Posted tagged ‘magic’

“We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”

December 22, 2017

Just two days days until Santa starts his rounds. I’m figuring lots of elves are busy at the North Pole, probably no cocoa breaks. I was told Santa leaves filled toy bags all over the world as his sleigh can carry only so much. That makes perfect sense though I wondered if magic was involved so the bags were always hidden.

We didn’t have a fireplace. Our stockings were hung on the stair rail in the living room.  They were small red stockings with a white cuff. Each name was written on the cuff and the letters were covered in gold glitter. My sister Moe is the only one of us who has her stocking. I can’t imagine what happened to mine. I’d never throw away anything of Christmas. Anyway, back to no fireplace. My mother told us Santa would find a way, maybe the door or maybe the window. We had nothing to worry about: he’d come just as expected. She was right.

Around this time before Christmas, my mother put presents under the tree, ones from her and my father. My sister Moe was an expert at making holes indiscernible to any human eye. It didn’t matter if the present was for her or not. She just wanted to know what was in the wrapped paper. This peeking led to another skill developed over time. Moe can shake just about any box and tell you what’s inside. One Christmas, she and Rod, her husband, were headed to a Christmas party. Moe wanted something new to wear so the shaking of presents from my mother and father began. She found a new blouse then decided she needed to accessorize. She shook a few more boxes and found new earrings. Moe has given up the small holes, but she still shakes.

I put presents under my tree yesterday. They are from Moe and Rod. One is a book. Wrapping didn’t hide its feel, its shape. It was an easy guess; however, I will go a step further and guess the book is a new James Patterson.

I have lots to do today and tomorrow. I still need to do some baking, and I need to do the wash I couldn’t do the other day as I was out of laundry detergent. I thought that was wonderful but I gave in and bought some yesterday. I didn’t want to, but I did anyway.

Today is cloudy, dark. Rain is expected though most of the rest of the state will have snow. It is really warm, in the 40’s, though it will get cold tonight. The long range temperature is a snowy Christmas. I love that.

 

 

“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”

January 26, 2017

“Rain, rain go away come again another day.” When I was young, I thought this nursery rhyme had a bit of magic about it. If I sang it enough times, the sun would reappear, and I could go out to play. I’m singing it now with the same hope. It has been raining since Monday. The sky alternates between angry clouds and greyish white clouds. The rain is sometimes heavy and other times just a fine mist, spitting rain my mother use to call it. I saw the sun for an hour or so the other day. It gave me a bit of hope.

I do a couple of house chores every day. Yesterday I watered plants, changed my bed and paid my bills. I haven’t gone anywhere, haven’t wanted or needed to. Tomorrow, though, I have a list of errands so Gracie and I will hit the road. Maybe if I cross my fingers and wish for sun, it might work.

When I was young, I had snow boots but not rain boots. Nobody I knew had them either. I also didn’t have a raincoat or an umbrella. I always got wet. It was the usual thing.

During the rainy season in Ghana, I got wet. Sometimes I had to run from my house to the classroom block when the rain was heavy, but I didn’t mind. The rain was always welcome. I’d even shop in the market while it was raining, but if the rain got really heavy, I’d stand in the doorway of a building or inside a small kiosk until it lightened or stopped. The rain was a gift to make crops grow.

I love the sound of rain. Even when I was kid, I loved the rain beating on my bedroom window. In Ghana the rain on the tin roof of my classroom was sometimes so loud that I couldn’t teach, but I could fall asleep listening to the rain. Its steady beat was comforting in a way, amost like music, maybe even a lullaby.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

March 11, 2016

When I was a kid, I believed in magic and magical creatures. I also knew Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were real. That a bunny brought eggs didn’t seem at all strange. I never wondered how the Tooth Fairy carried all those coins and what she did with the teeth. I figured Santa stashed piles of toys all over so he could replenish his supply. A sleigh with eight tiny reindeer flying in the heavens made perfect sense. How else would Santa get around? I knew trolls needed to be duped or as a last resort avoided. The Three Billy Goats Gruff taught me that. Witches ate little children. I really didn’t believe the princess felt that pea under all those the mattresses. I loved the story Chicken Little. The rhythmic names of all the animals have stayed with me all these years. Henny Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey and the villain of the piece, Foxy Loxy. That the fox ate all of the animals never bothered me. It was silly Henny Penny who did, “The sky is falling!” My mother read Chicken Little to me just about every night.

I don’t know when skepticism crept in followed by disbelief, when I knew Santa Claus and the rest weren’t real. I wasn’t devastated with the revelation. I had two little sisters, and I never told them. I didn’t want to spoil the joy and the magic.

