27 September 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

There are a lot of things << not "things" in the materialistic, consumer-driven sense >> that make my heart go pitter-patter.  

Babies with mohawks might just top the list.
While I love waking up to rain on a Saturday morning, it often undermines my motivation to get to the gym.  However I maintain a deep appreciation for said rain, and on those Saturday mornings when I'm staying in, coffee is my consolation.  Now if you top that coffee with some warm, frothy milk, I'll be dancing around inside (while outside sitting very still, probably gazing into the back yard).

Another favorite on the list is the therapeutic value inherent in puppies.  Example: A friend of mine lost her job unfairly and unexpectedly, and that night she came over for dinner.  In hindsight I think she actually came for the drinks.  The Rolo puppy was still a pup, and he settled right into her lap to love all over her.  By the time she left, the tension in her face had dissolved.  I'm not suggesting she was done healing from the trauma of her day.  And unfortunately puppies don't, in fact, solve all our problems.  But they sure don't judge us for our problems.  They just keep right on loving us.  So puppies.  You can add puppies to my list.
Speaking of puppies, since I became a dog owner, I also became a fan of the tv show The Dog Whisperer.  My favorite part of each episode is when Cesar << the host >> impersonates a dog's behavior.  He has this funny way of looking like he is-- at least in part-- canine. He'll kind of sniff the air and bulge out his eyes.  Or he'll show you the difference between a dog that is curiously sniffing you and a dog that is interested in playing with you... the way he does it makes you wonder if he has a tail tucked into those Levi's.

And then Cesar will observe the family, and the dog, and begin to analyze and systematically break down the pack dynamic.  He'll identify hidden rules being followed, opening everyone's eyes to the problems inherently occurring. I really love this.  I think we don't ever spend enough time identifying the roots of problems in our lives.  Sometimes we need an outsider << not always in the form of a goofy, handsome Mexican-American with canine in him >> to come in, study us a little, and then offer suggestions and feedback in the form of best practices.

"It’s not about the dog. It’s always about us. It’s always about the owner. It’s up to us to create an environment and circumstances in which the dog can thrive and be itself.”

Can you re-read that Cesar quote changing the word "dog" for "child"?  How about if it read like this?

"It's not about the child.  It's always about the parents.  It's always about the adults.  It's up to us to create an environment and circumstances in which the child can thrive and be him/ herself."  Or what if we change the word to "friend"... Could we go so far as to change it to "homeless neighbor"?  Perhaps I'm digressing.

The last “thing” I want to mention in this collection is old couples.  I love seeing elderly, wrinkled, slow-moving, married couples.  As I watch them, I like to imagine the lives they might have lived together, the children they raised, the meals they shared.  I sometimes wonder if they watched movies or preferred to play cards or read before bed.  I like to imagine the mundane lives that they’ve lived, interlaced with joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures.

Other times when I see an old couple, I think that maybe they found each other recently -- that they haven’t, in fact, spent a lifetime together.  Perhaps instead they spent their lifetimes being prepared to find one another. 
If I’m deep-in-my-gut-honest, there’s not a lot that I think I know that would be considered Absolute Truth. 

But there is this one thing.  Relationship.  As humans we’re meant to be in community, surrounded by meaningful relationship.  It doesn’t have to be a ton of relationships -- just one or two is enough.  << And no, I don’t mean multiple love relationships.  I’m not a fan of polygamy or adultery.  I mean a love, and then one or two close friends that you can love and care about, walking together and sharing life with. >>

If I’m completely honest, I don’t want to grow old alone.  My husband and I share a fear of loneliness that we talk about regularly.  So back to the point.  When I see an old married couple, I see two people with a shared story.  I may not know a single detail of their story.  But when I have the chance to see their eyes lock onto each other’s, I catch myself wondering how many thousands of “eyes locking” moments have happened in the past. 

We went to an open-air concert in Dandridge, TN with our neighbors recently.  Dandridge.  Who goes to Dandridge for some live outdoor music?  Evidently we do.  So we’re there, and it’s a beautiful fall evening—very few bugs, comfortable temperature, and lots of people spread out on lawn chairs.  There were even some kids sliding down a nearby hill on pieces of cardboard.  We watched the full moon rise over the Dike that saved Dandridge.  It was a very picturesque scene.

So the last band gets on stage, sound checks, and starts their entertainment.  During the sound check, we decided to move our chairs closer to the front since we are acquaintances of the lead singer.  As we’re scoping out the scene to best locate our new seats, I overhear an elderly woman say to the man next to her, “You know, every woman loves a man who will dance with her.”  It was extraordinarily cute.

So the band goes on, and the next thing I know, this same, sweet elderly couple is making their way to a spot of parking lot just in front of the stage that will serve as a dance floor. 

I burst into tears.  Literally.  Right there, in my chair.

I was blubbering, actually.  I was completely overcome with -- and caught off guard by -- my emotional response to seeing such a cute, flirtatious elderly couple get up and bust a move.  They swayed to the rhythm, and he gently guided her and would even gingerly spin her.  She wore a knee-length white skirt that flowed around her, and all the while (in her elderly-woman-flat-shoes) she danced on her tiptoes. I imagined her 40 years younger in high heels wearing a deep blue cocktail dress, swaying across a shiny floor with onlookers thinking to themselves how lucky was her beau. 

I know it's blurry, but you get the idea.
By the end of the song, I had re-gained some of my composure.  The song they were dancing to was wildly appropriate...

... it's so easy to fall apart
And we still break each other's heart sometimes
Spent some nights on the jagged side
Somehow we wake up in each other's arms
(Must've been)

Wild Angels, Wild Angels
Watching over you and me

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