Grasshopper Mind



FEBRUARY 18, 2024

What to do on dark and dreary days? The kind of days  when the outdoors do not look inviting.  Some of us read, write, play mind games, call friends.    And then there are the neat freaks.  We play a game called What can I get rid of?  I played that game again recently.


A lof of the decisions were easy.  Old CD's - out.  Pointy-toed shoes- away you go.  Pillows without purpose?  Gone.  And then we come to the drawer (it used to be a box) titled cards, letters, friend photos, kids drawings.   Each gets a new review.  Everything jolts a memory. Brings a smile.  Begs the question - whatever happened to?  Before you know it, hours have gone by.  Not a single item or memory has been added to the 'done with you' pile.


Strange, or maybe not so strange, what we value.  What gives us forever joy.  It's never the once loved 'stuff.'  It's the threads of our lives.  The message that says 'it's a  lonesome old town when you're not around...'  Aaaw.  Letters from your exuberant college aged kids. You really said that?   Baby photos.  Oh my gosh, look at them now.  It is the mosaic of people and places that have shaped who and what we are.


How could we throw any of our life away?  How dare anyone think of it as clutter.  Back into the magical drawer you go.  In the meantime, when the next decluttering urge hits; there will likely be two drawers titled 'this is life, do not throw away.'


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FEBRUARY 3, 2024

On rare occasions during my growing up years, I'd moan that I was bored.  The annoying and unsympathetic response was always: Life is boring only to boring people. Well, I certainly did not want to be one of those.   If I persisted about the lack of anything interesting to do 'around here,' a variety of opportunities would immediately be presented.


The opportunities usually involved domestic chores, helping an elderly neighbor, or worst of all going to the grocery store.  You can see why audible  'boring' moans were rare.  The results were never in my favor.  The cure for boredom in our home was to keep moving, stay busy, make yourself useful.


Our parents believed if we spent too much time thinking about ourselves it would lead to afflications worse than boredom. They were convinced self absoprtion would hamper our brains from expanding, and even worse - it would lead to laziness. Laziness being high up on their list of mortal sins. 


If I close my eyes, I can still hear 'don't tell me there is nothing to do, there is always something to do. Just look around.'


Once again - they were right.  Look around.  There's always something to do .  Some of the things to do are actaully fun and refreshing.


Make yourself useful ... 


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JANUARY 19, 2024

Remember when your mother would raise her arm, and sometimes her voice,  and say 'STOP all that noise. I can't hear myself think.'   As a youngster I'd wonder - how silly is that? Who can hear themselves think? Now, as restorative quiet becomes more scarce, I understand.


I used to relish my quiet solo walks.  It was a time to clear my head.  Let new thoughts find a place to lodge. I'd return home rejuvenated.  Those renewing walks seem  a long noisy time ago



Today my walk was filled with the noise of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, barking dogs, other walkers on their phones, automobiles with music blaring.  I returned home with a furrowed brow, and a headache.


Why is  quietness so difficult to find ?  AI can create artistic masterpieces, we can put humans on the moon, produce driverless cars.  Is there a reason we can't make silent lawn mowers, 'phones that don't beep, elevators that don't give inane instructions - floor 7, step back, the door is closing.  Why must every waiting room, restaurant, and even restrooms have  background music?   Are robots trying to further reduce all human conversation? Have we become allergic to silence?


There are many enjoyable sounds that break the stillness.  The sound of the wind, rain, even thunder and lightning. Hearing small children prattling together.  The sounds of life.  The sounds we should  listen to.


The rest?  As an almost-Luddite, I raise my arms in a silent plea - 'stop all that noise ... I can't hear myself think.'


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JANUARY 4, 2024

This week I attended  a 92nd birthday celebration for a good friend.  Nothing unusual about that, you say?  This gathering was not just unusual, it was fun, thought provoking, and rare. The honoree was a man, the party was planned and hosted by his wife of 60+ years.  All the guests were women, fondly referrred to and accepted with joyful smiles, as 'the chics."


Our birthday fellow got to speak to his chic friends.  No notes.  Memories and magic.  His focus was not on pride in his many accomplishments and awards. It was on gratitude. He was grateful for his family, and named each one.  He was grateful for friends.  For the opportunity to serve - his country, his community, and those in need of support.  Gratitude oozed out of every pore of his being.


The chics beamed.  Their admiration and inspiration had been well placed. This was their friend who helped shatter the glass ceiling because it was the right thing to do.  Because it was just.  Because he was grateful for the opportunity to create needed change.


Once again - that magic word - gratitude - speaks calmy over the years.  The proof it works was on display as we listened to our friend. 


Here's to age 93 and and beyond.

One of the grateful chics.


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