One dozen is only twelve donuts. One dozen is only a handful of m&ms.
A dozen years is merely the time it takes for a newborn to get to the sixth grade. Ask any parent on earth and they will assure you that twelve short years go by unbelievably quickly.
A dozen years ago, George H. Dubya Bush was President. The housing bubble was just beginning to burst. General Petraeus was coming under fire for his failure to maintain security in the face of an affair.
You remember all of this, don’t you?
It wasn’t very long ago.
In fact, to some of us it seems like just last week.
A dozen years is not very long. I’m 62 years old, and I figure I’ll still be around in twelve short years.
So why am I writing about a dozen years? I’ll tell you why.
Because as unbelievable as it seems, climate scientists are telling us that if we don’t manage to stop and reverse global warming within that very very short period of time, we will most likely be looking at the end of the world we know. Coastlines will flood, Droughts will intensify. Our efforts to feed the population of the world will be further stressed.
In other words, we have twelve very very short years to try to make things on this earth a little bit less catastrophic.
I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty big deal to me. Twelve years? To try to save our current civilization?
Gulp. And gulp again.
Seems to me that given this information, our entire focus should be on changing that terrible prospect for the future. Seems to me that every single city in the world should be looking at ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Every state should be looking at ways to increase the presence of trees, grasses and native plants.
Call me crazy, but it sure seems to me that every single country on this spinning blue planet should be working together to reduce greenhouse gasses, increase oxygen production and focus on environmental policies.
Why are we all in a sweat about a freaking wall? Build it, don’t build it, whatever…..Can we talk about stopping climate change yet?
Why are we focused on trading petroleum based products back and forth instead of working together to find some green products that could replace them?
Twelve short, short years to try to turn around the probable destruction of the entire planet.
Call me crazy, but I’m ready to vote for any candidate who steps up and demands that climate preservation is the first order of business and all the rest is just noise.
Generally speaking, I do a great job of choosing my friends. I’ve managed to surround myself with people who are very smart, loving, kind, and funny as hell.
Take my gang of old high school pals, for instance. Even though we parted ways back in 1974, we’ve managed to stay in touch and to reunite a couple of times a year.
It’s so much fun! I love being with every one of them. They’re wonderful.
Except for one minor flaw. A flaw that they all seem to share.
They’re way too physically active.
They ski, they run, they do freakin’ yoga. They’re a bunch of athletic fresh air freaks, constantly on to their next outdoor adventure.
And sometimes they make me go along.
Yesterday was a perfect example. There were ten of us gathered in Maine. Nine of us were very excited about going tubing. Meanwhile, Nonni here was hoping to find a reasonable excuse to sit by the fire and stir something.
But out of love and admiration for my pals, (combined with my desire not to seem like a pathetic old poop,) I decided to go along.
Silly, silly me!
As all the skier types pulled on their snowpants, Russian bomber hats, face masks and mukluks, I started to get a little nervous. “It will be fine!” all the athletes assured me. “You’ll love it!” I swallowed my nerves and smiled.
We got to the tubing hill and piled out into the cold. Off to the big icy slope we went. I managed to stay upright on the steeply sloped moving sidewalk, and found myself at the top of what felt like one of the Alps.
There were separate little “chutes” for us to ride down, each one slightly steeper than one before it. My heart rate was about 200, but I was game to try it.
“Yay! Let’s go!” yelled all the happy athletes. I whispered a quick “Hail Mary” and shoved off.
Holy careening grandmother. The tube and I were flying down the hill. I was definitely going 90 miles an hour. Minimum.
I tried putting on the breaks by digging in my heels, but the result was a face full of ice pellets and no reduction in speed. Bad plan.
I made it to the bottom in one piece, and joined all the other outdoorsy types on the way back up. “I can do this,” I told myself. “It’s actually almost kind of funnish in a terrifyingly horrific way.”
Down I flew again, this time with my feet held up and out of the snow.
I’m sure I hit 110 mph this time. All the little bumps shook me so hard I felt my teeth coming loose.
Once again, I made it to the bottom.
At this point my butt was wet and my nose was frozen, but I was starting to see myself as an aging Lindsey Vonn.
Woo-hoo! Back to the top I went.
Now on this tubing hill you’re instructed to watch carefully before you throw yourself off the cliff. This is because you will soon become a giant blob of humanity hurtling toward the end of the slope at the speed of light. You need to be absolutely, positively certain there’s nobody standing in your way.
I looked. The coast was clear. I tossed myself off the cliff and flew.
