“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”

This morning I woke up early to go to the bathroom. The bathroom window was open so I rested my arms on the small sill and looked out. It’s the same view as from this room but so much higher, a third floor view. I was in the trees. I could see movement in and around the branches, but I couldn’t see the birds. I could smell the morning air, a combination of so many things. I could smell dampness, not the sort a moist cellar brings, but the sort which comes from humidity and a wet driveway and dewy grass; the sweet aroma of flowers was strong, mixed as it was with the dampness. It seemed to circle me on all sides and come from all the gardens. The best smell of all, though, was the one only a morning brings. It was the smell of freshness in the air, the smell of a new day, of another start. I stood for a bit at the window, took it all in then went back to bed. The morning was still too new, too early. Fern and Gracie hadn’t moved. They were both still asleep in the same spots on the bed as when I’d left. I slid in between them and fell back to sleep.

Today is dark, cloudy dark, with a chance of rain, but I don’t think it’ll rain. Today will stay humid and close. Right now nothing is moving in the dense air, and it is quiet except for Gracie’s every now and then bark. She sounds so loud I keep wanting to hush her. I want the quiet I love so much.

When I was little, my dreams were enormous. I thought I could do and be anything. The worse part of growing older was learning I had limitations. Math was out of reach. Once it got too complicated for my fingers, I knew it wasn’t for me. I loved nature and bugs and snakes and all sorts of crawly things, but I didn’t want to learn about them from books. I wanted to watch them crawl and slither. I learned early, third grade, that I couldn’t hold a tune so singing was out. I had begun whittling the list of what I could do and be. Amazingly I wasn’t disappointed that some doors had closed for me because I figured there were plenty out there just waiting for me to find them, and when I did and turned the door knobs, I knew I’d find treasures. I started to like some things over others and was better at the ones I liked. I tolerated the ones I didn’t. Soon enough, I got to pick, and I chose to study English. It was the best of all choices for me. It gave me the world.

The first time I ever taught was in Ghana. I remember those first few months. I was awful. I stood in front of my students day after day, and they had no idea what I was saying. I spoke too quickly, and they couldn’t hear my English accent though they spoke English. I was having the same trouble but in reverse. Somehow, though, over time, I stumbled into teaching so that we all learned. Franciska still remembers much of what I taught her. The best thing she said was I told them the sky was their only limit. They could do and be whatever they wanted. They just had to keep reaching.

I still do that-I still keep reaching.

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22 Comments on ““Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We still lived by the law of Jante or who-do-you-think-you.are law:-) Jante is a fictional figure that found out there were unwritten laws one best never tried to break because if You did society would punish You.

    The whole of Scandinavia lived by these rules and the rules more or less tells us not to try to be anything else than is expected by you. So I never even thought of being anything else than some kind of worker, like my parents were. (well I had a dream of becoming a vet but never believed I could be).

    Things have thankfully changed and now days kids believe they can be anything they want to, or that they at least have the chance to.

    I loved math though and I had a good singing voice too, They wanted me to sing in the boys choir in Gothenburgs cathedral but I was way to shy. I refused when they said I couldn’t stand behind a pillar and sing 🙂 🙂 🙂

    More or less a storm here today, the wind is so strong that my cottage shakes every now and again. It has started to rain too so no more outdoor activities for us.
    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I think it horrible that expectations are based on social status. There are still places like that here as well, but most of it has all changed. In my family I was the first to go to college but happily not the last. The expectations in my family had also changed.

      I love the sound of a boys choir. I was at a mass in Vienna where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sang, and they were amazing.

      Still damp here but now it is even more humid.

  2. Juan Woo Noz Says:

    Big Rick and I hit the park early to accommodate the return of the Premier League and Tottenham’s to be successful visit to Selhurst Park. The guys aka Wild Turkey were enjoying the warm morning air as Rick and I sedately circumnavigated the lake…check out the little fluffy clouds said I, drank six glasses of wine last night said Rick. Did you see Cabrera walk off another home run last night I asked, through the blur of alcohol he had. Somehow Egypt came up and I heard in great detail for the 53rd time the tale of his trip to the pyramids with Mrs Big Rick.

    The Prince has been running riot, but his long stay of five days with us is coming to an end. Next Saturday he will be seven, we will BBQ, he will have chocolate cake, we have the gift that he has been coverting.

    Katmah on a scooter without a helmet screams danger, the scooter also yells The Mods, looks like you are heading down to Brighton for a little set-to with the Rockers

    • Hedley Says:

      Ok, I admit it, I was Juan Woo Noz…whoops

    • katry Says:

      Dear Juan,
      Your ride with Big Rick sounds a bit scary given the prior evening’s blur of wine. So you had fluffy clouds today. Mine disappeared after the festivities.

      I watched the Red Sox, my home team, beat the Yankees and boo A-Rod.

      My nephew’s 7 year old, Ryder, called to wish me a happy birthday, but instead, he told me all about the towns he was building with his legos and how humongous the castle was going to be.

      Peace Corps sent us helmets, but I dropped mine and it dented. I decided it wasn’t going to provide much protection. Heading up the hills to a festival!

      • Hedley Says:

        The Prince just left town, five days of Hub, nick cartoons and bike riding. We now wait for his birthday next Saturday

        Rick was not quite himself. I always travel with my cell.

