Ponder this:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Letter S

At my request, Mary, of Randomness of Me, has graciously assigned me the letter S. I am to list ten things that I love and that begin with the letter S.
Mary says, "Then, when other people read my blog, if they want to play, they leave a comment that says so, and I will assign them a random letter. And on and on it goes."
So if you want to play, tell me so and I'll give you a letter.
I like this. It seems akin to oral history.

Sunlight. I need it to move. On a sunny morning, no matter what the temperature, I can sail into work and be confident and cheerful. On white-sky winter days it's a chore to dress, and a trudge to the office. The effect on me of emergent sunlight is immediate. On a cloudy day I am immobile. The sun comes out, and instantly I am up and doing. I could never live in the far north where there is murky twilight for months on end.

Smiles. It's a cliche, but smiles, given or received, improve the world. Happiness is contagious. We always knew it and now there's a study for people who require that kind of proof. In my early career, the correct workday expression was one of intent and serious interest. When I chucked the career, and went on my first interview for a waitress job, the restaurant manager told me about a girl who'd been in to interview earlier, and how much he wanted to hire her because "She has a great smile! She just lights up the room!" I heard his hint and smiled at every opportunity thereafter. I got that job, and I soon learned that irascible customers cheered up when I beamed my Miss America smile at them. It works.

Sobriety. I lived, for more years than I want to tell you, Not Sober. I suffered for too long, using that lethal legal substance. I belong now to that club to which no one aspires to be a member, but without which I would not be experiencing this, my Year of Creativity.

Sparkles. Crystal diamonds in the snow, twinkling as I move my head from side to side, dazzle me. (My mother's cheek against mine as we peered out the farmhouse kitchen window. "See the diamonds in the snow?") A little child, I sat on a stone wall in early spring, transfixed by the way the sun struck glinting sparks on a piece of shingle that had blown off the roof. I turned it this way and that way and admired the winking flashes. The prisms that flash in ice on trees after a winter storm... Other people see danger; I see magic.

Sky. I lived for a number of years in suburbia where the sky was what I saw over the road I drove on, or where I might see a piece of a sunset from a window or a back yard. When we moved to the Wide Open I again found the peace and perspective that seeing a wraparound sky provides. It is for me the same as the ocean: eternal; unimaginably far; promising in its continual change.

Silence. You almost never get real silence anymore. Not the kind that makes your ears ring with the absence of sound. But I happily settle for enough quiet that I can hear dry leaves tick-ticking on a tree two hundred feet away. I love enough quiet that I can hear, a half-mile distant, Fox Creek at flood level in the spring snowmelt. It sounds like a far highway except in a lower, more comforting voice, the tone of mother animals to their infant offspring.

Simplicity. Thoreau exhorted, "Our life is frittered away by detail.... Simplify, simplify." Edna St. Vincent Millay [ironically] concluded Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much with "Some love, and some simplicity, Might well have been the death of me." Those are lines I internalized at sixteen, and I think of them often. Nothing, nothing, defies simplifying if broken down into small enough steps. That applies to housekeeping, and to accounting, and to relationships. (The last requires a good bit of honesty and a sense of one's place in, and lack of control over, the order of things.)

Symmetry. I love it in architecture, in faces, in art. Minds braver and wilder than mine can appreciate odd and unbalanced shapes in art and buildings. I feel safe with symmetry.

Synchronicity. I love the concept of synchronicity, that there is an order to the universe. It works for me to believe that I am right where I am supposed to be, no matter where that is.

Spiritual dreams. I love spiritual dreams. I have had a few. I took a class once in how to identify spiritual dreams and what to do with them. There are a few criteria to help distinguish a spiritual dream from just a regular ol' psychic housekeeping dream. As I recall, one is that the dream experience is real. Another is that it and its message remain in your mind. A third is that the dream gives great and effortless comfort. Once you have a spiritual dream you don't need the criteria: you recognize it.


Anonymous said...

I so agree on your "S" ist, especially for silence and simplicity! A friend asked me the other day why I didn't keep in contact when a mutual friend of ours moved...I told her I didn't need that drama in my life anymore. She said she agreed, but she didn't quite know how to tell her that. I told her to say it respectfully and then you go onward. I would think if more than one person told you the same thing, it might give you pause.....maybe it does only for me :)
And I am proud of you that you are enjoying a sober life! I have a friend who was in the same way and she, too, is enjoying her sobriety much the same you....if she had a computer, I might think you were her alias!!
Which reminds me to run off and call her!
Have a great day!

Mary said...

Great list. I think this was my favorite part.

"I am right where I am supposed to be, no matter where that is."

I need to apply those words to so many aspects of my life.

Carolynn Anctil said...

I'm a big list lover and I LOVE your list. The more I visit here, the more I feel we're kindred spirits. Congratulations on your sobriety. That's HUGE.

I have a little something for you to pick up over at my place.

I would love to get a letter....do I get it from you or Mary?