And far, far below me, I suddenly saw a tiny figure. Standing RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY CHUTE.
I did what any natural athlete would do. I started to shriek at the top of my lungs.
I was a giant blob of shrieking hurtling Nonni, absolutely terrified that I was about to obliterate whoever was standing there.
At 143 mph, the bottom comes pretty damn quick. I thought about bailing out of my tube, but I wasn’t even sure where my own butt was located at this point. I was paralyzed with fear, although the shrieking seemed to be going well.
The tube was spinning around and around, making it very hard to see where I was careening. I tried to figure out if the person in the way had moved to safety. To my horror, I realized that I was about to smash full on into a tiny boy who stood frozen in the middle of the chute.
There was nothing I could do to stop myself from flying forward or to move the little guy of my way. I spun around one more time, knowing that my back was toward the child.
I am not a tiny Nonni. I was sure that I was about to kill a toddler.
I was already crying when I felt the contact. Boom!!! I felt myself slam into him, and watched in shock as his little body flew over my head, all four limbs spread out like wings.
I was still speeding on, and before I could reach down for my next shriek, I felt another, much harder crash into the right side of my body.
This time it was Nonni who flew out of the tube and landed in the snow.
My head was spinning, and I was finding it hard to breathe. I tried to sit up because I was terrified about the little one. I saw him trying to roll over, but he wasn’t moving much.
It turns out that after I had slammed into the child, I’d run full on into the knees of the teenaged employee who was in the chute trying to save the kid. His knees and my ribs had made crunching contact.
In the end, it all turned out more of less OK. The little boy was barely shaken up, and was back on the slopes in no time. The poor teenaged boy limped home, sore and upset by what had happened.
Nonni is bruised and bashed, but there’s no serious damage.
And I’ve learned one thing.
My next athletic endeavor will involve kneading bread dough.
When I was a classroom teacher, in a public school, I was constantly reminded of the fact that our structured educational plans were often interfering with the glorious creative chaos of our children.
Now that I am a “Stay at home Nonni”, watching two or three toddlers (depending on the day), my thoughts have changed. Now I have become even more convinced that if we truly want to foster creative thinking in our kids, we adults need to shut up, back off, and be willing to clean up the mess when it’s all done.
Today was the perfect example of this educational philosophy. Today I was home with 18 month old Johnny, who is completely 100% focused on pushing buttons, opening doors and placing items into various containers.
I was doing my best to corral his curiosity and keep him engaged in socially appropriate activities. Those activities are mostly cleaning (he can use a broom and push the dirt into the dustbin and throw it into the trash) and cooking (he can crack an egg, use a garlic press and add flour to a working mixer.)
Meanwhile, three year old Ellie and four year old Ella were engaged in some kind of pretend play in the living room. This play, whatever it was, involved a great deal of shrieking, a lot of dramatic cries, and a “treasure map”(my tossed out mail) that had to be followed in order to save some vague hero from an even more vague bad guy.
While Johnny and I minced onions and stirred our pot of chili, the girls raced around the house. A bridge of pillows was built. A blanket was tossed over two chairs to create a caste. An old cardboard box became a baby’s special bed. And a bookshelf was emptied to make a hidden cave for a fairy.
To be honest, I didn’t really follow all of the action. I was busy trying to make a batch of chili while keeping Johnny from getting into the bathroom plumbing.
But when it was all over, and it was time for me to sit the three kids down for lunch, I realized a lot of learning had taken place while I was busy.
I learned that the kids had figured out that one size had to be smaller than the other if something would fit into something else. They had worked out a truly creative way to merge the stories of two royal sisters (Frozen) with the story of a magical pony (My Little Pony). They didn’t just travel on parallel tracks; they managed to mix the two stories into an entirely new adventure.
While creating all of this magic, the three and four year old girls had managed to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and share their ideas.
All on their own.
This isn’t magic, although I have to admit that seemed like it to me.
It was simply the power of the young, unfettered human mind when it is left alone to do what nature has always intended.
Kids are magic. Kids are our problem solvers.
Kids are everything that we always wish we could be.
This aging educator is learning that the less I try to teach, the more these children learn.
But don’t just believe me. Look at these videos produced by people who are far more educated than me.
I really liked being a teacher. I mean, I really, really liked it. As in, I loved the hell out of being in charge of a group of ten year olds.
I loved helping them to grow and learn in the most important ways.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I was pushed out of teaching by a cranky old guy who resented my ideas. You know that I miss teaching every single day.
I loved those kids. I really, truly did.