Even now I still cling to magic. I’m awed by fireflies. I watch them blinking and flitting across the backyard. When the first star appears, the nursery rhyme immediately comes to mind, and I make my wish, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” I see creatures in clouds and the smile on the face of the man in the moon.

I don’t have to see something to know it’s there. I just have to keep believing. I figure a life without magic is dull indeed.

“Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.”

December 5, 2015

Today is sunny and warm and in the high 40’s. Tomorrow will be even warmer. Where is Old Man Winter? Is he biding his time only to sneak up and wallop us as he did last winter? I will not let my guard down. Should it snow, I’ll be ready.

Santa Claus and his peculiarities were cause for so many questions. My mother, however, always had the answers. We didn’t have a fireplace so we were worried as to how Santa would get in to leave all the toys. Santa is magical my mother explained, and he always finds a way inside. How does he transport so many toys in one bag? That one is easy. His bag never empties and whatever he needs he finds inside. The size or weird shapes of the toys never matter. How do reindeer fly? That too has a touch of magic about it. Santa uses something like fairy dust and it gives the reindeer the ability to fly. I never thought to ask where the dust came from, but I’m sure my mother had an answer ready just in case I did. How does he eat all those cookies and drink all that milk? All the ups and downs and ins and outs make him hungry so he takes just a wee bite and a small sip at every stop. The reindeer hungrily eat all the carrots.

When my nephew was nine, he was wavering about Santa. Did he exist or not? He asked his mother for a favor. When he had kids of his own, would she please tell him everything he needed to know about Santa and toys and Christmas. My sister assured him she would.

I don’t remember how old I was when I figured out Santa wasn’t real. It wasn’t all that traumatic, and I didn’t blame my parents for perpetuating a myth. My two younger sisters still believed so I never let on what I knew. That would have been selfish.

One of the best parts of Christmas is always the anticipation. Even knowing the truth didn’t diminish my excitement. I still feel that way.

“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.”

July 20, 2015

The rain never materialized. It will be sunny all week and today will hit 85˚. My AC has been cranking since yesterday morning, and the house is delightfully cool. I have errands today so I will appreciate it even more when I get home.

I have always believed in magic, not the rabbit in the hat magic but everyday magic like when you wish on the first star: I wish I may I wish I might have this wish come true tonight. I have never made outlandish wishes figuring the simpler the wish the more likely it might come true. At Christmas when I was young I made all sorts of wishes and most of those came true.

I have proof that magic abounds and wishes do come true. Once I was walking home from my aunt’s house. The route was through the brush beside a metal fence which joined another fence, a shorter fence. It was there I usually scaled the two fences to get to my street. I stopped to rest just before scaling. I mused while sitting and wished I had money enough for a new book. I swear I looked down and found a 50 cent piece, just enough for a new book. That had to be magic. I wasn’t on a path. I was walking in piles of dead leaves captured against the fence.

But I’ve always known, fifty cents or no fifty cents, that we live in a world filled with magic. Fireflies dot the darkness with light. The sun rises and sets in a brilliance of colors. Rainbows announce the end of the storm and the whereabouts of the pot of gold if you’re especially lucky. I sit outside in the wee hours to watch the meteor showers in August. I clap and say things like wow and amazing as those beautiful streaks of light cross the dark sky. I love shadows and how scary and tall they can look. That flowers bloom year after year can be nothing short of magic. I know science explains most things because some people need answers. As for me, I’ve known the answer all my life-it’s magic, pure and simple magic.

“He would pore by the hour, o’er a weed or a flower, / Or the slugs that come crawling out after a shower.”

June 25, 2015

The sun had set but it was not dusk yet. It was that nether time between light and dark, day and night. I stood looking out the front door. Everything was still but not quiet. I could hear birds singing from all directions then from the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse though I wasn’t quite sure so I kept watching. Then it happened again and again, the blink of a firefly, on the lawn. Ever since I was a kid, I have always believed fireflies are magical, fairies like Tinker Bell waving their wands as they fly between trees, through flower beds and atop the blades of grass. The first firefly of the season made me clap and smile. The fairies are back.

Yesterday was a sweaty, grubby day for me. I repotted plants, painted a table and my old fountain red and the last part of the fence by the back door, the one keeping Gracie in the yard, green. I swept the outside shower clear of spiders and webs. I got my fountain together though it was a struggle because one piece was so heavy I could carry it up to the deck only a step at a time. It took three trips to get it altogether. The new pump fit the fountain perfectly, but there was a problem. The pump plug didn’t fit into the outlet. I was beyond frustrated. Today I will try to buy something to solve the problem.

