Friday, May 22, 2009

Beautiful Weeds

Beauty is all around me on the path that leads to home. It is unpaved and set deep with ruts that make it near impossible to travel by car. That's why I like it. The chances of running into another person are remote and thus, I have the whole place to myself.

There are no roses that line this weed-infested path; no flowering vines that wind enchantingly around the whispering cottonwoods. Here are the overlooked beauties of the roadside: the noxious thistle, foxtail, field bindweed, common yarrow and many others whose names escape me.

In the bright Kansas sun they could be easily missed. Their presence is ordinary and to most, unwelcome. They invade field and pasture like an uninvited guest who camps haphazardly wherever they feel at home. At first glance they are hardly impressive and plain, at best.

But kneel down and take another look. Intrusive, perhaps. Common, most certainly. But one cannot question their beauty against the cobalt of a bright May sky.

Look again. Life is comprised of much more than just roses. Consider the thistle. It holds a magic - and loveliness - of its own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The beauty of today.....and yesterday

A few days ago I took some students outside to write. It was a picture-perfect spring day; blue skies and sunshine. Very conducive for writing. To encourage self-expression and so I don't 'hover', I write along with them. On this particular day we sat at different places on the playground, and my thoughts led me here...

For some reason this weather makes me miss Salina and my mind returns there.

I miss my old back yard, the glider on the deck, the flowers I planted: larkspur, lantana, iris, lobelia, daisies and marigolds, yarrow, dianthus and my butterfly bush. I miss my little corner - the creeping phlox and low-growing evergreens in the front yard...the porch swing where I sat and read and watched the rain fall. I miss seeing neighbors working in their yards, calling across the fence and sharing tips about flowers...advice about life. I miss riding my bicycle down the path by the airport and the pizza plant where the smell of dough and spices permeated the air. I miss the neighborhood children I've known since they were little; their laughter ringing from the backyard, the sound of screen doors as they ran in and out. I miss the old grade school and familiar faces in familiar hallways. I miss my job at the university with close connections and diverse people. I miss the lack of gossip and the positive feeling of support - of help from friends, but also space to reside in one's own place without interference or judgement.

But of course I know, if I went back now it would all have changed. A new family lives in what once was home. The trees have grown, the flowers are gone and what once was familiar no longer remains. Front porch melodies are silent where the swing once hung. Neighbors have moved, some passing to another life. Children have grown and left for college, and the lovely little school has grown into a building with new walls, rules, and faces. Co-workers from my days have moved on to new locations and vocations. Time stands still for no man....and I am hardly an exception.

But for today, I'm dreaming of the past. My heart is a hundred miles away, in another place and time, when the spokes of my life's wheel were in perfect alignment and turned my world with exactly what I needed.