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I don’t know about anyone else, but I grew up with some of the strangest reading. Shel Silverstein featured alongside Calvin and Hobbes, Hank the Cowdog, Anne of Green Gables and the Boxcar Children.

Only now, a wee bit older and not at all any more grown up, do I appreciate just how odd Silverstein is. Not only are his drawings fanciful and have a teetering look to them, but are often macabre as well as bizarre.

And have you ever heard him read one of his poems? Strange, strange..

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Rain

I opened my eyes

And looked up at the rain,

And it dripped in my head

And flowed into my brain,

And all that I hear as I lie in my bed

Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,

I walk very slow,

I can’t do a handstand–

I might overflow,

So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–

I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

~Shel Silverstein

ottermei

Crane Count: 57

back to school

Today I go back to school. I am so excited.

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Like really, really excited. I love school so much, and as I took the summer off, I’ve been even more eager than usual for the semester to start back up.

Walking down hallways, bustling along with other students, eating in the cafeteria, taking notes, doing homework, turning in papers…ahh. It’s going to be so nice. You think I’m being facetious? Well, I’m not. I really do love school.

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vernacular

In my recent studies, I’ve been happening across some words that, while not altogether foreign, are at least rare enough that I have to look them up on my handy dandy pocket iTouch dictionary app. (Best app ever.)

insouciant: free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant

perspicacious: having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning

milieu: surroundings, especially of a social or cultural nature

gnosis: knowledge of spiritual matters; mystical knowledge

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glimpses

“I went down to the beach and sat on my rock. The rain seemed to be slackening off with the drop in the wind. I watched the waves breathing quietly. Adam’s call had left me churning, and I thought perhaps if I meditated I’d see more clearly.

Mother says my seesaw moods are part of my adolescence and they’ll moderate as I grow older. The hospital had thrown me into a pit of darkness; then Norberta and Njord, responding to my need, had lifted me back up to the light. Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.

Meditation, I thought, sitting there on the rock in Grandfather’s cove, has something to do with that light.

I let my mind drift toward the dolphins, and as I stared out at the horizon there was the lovely leap I was half expecting, and I was sure it was one of my friends. My breathing quietened, slowed, moved to the gentle rhythm of the sea. The tenseness left my body until it seemed that the rock on which I sat was not embedded deep in the sand but was floating on the quiet waters.

My mind stopped its running around like a squirrel on a wheel, and let go. I sat there and I didn’t think. I was just being. And it felt good.”

~Madeleine L’Engle, Glimpses of Grace

In the same book, the above author goes on to describe meditation;

“Meditation is the practise of death and resurrection. When we include meditation as part of our daily practise of prayer we are not dabbling in New Age-ism. We are simply letting go of that conscious control we hold so dear; we are opening ourselves up to the darkness between the galaxies which is the same as the great darkness in the spaces within our own hearts. Only if we have such faith in the reality of the happy ending can we let go of everything we think of as being ourselves, knowing that the Maker of the Universe who has Named us into being is there, waiting for us, calling us into deeper being…Until we can let go of our conscious, cognitive selves in this way, we are not ready for the happy ending.

If we look for the happy ending in this world and according to the standards of the world, we’ll never find it. We can’t earn it; we don’t deserve it; there’s no way we can acquire it, no matter how many merit badges we manage to pile up.”

I love these descriptions. I’m a fiendish worrier, and these sorts of passages remind me that there is a whole lot more to life than what I see or what happens in this brief span of my existence. Little things, little problems; big and insuperable as they might seem at the time, are absolutely nothing in the long run. I want to set my mind on higher things. Just as William Wordsworth, in “Tintern Abbey,” has this revelation:

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

How divine. How joyous. Don’t be dragged down to the dirt by this earth, but set your sights beyond the stars, and never have to fear when pain, toil, anguish or misery set rocks and daggers in your path.

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skyandsun