        Perhaps Juan stole my KTCC identity

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        It will be a quick week Saturday will be here in a heartbeat, and the Prince will be thrilled with is gift, exactly what her wanted. Nothing beats getting a favorite present!

        I think Juan needs to be watched carefully!

  3. Bob Says:

    My parents always told me that I could do anything I wanted as long as I did the work preparing for the job. No one had to tell me my limitations. Like you I figured them out as I grew up. No talent for singing because I can only sing one note in the key of Q. Athletics were out because I lack coordination to play skill positions and I am too small to play positions requiring size and strength like lineman or line backer. Basketball was out because I am under six feet tall. Most other sports require a lack of klutz which I inherited from my parents. I know that I wanted to fly and I knew that some doors would be closed. Not giving up and finding that open door has given me a wonderful career.

    We are having a cold spell because the temperature has not reached 90 degrees and it’s still August.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I knew I was going to college though no one in my whole extended family ever had. My father told me after I had graduated that they never thought they’d have a child who was a college graduate.

      I was athletic and did well in school even in math which was a struggle, but I hated it. I really wish I could sing.

      Bring out the winter jackets!

  4. im6 Says:

    “Bring out the winter jackets!”

    I’m sure you’ll regret saying that and you can be sure I’m going to remind you that you did when you’re complaining about the cold!

    It’s amazing how cool 94º can feel.

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      Just a little humor for you South-westerners!

      I hardly ever wear a winter coat. I wear a hoodie and run to the car from the house then vice-versa. Winter coats are too cumbersome.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Yesterday, I woke just at dawn. It was rosy-fingered. Actually, it was rosy flamed all over the eastern sky. Rosy-fingered sounds way too delicate and lady-like for yesterday’s sunrise. But, as went outside with the dog, it struck me that it smelled just like being at the lake cottage. I expected to hear water lapping at the boat dock.

    I have a serendipity life, I think. None of the things I love and am excellent at doing were things I’d had ever dreamed or planned. I wandered into them by chance and discovered a new talent or passion or career. Maybe what Joseph Campbell said is true, “If you’re on the right path, doors will open, unseen hands will guide you.”

    Yesterday was busy so I’m catching up with everyone. Hope the day was fine for you.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Sometimes I smell the ocean, and I’m really not that close to it. I think something in the air holds on to those wonderful smells, like being at the lake cottage. Most times it is in the early morning when the air is still damp with night.

      The dawn sounds beautiful.

      I feel the same way with my life. It seems I too found what makes me happy and some of the best were happenstance. I did make purposeful choices but the results were greater than I ever imagined they’d be. I consider myself lucky to have been given this life.

      Nice day for me, dinner with friends!

  6. Birgit Says:

    For all the Dylan fans at KTCC (referring to an older comment by Hedley about the new Bootleg Series Vol. 10):
    npr – First Listen: Bob Dylan – Highlights From “Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)”
    http://www.npr.org/2013/08/18/210228529/first-listen-bob-dylan-highlights-from-another-self-portrait-1969-1971
    I’m just listening, some good and some forgettable songs so far.

    • im6 Says:

      Would you please quit infiltrating my brain, Birgit? First I create a header birthday card for Kat that I posted on her Facebook page. What did it say? “Keep The Birthdays Coming.” Now this link… which I forwarded to Hedley and Kat via email last night !!! They’re going to think we’re twins separated at birth and by an ocean.

      “…some good and some forgettable songs so far.”

      If you ask me, there are more of the latter than the former. The word that comes to mind is “unnecessary.”

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Birgit

      I have it playing in the background now. I loved most of Dylan’s music in the early days so I’m interested in this. I’ll let you know!

  7. Birgit Says:

    Hello long lost twin im6 from across the ocean, funny coincidences! I haven’t seen your birthday card for Kat, I’m not on facebook anyway, but I’m curious now.
    Meanwhile I’ve listened to all 15 npr Dylan Bootleg10 songs and I agree in “unnecessary.” If these are the highlights I don’t want to listen to the lowlights.

    • Hedley Says:

      Hi Birgit,

      The latest in the bootleg series is a real conundrum for me. I have 1-9 and am such a Dylan completest that I even bought the mono box set.

      I always disliked Self Portrait both in terms of content and musical style and this new disc does not make me change my mind. If I could play the Christmas album (once) I could play anything but I am going to skip Another Self Portrait

      Salutations to Bochum

      • Birgit Says:

        Hedley, I don’t even have Self Portrait. Never missed it. It’s cheaper not to be a completest 😉 I even skipped one Joni album, the 2002 orchestral Travelogue.

      • im6 Says:

        Have to actually listened to “Travelogue” or did you just decide not to buy it, Birgit? I love that album and the similar orchestral “Both Sides Now.” You’re certainly entitled to not like it, but I hope you didn’t just decide not to get it without hearing it.

      • Birgit Says:

        im6, I have “Both Sides Now” and I didn’t like it very much, category “boring”. Years ago I’ve listened to a library copy of Travelogue once, also boring. I didn’t make a copy back then and later the library didn’t have it anymore, but the album is still on my buy-cheap-2nd-hand list, for completion and to give it another try. I know Joni albums have to be heard more than once. I also didn’t like Shine very much. I bought it because I liked and still like the title song. Not boring, but it hurts to listen to her voice on that album.


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