Even when they were making me CRAZY because they couldn’t manage to find a way to compromise with their classmates.
Oh, holy headache. I remember long, long, long, long classroom meetings where I repeatedly told two groups of kids, “Yes, you can find a way to compromise.”
I worked so hard to show them that if Team A gave up the idea of football at every recess, Team B might respond by saying they would accept football every day for those who wanted to play.
There were days when I felt like all I did was repeat the idea that ‘If you get one thing that you want, the other guys can get one thing that they want.”
I remember sitting at my deks, waiting for the two groups to come to some compromise.
I remember telling the kids, “If you can compromise, we can go outside to play. If you keep arguing we will miss our recess.”
We did miss a couple of recess breaks. We did. I clearly remember the absolute shock of both sides of the classroom argument as they realized that EVERYONE LOSES when nobody can compromise and come to agreement.
I thought it was wonderful when my ten year old charges understood that compromise was the only way to have the whole community move forward. I was so so proud of those children when they came to that incredibly powerful realization.
So you can see why I wish that Congress and the Executive could be brought under the control of a really good fifth grade teacher.
Until then? I am completely disgusted with every single person in Congress and the Executive Branch who draws a paycheck out of my tax payments.
I would be absolutely delighted if a fifth grade class could address the government shutdown in its morning meeting.
It was so many years ago, and it all seems almost like a dream. Even so, I remember all of the sadness, the struggles, the joy. I remember it the way you remember those things that change you at the most minute level of your every cell.
More than three decades ago, when I was a young, healthy woman, Paul and I finally came to the point in our lives when we were ready and eager to start a family. We’d been to college, had our first jobs, gone off to graduate school.
The age of 30 was looming ahead of me, and I was getting anxious about putting off motherhood. After all, I was the oldest daughter in a family of six kids. I considered my own Mom, and her mother before her, to be the epitome of women who were fulfilling their life’s true purpose.
Of course I knew that times were changing, and that women of my generation were expected to have college degrees and jobs and careers. I was delighted by all of that, but I still longed for the chance to become a mother. I had fed and changed and cradled my youngest siblings, and my maternal instincts were incredibly cranked up.
So we put aside the birth control and waited for the miracle. And we waited. And waited some more. My heart became heavier with each passing month, and eventually we realized that we’d need some medical help.
My deepest and dearest wish seemed to be out of my reach.
But at last, at last, at last. Just before my dreaded thirtieth birthday, I conceived. My dream was coming true. Slowly, through those long, anxious months, I began to believe that I would finally hold my own baby.
And it happened. On January 11th, 1986, after more hours than I want to think about, my beautiful girl came into the world. I took one look at her and my heart melted into a pool of motherly smoosh.
THIS was the most gorgeous, most perfect, most lovable and loving human being that had ever been born. I immediately felt badly for every parent who had to learn how to love their inferior children.
I’m not kidding.
I was beyond in love. The smell of her cheek, the darkness of her brown eyes, the shape of those tiny lips…..all of it was completely intoxicating to both Paul and I.
At last, I was a mother. My dream had come true.
Now it is 33 years after that life-changing moment of birth. My beautiful, perfect little baby girl has become a strong, passionate, smart, funny, wonderful woman. She is a fabulous teacher, loved by her students and their parents.
She is a mother of incredible humor, grace, gentleness and love. She is a better mother than I was, and I was pretty damned good. She’s a great cook, a loyal and devoted friend, a supportive colleague. She is a political activist, a well informed and passionate progressive.
She is still a miracle to me. I am still so in love with the beauty of her smile, the shine of her gorgeous hair, the strength that I see in her interactions with her kids.
Happy, happy birthday to the incredible young woman who I still consider to be the most excellent and perfect of dreams come true.
One of the very best parts of spending all day with children is being reminded of the magic that surrounds them. As a past middle aged woman, as a grandmother, I am far removed now from the wondrous days of make believe.
But when I watch the children playing in my house, I am pulled right back into that magical pretend world, whether I’m ready to be there or not.
Today was the perfect example of how children move effortlessly between reality and play.
Today I had my two grandchildren here. Ellie is about three and half, and her brother John in halfway between one and two. They play pretty well together when the game is purely pretend. Ellie will be sitting there for a moment, then she’ll suddenly turn to me and say, “I’m Elsa! You’re Anna.” And off we go into the land of “Frozen.” Johnny will happy jump around and follow us through the house in his relatively undefined role of “Olaf.”
