Friday, May 13, 2011

Springtime Tanager

With vermilion plumage and jet-black wings,
You make my art-starved spirit sing:
A canvas splashed with brilliant hues
Of scarlet, chartreuse, and azure blues.

Perched among the fuschia flowers,
A redbud refuge is your bower
Against a clear and cloudless expanse
Of the bluest blue. I stand entranced.

All afternoon you come and go
Keeping me company as I work below
To dig and weed and cultivate
A beauteous Eden I long to create.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Suspended License

I know how it feels
when you lose your wheels,
'cause I'll be the one who provides
all your needed rides.


It seems odd to me that I dislike washing up and getting dressed in the morning, but it's true. There is a grace period from the time my feet hit the floor to when I've finished my breakfast when I'm just fine. Then comes the realization that I am still in my pajamas and something must be done about that. Lounging around in pj's is not my idea of comfort--unless I'm sick--which isn't a comforting thought.

Sometimes I delay the actual ritual by doing pre-ritual rituals. It is legitimate to empty the dishwasher and make the bed first. Starting a load of laundry is also acceptable. Sometimes I allow myself to check my email, but then I'm ashamed if I actually answer some email in my pj's. That is really pitiful. Just get dressed. Go do it!

I arrive in the bathroom. Disliking that sticky, gritty, been-driving-with-the-windows-rolled-down feel of uncleanness on my face, I flip a towel around my neck. How people can go around without washing the film of sleep-induced oils and sweat off their face is beyond my reckoning. But actually picking up a washcloth and doing it takes really decisive action on my part for so early in the morning. The main deterrent could be that I use ice-cold water--not wanting to waste gallons of frigid water waiting for the tepidly warm water to arrive. However, once that washcloth hits my face I know I have made it halfway through the tedious morning ritual.

My morning ablutions are so simple, it is difficult for me to admit that I can hardly get through them. I often have to take a break between washing my face and brushing my teeth. The will to just keep pushing on often breaks down in the middle--I can't take any more of this! I admit that I don't shower every morning, because so often I do something that gets me dirty during the day, that I often shower later on. So when I've made it through washing my face, instead of showering, I go get dressed before trying to tackle the next part of washing up.

Bliss for me would be a world where you could wear the exact same comfortable thing every day and everyone would affirm your choice as fashionable, sensible, modest and becoming. My uniform would be jeans, a tee shirt, a sweater if chilly, white socks, and slip-on loafers. Most days are not that simple, but I still have to remind myself not to put on the same dressed-up look as the day before.

Once I'm clothed I still feel that burden of unreadiness--teeth must still be brushed. I love that slick, fresh, minty feel of freshly brushed teeth. When I was in college, I would brush and floss my teeth whenever I needed a study-time pick-me-up. It worked better than caffeine, and my dentist was always amazed at my hygiene. I still like brushed teeth, but I have to actually do it. Squeezing the toothpaste out on my brush, finally doing it, comes as a relief. The last needful decision has been made; the action has been carried out.

But wait--I still have to floss! In my opinion, one of the greatest inventions of the last decade was the flosser. If you haven't discovered them yet, get in your car right now, go straight to the drugstore and find the mouth care aisle. Right where you would find dental floss are these packages with fifty or so little tools that have half an inch of floss stretched across plastic arms just like a miniature cheese slicer. They are for flossing your teeth! Amazing. You don't have to pull out a yard of waxy string and attempt to cut it on a tiny razor edge with a yank hard enough to start a chain saw. You don't have to wrap it around two fingers until they turn purple from lack of circulation. You don't have to try to fit both fists in your mouth while you try to floss, unable to see what you are doing because your bloated, throbbing fingers are in the way. You can now floss one-handed, comfortably, and without fear of needing a finger amputated because of gangrene due to loss of blood flow into that digit.

The feeling of accomplishment once I'm dressed, washed, brushed and flossed gives me the energy to actually face the day and start to do what that day is for. I've left that feeling of limbo--up, but not dressed and ready to go--behind.