My Lucky Day

today it seems to me there are signs and wonders coming thick and fast…

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hang-him-at-dawnAll I can say is sometimes you just get lucky. Me, I got lucky three times in a 24-hour period, and each time it was because I put myself out there, either by picking up the phone or by walking instead of riding to run the day’s errands.

The first time was on Sunday morning when I used my feet instead of a car to cover the two miles downtown and back. Just as I was passing the doughnut shop, I spotted a 12-year-old boy striding along with his father. They were both laughing and the dad had his arm slung affectionately around the boy’s neck when suddenly he stopped them both mid-stride and kissed the child smack on the side of his head.

Seeing that would have made my day all by itself, but I got lucky again just a few hours later when I made myself call the cable company to see about locking in a good rate.

“Your wiring is extremely old!” exclaimed the customer service rep.

 …AND, you need a better router,” she added. 

“I can actually send a technician out tomorrow, would that work?” She said he would be here for several hours, she and no, there would be no charge (!) And didn’t that technician sure enough come, the very next day. He slapped a ladder up to the side of the house, descended into the Land of Lost Things that is our basement and in general worked here for three solid hours, leaving me at day’s end with a signal strong enough to let me Facebook with the folks on the International Space Station.

Then the last piece of luck came along the next morning when, headed into the city on business, I left my car on its perimeter to save on parking costs, then took a taxi the rest of the way.

My driver was a woman in her 60s with dreadlocks and a big wide smile, whose cab was filled with the most wonderful music, to which she was singing along. Finally, I just had to ask: “What IS this?”

She tilted the rearview mirror so she could see my face. “Caribbean music!” she said laughingly. “The music of Haiti!“ And then she gave a five-minute tutorial, with examples, on the difference between her Haitian French, called “Creole,” and the French that is spoken in Paris.

I loved the lesson. “But I have to know,” I said then. “Who is this singing? “

“Oh!” she said. “My friend and I made this CD. My voice is the deeper one,“ she added, and resumed her singing by way of demonstration.  

When we reached my destination, she picked up a worn Bible from its place on the passenger seat. “This was our text,” she said. “It’s from the Book of Acts, Chapter 20,” she said and showed me the passage, all in French. “Take a picture of it with your phone!” 

So I did take a picture, and once I got home, I  looked up the English for this piece of Scripture that in part  has God saying, “I will show wonders in the Heavens above and signs on the earth below.”

“Isn’t that the truth!” I thought, because today it seems to me there are signs and wonders coming thick and fast all around us – and all we really need is the eyes to see them.

Blinded by the Light

eye examI had my annual visit with the eye doctor yesterday

Which I dread always.

Because of how they dilate your eyes.

Because of how the first drops sting! and the second drops open those pupils so they grow into two great lacunas in your head.

I looked just like these pictures above and below. ( Wo, I see my mustache is growing in again but you get the idea.)

eye exam dilated

PLUS, not to make a big deal here. but you can’t read.

And everything is so BRIGHT! Even with the roll-open-and-plant-on-your-face shades they gave me I almost had to throw my skirts up over my head to keep from having my retinas scorched by old Mister Sun. (And it was a cloudy day!)

I couldn’t even peer into my trusty mobile device the way we all do, consulting the mite-sized characters on its tiny screen the way the Ancients once studied the entrails of sacrificial animals.

Nope.

All I could do was stagger about in a Walgreen’s more or less window shopping the easier -to-identify items like Huggies boxes and emesis basins.

Here’s me a full three hours after the drops. I had just tried to do business in the  Post Office, but ended up pocketing the letters I meant to mail and neatly affixing stamps to the corners of my two prescriptions.

At least I only have to do this once a year!
At least I only have to do this once a year!

Oy! At least I only to do this once a year

As True in May as it Was in April

I once drove 200 miles over bumpy back roads to get to the place Naomi Shihab Nye was speaking and it was worth every pothole. That day she told her audience that we should all make time for the writing of poetry because doing so would keep us in a very distinct relationship with language. Her  own relationship with language seems so natural I sometimes feel like she’s standing right beside me when I read her. Take the poem “The Art of Disappearing,” which I distort slightly by quoting only in part and  as if were prose:

“When they say ‘Don’t I know you?’ Say No…   If they say ‘We should get together’ say Why?.. It’s not that you don’t love them anymore. You’re trying to remember something too important to forget. Trees. The Monastery bell at twilight. Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished… Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you can tumble at any second. Then decide what to do with your time.”

I sure hear that, waking today in this perplexing weather, torrents in Tennessee and Mississippi and hot and muggy here in the precincts north of Boston, even at 6am, not at all like our typical early May morning which is  normally moist, sure but as as cool as a corsage. As for our time it sure is limited, though only the real truth-tellers dare say so. It’s kind of a forbidden topic in the perpetual adolescence of this age-denying culture.

Nye says a  a young man once said to her, “Here’s my address, write me a poem.” And she responded this way:

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn’t understand why she was crying.
“I thought they had such beautiful eyes.”
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems.

In the name of National Poetry Month just past I’d sure like to try doing that. And wait, is that a passing train I hear? Or is it the monastery bell?  I’m feeling more like a leaf every second  here…..

muggy May morning in the precincts North of Boston