Really laugh.  I really needed that today.  There are people all over the place throwing hate and anger and frustration out into the white space of the world and here this guy throws out laughter.  He doesn't know me, it certainly wasn't written for me, but I got to participate in his moment because he was willing to share.  I knew I had to get me some of that.  So here I am.  Sorry I'm late.  I brought desert.