But two days a week our little drama club is pushed up a notch when our friend Ella is here. Ella is a wise, mature four year old. She understands all of the subtle nuances of pretend play.
When Ellie announces that she is “Elsa”, her friend doesn’t even bat an eye. “I’m a kitty”, she will announce. “Elsa has a new kitty.”
Because they are little ones, and because their magic has no need for reality, Ellie might respond by saying, “I’m the kitty’s Mamma!” Elsa will be instantly forgotten, and the magic will simply shift.
It’s so gloriously empowering to watch them at play. As they move from scene to scene, I can almost see the world that they are creating.
“The Momma kitty is sick!” one will wail, “She is at the kitty hospital!” And as the Momma kitty collapses in a dramatic heap, I swear that I can see the pristine white walls of the kitty hospital around her. I feel the anguish as her “baby kitty” runs into the hospital room with a desperate “Miaow!!!!”
I imagine the world around the kids as a series of beautiful chalk drawings, forming miraculously from the words that the girls share. “We are running on the beach!” means that the world around them is filled with the colors of the sand and the sea. “The baby kitty is sleeping in her bed.” makes that world melt and shift and turn itself into a quiet cozy room.
As the children see those magical worlds, they let me see them, too.
I am so grateful to the little ones who share my days. I am so thankful that at the not-so-tender age of 62, I am still able to feel and see the magic.
I’d really love to see some of the grownups in our government (assuming that there are a few), come right out and address this giant pile of steaming bull shit that we are currently calling our “partial government shut down.”
I would love, more than I can say, for the Democrats to come right out in public and say this:
“We recognize the fact that the President of the United States is having a giant temper tantrum over his ridiculous wall. We know, because we actually look at facts, that the crimes committed by undocumented immigrants are far fewer than those committed by American citizens. Nevertheless, we are willing to overlook the President’s hysteria and panic.
We also know that there is no emergency at the border. We have spoken to the mayor of El Paso, whose city has found itself responsible for thousands of unexpected immigrant families. We get it. Our immigration system needs a major overhaul. We need some laws, some fences, some plans in place for how to help asylum seekers.
But we know that there is no “crisis” calling for emergency powers or sending troops or any of the other hoopla that the Pres is demanding.
Most of all, we Democrats understand that we are wasting way too much time and energy on President Trump’s ridiculous fantasy of a “big beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for.” We recognize the fact that this is all just a big made up pile of nothingburger designed to make Trump feel powerful.
So. Because we have a whole lot of actual governing to do, and we have a boatoad of investigations to start, we are going to give the big baby his 5 billion dollars. We want the American voter to understand that we are giving in to a tyrant and agreeing to waste a bunch of your money. We apologize.
But we’re doing it because time is a-wasting. We need to start governing. We need to deal with a few actual crises. Things like guns and endless wars and climate change. You know, serious issues that are beyond the comprehension of the Clown in Chief.
We are doing this because we understand that you guys elected us so that we’d actually run the country. You don’t care who ‘wins’ in a stupid bullshit made up fight over a big fat nothing.
Wouldn’t you love that?
Let the Democrats finally act like grownups. Let them very publicly roll their eyes, make the “crazy” finger twirl next to their ears, and pat Trumpy on his big fat orange butt. Let them end this entire stupid embarrassing spectacle and let him go play with his little orange bricks and build his pointless wall.
Somebody out there needs to finally start running things around here.
It is so difficult to watch as a loved one shows changes in thinking and language. When we watch someone struggle to find the correct word, or when we ourselves can’t follow their train of thought, our hearts sink.
I spent a couple of decades working as a speech/language pathologist, so I have a pretty good body of knowledge when it comes to how language is organized in our brains. I’ve seen all kinds of language disorders and deficits, and I recognize them when I run into people who are exhibiting the symptoms.
I’m pretty familiar with the language of dementia, too, having watched a few loved ones progress into old age. I recognize the signs when someone begins to jump from one topic to the next as if every conversation is simply a stream of consciousness. Each comment triggers the next, with a diminishing connection to the original idea.
Here is an example of what I firmly believe is a language/cognitive disorder. Try to follow the thread and see if you notice what I mean.