Last night’s shower was glorious. I know the word glorious sounds strange when coupled with shower, but that’s the truth. I stood under the warm water and let all of the day’s labor, all of the sweat and all of the frustration wash away.

Today is another beautiful day, even better than yesterday as there is no humidity. It is an outside the house day with four errands on my list. The top errand is finding the plug for the outlet so the fountain plug will fit. That last sentence somehow reminds me of lines from Farmer in the Dell. The rat takes the cheese; the outlet takes the plug. Hi-Ho, the Derry-O the outlet takes the plug.

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

November 30, 2013

When I went to get the papers, I saw the tips of the grass sparkling in the sun and my windshield covered in frost. It was a cold night. The sun, here earlier, is now hidden behind a cloud. I think it will do that all day long: in and out, in and out playing its own little game of peek-a-boo. It isn’t warm this morning. It’s 34˚.

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seemed the longest stretch of time. The first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving were just like any other weeks only colder. They gave no hint of what was coming. The first signs of Christmas slowly began to appear. A few houses had lights, and the stores uptown put their Christmas decorations in the windows. Then the fire station was outlined in lights and Santa was climbing the chimney. The lampposts were decorated up and down the street, and the stage for the carolers was placed right on Main Street in the square. Just seeing all those decorations used to get me excited for Christmas, and the closer it got, the more excited I’d get.

My parents would finally buy the tree. It aways went in the corner where the TV usually was. The tree had to sit there for a while so the branches could fall. Those trees of my childhood were never all that full. There were empty spaces, but that made it easier for small hands to decorate the tree without mishaps. My father did the lights first. He wasn’t a patient man, and those lights drove him crazy. He’d check the sets one bulb at a time for the bulb that was out. If two were out, lighting that set was an impossibility until my father replaced every bulb. He’d then check the ones he took out and used the good bulbs for replacements. My father had no artistic sense. He’d just put those lights on willy-nilly. It always sort of horrified my mother who would then move the lights around until they looked symmetrical about the tree. She’d next drape the silver garlands on the branches. Then it was time to decorate. My mother put the big, beautiful bulbs on the top branches. We weren’t allowed to touch those. I have one of them my mother gave me, and I always put it on a top branch and think of my mother when I do. We’d pick an ornament out of the box and it was always filled with memories. We’d put it wherever we wanted or my mother would suggest a bare spot needing an ornament.

I loved decorating the christmas tree. Every night after that, I’d lie on the floor for a while and look up at the lights through the tree. They always looked magical to me.

“I said I was impressed, Martha. I’m beside myself with jealousy. What do you want me to do, throw up?”

July 23, 2013

The paper says thunder showers today, not the probability of showers, but real rain. When I was out on the deck with my coffee and papers, it was humid and thick. I could feel the moisture in the air. Luckily a breeze was strong enough to keep me from wilting. I decided not to bring my  laptop into all that humidity so I came back inside which doesn’t have the benefit of that breeze. The room is close.

The birds flew in and out at the feeders while I was there. Because no birds were at the suet feeder, I checked, and found it empty so I brought out a new cake and filled it. This one is peanut butter. I hope the birds are appreciative. No amorous doings on the deck or in the yard this morning. I do think I saw a red spawn lounging on a limb having a cigarette.

Hyannis will be filled today, and I have a doctor’s appointment there. This is when I wish I was Samantha and could wiggle my nose and be anywhere or had floo powder like the Weasley’s and Harry Potter. One toss in the fireplace, and I’d be there.

The entire neighborhood sounds deserted. I hear a bird now and then but no voices. I wonder where everyone went.

It is getting lighter out so now I’m going to start cursing the Cape Cod Times weatherman. I want that rain and that thunder. I’m hoping I can be outside and stay dry under my umbrella while it rains all around me. I love the sound of rain hitting that umbrella. In Ghana, it was the sound of rain hitting the tin roof of my house and my classrooms. The sound was so loud it made teaching nearly impossible. That is one of my strongest memories of the rainy season in Ghana. It is also one of my favorite.

My friends Bill and Peg are going to Ghana in September, and I am totally jealous. My having been there the last two years doesn’t count. Peg hasn’t been since 1972, but Bill was there on business sometime in the mid 1990,s, but he didn’t make it to Bolga where we all lived. I’ve given them my tour books and my phone, and I’ll give them our students’ numbers. They, as I was, will be surprised by the size of Accra and the huge number of people and how unfamiliar it all looks. Bill has a map from 1970 so he’s going to look for our favorite places and for the Peace Corps hostel which I couldn’t find. He has promised to take pictures. Bolga, though much bigger, will still feel like home to them.

