Friday, January 30, 2015

The Leap

I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness

~ e.e. cummings

I lost a friend this week.

We never met in person, yet we knew each
other through emails sent over several
years.  I always smiled when I found a
note from her in my inbox, because she
penned each one very thoughtfully.

Like me, she wrote a blog, a kindred
spirit who loved words, images and
celebrating the delights of life,
both large and small.

From her blog and our emails, I knew
Amy Arnaz cherished her husband Desi and
daughter Haley, cared deeply for dogs and
cats (she had both), and authored sweet
children's books.  She also passionately
supported rescue efforts of baby elephants,
orphaned due to the ivory trade.

As a classically trained ballerina and
teacher known simply as Miss Amy to hundreds
of ballet students, Amy literally leapt in
the ripe air and tasted the light, just as
e.e. cummings suggests that we all do.

Compared to her real family and friends, the
ribbon of our connection was a thin one.

But connect we did.

Amy took her final bow on earth last Friday,
ushered from this life way too early by 
a brain tumor.

I like to believe that instead of an ending
for Amy, her exit was a beginning, like
the curtain calls she'd made so many times,
and now she is spinning and dancing across a
magical stage, taking the ultimate leap away
from darkness and towards the sunlight.

One of the great mysteries of existence is
not knowing when our own curtain will
come down.  When the show is over. 

Until then, let's grab the sunshine and leap
and twirl and love this life before it's
closing night. 

Dash against the darkness.

Thank you, Miss Amy, for your inspiring
kindness, grace and zest for living.
And for being my friend.


{photo: my own}

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Soundtrack

Music can do things that language can't.
~Dr. Oliver Sacks

Nearly comatose and lying twisted
in her bed, the Alzheimer's patient
had tuned out most of life's sounds, 
until a nurse placed earphones
 connected to an iPod on her 
downy head.

Then, her eyelids fluttered like tiny
butterflies, as the carefully curated
playlist tuned her back into life.

Head bobbing to the familiar songs,
her limbs swayed and feet tapped
visibly under the covers.

The soundtrack of her life.

A beautiful documentary, Alive Inside,
demonstrates that music, more than
anything else, activates the greatest
number of areas in our brains.

As a result of this narrative, a
project called Music & Memory 
is sweeping North American nursing
homes and spreading to other parts 
of the world, as well.

What an honor, through this film,
 to witness those with Dementia, 
Alzheimer's and other diseases that 
have made their worlds very dim, 
connect with songs from their past 
that literally bring them back from
that isolated place and into the
sunshine of their own existence.

As I watched, the music of Cab 
Calloway, Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra 
and more all returned a spark of life 
to these lovely souls.

Since viewing Alive Inside, I've
pondered what melodies would be
woven into my own soundtrack.

There are so many, but I know that
Carole King and Simon & Garfunkel
would surely spark some of my
earliest memories, and harp
music would remind me of my
daughter, each note she played
a gentle and loving gift. 

When I hear a favorite song from
the past, it's like pulling on a
familiar, cozy sweatshirt, and I'm
transported to a former time and
a me that used to be.

I have to believe this is what
memory bereft people must also feel 
when the headphones are secured and 
their personal playlist begins.

In their minds they are racing
and jumping as children, dancing and
laughing as teens, cuddling babies
close as moms or dads, chasing dogs
and fireflies, friends and dreams.

Alive inside.


PS:  What song would most
definitely be included in
your own life's soundtrack?

{All photos my own.}

Friday, January 16, 2015

Quiet Wonders

Remember the quiet wonders.
The world has more need of them
than it has for warriors.

~ Charles de Lint

In a world fraught with evil 
and anger, sadness and disbelief
at what some human beings 
willingly perpetrate upon others,

I like to cloak myself in the
quiet wonders.

Like the sight of this hawk, drifting
slowly, slowly, above the earth 
in the morning mist, as I walked
the country road near my parent's
home last month.

My heart soared on its own wings
when I saw it, and in that instant
the world became a serene place, 
free from the ravages of war and
terror, for that magical moment.

One of many such images that
I will continue to pull tightly
around myself as a shield against
the darkest side of humanity,
praying as I do, that quiet wonders

will triumph. 


{My own photo}

Friday, January 9, 2015

The In-Betweens

Nearly five years ago, I created
this blog with the tagline,

The beautiful, the ordinary, and
everything in between.

When people ask,

What do you write about on 
your blog?

I generally smile and answer,


Life, whose ordinary moments
hold a sweetness and a grace
that I miss when I don't take
the time to truly consider them.

Life's graph features highs and
lows, but the majority of it is a
an unwavering flat line that
connects the two extremes.

It's here, in the in-betweens, 
that most of our life happens.

This is what I strive to celebrate.

Have you chosen a focus or a
word for the year ahead?

My word for 2015 is forward.

I've had a number of dreams on
hold ~ dreams that are knocking
louder and louder, craving
exposure to the light.

To move forward.

So while I attend to the cacophony
of these dreams in 2015, my posts here 
will be shorter, but more frequent.

I certainly hope you'll continue to
share these in-betweens with me.

It's going to be a splendid ride.

Maybe the good stuff isn't ahead 
of us or behind us.  Maybe it's 
somewhere in between.

~ Jeff Goins


all pictures my own