Q: “Is there a number below five billion that you might be willing to accept in order to reopen the government? A: Right.Well I’d rather not say it, ah, could we do it for a little bit less, it’s so insignificant compared to what we’re talking about. You know I’ve heard numbers as high as 275 billion dollars we lose in illegal immigration and here we have a wall that you’re talking about, to complete, because, again a lot has already been done because we’ve been getting money in…somebody said that we didn’t spend the money, well, we have spent it but we don’t paycontractors before they finish the job, that’s one of the other things that Pat and I sort of instituted. We like to have people do the work, so if we’re building a wall, we’re paying as they build it, we pay it when it’s finished. So they do a good job.This way if they don’t do a good job, we don’t pay them. So not all of the money has beenpaid, but the money has been used. So maybe you guys could remember that we you say that I haven’t spent the money, we’ve spent the money. We wanna finish it up. The five billion, five point six billion approved by the House is such a small amount compared to the level of the problem. When you see that the democrats want to give away twelve billion extra, and we’re giving away 54 billion in foreign aid. So we give money to countries but we don’t give money to our own country, which is another thing that I’ve been complaining about, and we’re cutting that back. It’s very unfair. When we give money to Guatemala and to Honduras, and to El Salvador, and they do nothing for us. When we give money to Pakistan, one point three billion dollars, I ended that, a lot of people don’t know it, because they haven’t been fair to us. We wanna have a great relationship with Pakistan. But they house the enemy, they take care of the enemy, we just can’t do that. So I look forward to meeting with the folks from, and the new leadership in Pakistan, we’ll be doing that in the not too distant future, but I ended the one point three billion that we paid, like it was water, we just pay it. To Pakistan. And I ended that. And we ended a lot of other money that’s being sent out on a monthly basis, and a yearly basis, to countries that don’t even vote for us in the United Nations. We give them billions of dollars, they don’t even vote for us in the United Nations. When we want something, to help certain countries…..and you know it’s not all about the rich countries, cuz the rich countries really do take advantage of us cuz they pay a very small percentage of their military….and they cheat on trade. They take advantage of us on trade. Other than that, they’re wonderful, OK? But there are countries that are poor, that we will com…we don’t want anything from them! We want to help them. There are some horrible things going on in the world. And we wanna help those people, we don’t want money from them. We don’t want that. We’re not looking for that.But when you have massively wealthy countries, that have very low military costs because the United States subsidizes them, so they take advantage of us on military…they could easily pay us, the full amounts. And they also take advantage of us on trade. So when I speak up, I mean, that’s why I got elected, issues like that. Issues like the border and it would be so easy not to do anything. When they say I’m not popular in Europe, I shouldn’t be popular in Europe! If I was popular in Europe, I wouldn’t be doing my job. Because I want Europe to pay. Germany pays one percent. They should be paying four percent.They pay one percent. They should be paying even more than that. Other countries pay a small percentage of what they should be paying. So when I say, ‘I’m sorry, folks, you have to pay up’, I shouldn’t be popular in Europe. They do a poll, I was at 88 percent and now I’m at, you know, a very low number. And Europe, I don’t care about Europe. I’m not elected by Europeans, I’m elected by Americans. And by American taxpayers, frankly. So, I think my relationship, I will tell you, with the leaders is very good. A lot of them don’t even understand how they got away with it for so many years. I’ll say to….Angela, and I’ll say to many of the other leaders, I’m friends with all of them, I’ll say, ‘How did this ever happen?’ And they sorta go, like ‘I can’t believe it either.’ They can’t believe it! You know why, cuz their Presidents and other people within their administrations, in the past, they allowed them to get away. Like some of them would say, ‘Well no one ever asked us to pay.’ We have negotiations going on with numerous countries right now to pay a lot of money to the United States for what we’re doing for them. I wouldn’t say they’re thrilled. Because they’ve had many many years where they didn’t have to pay. So now they’re gonna have to pay. And if that makes me unpopular in those countries, that’s OK. But we’re doing tremendous service to those countries, and they should at least respect us. They didn’t respect us, and that was the problem.”
I assume that you noticed a few disturbing things about this “response” to a simple question. Hopefully, you saw that the question was never answered or even addressed. The speaker went on for four minutes and forty five seconds without pause, but never even tried to answer the question.
You may also have seen that each idea lead fluidly to the next, with the speaker never realizing that he had strayed completely off the path of the original question. That lack of self awareness is another hallmark of disordered thinking.
The speaker (pretend it’s your Uncle Pete) also assumed that his listeners were following his internal thoughts. The speaker refers to the Democrats hoping to “give away twelve billion extra,” but never explains what he means. Extra in what way? Beyond what amount? Given to whom?
When he says that “Germany pays one percent,” he doesn’t explain. He seems to believe that we already know, because he does. One percent of what? Why?