My life has been so amazing yet here I am complaining about staying home this summer. I do have Grace (if she gets her visa) to look forward to in August and Bill and Peg will be down in October. I suppose I’d best stop carping though I am still jealous of Bill and Peg!!

“Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think”

April 2, 2013

Spring is in hiatus. My furnace is blasting away, and I’m glad as the house was cold this morning. There was no lingering to appreciate the flowers and the colors in my front garden when I went to get the papers. I noticed a few feeders need filling so I’ll venture out to the deck later. One errand only today: dog food and cat litter at Agway.

The Red Sox were tremendous yesterday. I wore my green Sox t-shirt and my blue sweatshirt with the World Series Emblem. Rally monkey sat and watched the entire game having nothing to do: the Sox led the whole time. We had hot dogs for lunch as befitting a ballgame. Much of the team is new, and this was their first game in a Boston uniform so we spent time trying to figure out who was at bat, but Pedroia we know and his first at bat was a single, a great way to open his season! I know it’s only one game, but it is the first opener the Sox have won in a while. It was a good afternoon.

Watching baseball made me impatient for summer. My deck is still wearing winter with all the furniture covered, the candles packed away and the yard ornaments in storage. I want warm mornings and breakfast on the deck. I can hardly wait for our first Saturday movie. I don’t have a theme for this year so I’ll have to start thinking and looking. I do have a new bird for the yard, a Christmas present. It is white, looks a bit like an egret and is huge. In my Easter basket was a small door and two small windows, obviously for a garden sprite to set up housekeeping. I also have some new lights, two stars with trails of lights, for the trees in the back. The backyard in summer is magical.

I remember lit punk sticks from when I was little. They had this smell I can still identify, and I loved waving the stick around as if it were a sparkler. I used to watch as the stick burned smaller and smaller. The smell kept the bugs away but I never noticed. It was the fun of the punk stick I remember the most.

We used mosquito coils in Ghana because lots of places had no screens. I really liked the smell of them as they burned. The coil had a hole at the smallest part, and you had to be careful when you fit the hole on the holder or the coil could break. The coils burned from the outside ring to the inside smallest ring. Ash just fell on the floor. Once, when my friends and I were hitching a ride from Koforidua to Accra, a Mercedes-Benz stopped. The owner of the car was a Lebanese man who made and sold mosquito coils. He gave us a few to take with us. The other part of that ride I remember is we were in the back seat where the smell of the exhaust was almost overpowering. We opened both windows and stuck our heads out so we’d survive the ride, but it was worth it: we got free mosquito coils and a ride in a Mercedes all the way to Accra.

“Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.”

March 2, 2012

Rain maybe later tonight, but for now it has stopped. Last night the rain had an icy feel about it, and being outside felt miserable. Today is brighter with white clouds, and I’ll take it and be glad.

Gracie and I will hit the dump later today, one of her all time favorite trips. The trunk is already filled, and I just have to find the ambition.

When I was a kid, the simplest things gave me joy. I loved walking through the piles of leaves beside the sidewalk. I’d kick the piles using one foot then the other and the leaves would fly through the air to the left and the right of me. Behind me, I’d leave a trail of leaves on the sidewalk and the street.

Riding my bike down a gigantic hill always made me feel as if I would take flight. My hair would fly in the wind propelled by the speed, and my grin would get broader and broader as I went faster and faster.

Lying on my back in the coolness of the grass on a summer’s night was the best way to watch the evening’s light show courtesy of the stars and the brightness of the night sky. I could see the Milky Way filled with its blanket of stars, and if I were really lucky, I’d see a falling star and make a wish.

The days and nights were filled with the sounds of insects. At night I’d fall asleep to the chirping of the katydid though I didn’t know its name back then, and I never asked. I just loved the music. During the day it was the grasshoppers in the deep meadow grass below my house. They’d jump as I walked through the grass, and sometimes I’d catch them in my bare hands then just let them go.

Fireflies are still magical to me. I used to imagine they were fairies that looked a bit like Tinker Bell. Even now when I see one, I follow it with my eyes until it flies away out of my sight. We used to catch them and put them in a jar and just watch the lights glow for a while then we’d set them free.

I have time again to see my world more slowly and I find myself awed by the simple things, the same way as when I was a kid. The night sky gives me pause, and I stand and look at the stars and still hope to see a falling star so I can make a wish. I sit outside during the meteor showers and find myself oohing out loud at their beauty. I love to watch the snow fall at night lit by my backdoor light. The birds in the morning are my favorite singers. They give joy to the start of my day. I love to sit outside at night and listen to the insects, the frogs at the small pond and singing of the night birds. My life is filled with joy.