I also think that in spite of his ability to recall exact dollar amounts, this man shows signs of a word finding problem. Note the pause before he pulls out the name “Angela” when thinking about European leaders. Note the use of phrases like “certain countries” and “many leaders.” Few specific labels are found anywhere in this response.
Please watch the video that I’ve put at the end of this post. I ask you to turn off your partisan reactions, and pretend that this language and this thinking is coming from your elderly relative.
Then reach out to our members of Congress, no matter which party they represent. Reach out to the media. Ask why in the world nobody is willing to stand up and say that Uncle Pete needs a neuropsych evaluation as soon as possible.
The entire world is put in danger by a US President with this kind of disordered thinking, no matter what its’ cause.
Welp. Here we are in January of 2019. The 116th Congress of the United States has just been sworn in. There’s been a whole of news about this group of Congress people, especially the incoming “Freshman” class.
I’ve seen the group photos. I’ve read the biographies and the position statements and all I can say is this:
This Congress does NOT look anything like me.
I mean, I’m 62 years old, white, Christian and heterosexual.
They don’t look or sound like me.
But you know what?
That’s what makes me so excited and so hopeful for the future of this nation.
I mean, let’s be honest here, OK? For the last two centuries or so, the country has been run by older white Christians. Sure, they were almost all men, but they still were pretty much my descriptive demographic.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s really done a whole lot of good.
I don’t mean to be ageist, racist, sexist or anything else-ist, but I am more than thrilled to see a new House of Representatives that actually seems to be representative. I am filled with hope and excitement when I see women of color, Muslims, Hindus, gays, transgender folks and lots and lots of young people taking up the mantle of leadership.
The United States is no longer all white, all Christian, all straight. Our leaders shouldn’t be either. My generation has had plenty of time to wield its influence.
Chalk it up to my decades of bleeding heart liberalism, but I am so excited to see what the bold, brash, unashamed young multicultural crew will bring us in the next few years.
They have my full support.
It’s way past time for somebody to shake up the power elite around here.
I had the grandchildren today, for the first time in almost two weeks. I was absolutely filled with joy to have them back.
But I was also absolutely beat beyond belief when they went home.
So after they left, I started dinner, and poured a big glass of wine. Then I went out into my hot tub.
I turned on the jets, aiming at the sorest parts of my neck and shoulders. I sipped. I sighed. I laid my head back against the side of the tub. And I looked up.
I saw the many stars arching above me. I saw the undersides of the trees around my yard.
And I saw the blinking lights of the jets passing by so far overhead.
I couldn’t help but wonder. Who’s up there? Where are they going?
I live in Northern Massachusetts, so I know the general flight paths that cross over my head. I know that many of the flights coming from my West will turn toward the North, to Canada and the maritimes. The ones that come from my South will eventually make their way toward the Canadian maritimes, and will then swing out across the North Atlantic toward Northern Europe, or they’ll turn toward the South and aim for somewhere to my West.
I watched the lights crossing my sky. I thought about the passengers whose flights I was seeing.
Of course I had no idea who was up there, but that’s the beauty of it, right? I was able to make them up. To imagine the lives of the people who were silently intersecting with my own life.
Maybe, on this flight from West to East, there was a woman in her 70s. Maybe she had lost her husband five years ago, and was struggling mightily to move forward into some kind of future. I pictured her opening a letter from an old friend, someone she’d known decades ago in college. “Come to visit, please!” I pictured the note saying, “I’ll meet you in Shannon and drive you out to our place in Connemara. You can meet our friends and have some fun.” I saw the women frowning, shaking her gray head. I saw her waking up in the darkest part of her lonely night, reading the note again.
I imagined her buying her ticket, telling herself to go.
I wished her all the best as her flight crossed my path.
Then there was the jet that ran from South to North, too high in the sky to have come from Boston.
On this one, I saw a young woman. I imagined her feeling stuck in a dead end job, wondering where all of her dreams had gone. I saw her in her little apartment in Charleston, eating a lonely take out meal and opening her mail.
Now I pictured her on the flight above me, heading toward a meeting with a man she had so far only met online. I could imagine her friends telling her to go, but to be careful. I saw her mother, looking very much like me, telling her not to go. Telling her that she could find someone right here, right in our very own town.
I saw her, as my head lay back against the edge of my hot tub. I saw her brown hair, recently done up with highlights. I saw the hope in her heart and the caution in her mind.
I watched her fly across my deck. I waved as she passed. I wished her luck and courage and strength and love.
Our lives cross back and forth every day with so many people we will never meet. How lovely to imagine their paths. How powerful to wish them well.