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Sunday, November 23, 2008


I saw a picture postcard showing Glastonbury at dawn, and I wanted to be there. Actually, I'd settle for being anyplace at dawn, to watch the rosy fingers of Aurora, daughter of the dawn, spreading over the entire sky, tinting the valley peachy-pink, misting the whole scene in apricot.


If we all lived in a place where we could see such a dawn every morning, would we be better for it? Or would we not even bother to get up to see it? Would it become old hat, stale, such an accustomed view that we wouldn't make the effort?


I want to see the dawn. Not the puny, smog-enhanced sunrise, muffled by an overcast sky, that I see now. Not the sun coming up somewhere behind that condo standing between me and the eastern horizon. I want to see dawn whole. I want to see the light begin to spread, from the faintest lightening of the darkness (because in this treasured spot that I am imagining there will be darkness, not the glow of mercury vapor streetlights that keep the dark away). I want to see the dawn spread slowly—and yet happen so quickly that if you look away you miss the crucial moment.


For they are all crucial moments, those moments of watching, watching for, the dawn, and I'm sick of missing them. When I come to account for my time on earth, how feeble it will sound to have to say, "Well, I must admit it was never really convenient for me to take in the birth of the sun as seen from planet Earth. I'd like to have seen it every day, of course, but it just didn't fit my lifestyle."


Copyright 2008 Ann Tudor   

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I've been thinking about spirals lately. It all started when at a weekend workshop I met a woman who wore her thick hair in long, fat ringlets, like the ones that obsessive mothers used to create for their little girls, using rags for curlers. Or the kind that an Austen or a Bronte heroine might have sported in clusters beside each ear. The woman I saw at the workshop had a score of soft, fat ringlets falling around her face and down the back of her head. It was an interesting statement, but it seemed like a pretty labor-intensive way to make that statement.


But seeing those ringlets made me think of curls, whether pincurls (which was how you created curls before the days of rollers and hand-held hair dryers) or naturally occurring curls like Shirley Temple's. Curls that soften the face. Curls that look cute or, when pulled back from the forehead in just the right way, look Hellenic and classic.


And from those thoughts it was only a short slide to similar curly, springy items: springs, for example. Slinkies, boing-y things that cushion our modern lives: shock absorbers, comfortable mattresses and sofas. Where would we be without springs?


And what is a spring but a spiral? That ancient spiral is still with us, a symbol of the goddess, of abundance, of change and motion. A spiral moves in both directions: from the inside out and from the outside in. The first leads to openness and the cornucopia image of allowing and offering, abundance and possibility. The spiral from the inside to the outside is full of movement and potential.


But what happens when you spiral inward, to those inner, hidden parts? Our culture encourages us to live on the outside and show the world only our superficial nature. If we spiral from the outside in, we discover, in the cave of our nautilus shell, a quiet world that we don't have to show to anyone. We begin to discover our true selves.


The spiral represents healing and discovering. Think of not only a physical spiraling of limbs and bones, muscle and fascia, but also a spiraling of energy through the body.


Spirals: shells, pinwheels (both the wind-blown kind and the ones made of pie crust), tornadoes and hurricanes, the stems of clematis leaves and the spiraled tendrils of grape vines, the spider's webs that spiral inward from her anchors. Everywhere we look in nature we see spirals.


So let's run right now to the playground and watch the curly-haired boys and girls on the spiraling slides.


Copyright 2008  Ann Tudor

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Brown recluse. Black widow. Wolf spider. Every city I've lived in has had its urban legends of the local spider population. While we lived in Lawrence, Kansas, the brown recluse was said to be invading the state. These unprepossessing little guys would hide in dark places and when they bit you you would be really sorry and probably die. I never saw one, but I did spend a lot of energy worrying about what I would do if I did see one.


In Denver it was the wolf spider. They were huge and very hairy, larger than a tarantula. And they jumped. They weren't poisonous, particularly (not more than any insect bite), but they would give you a heart attack by jumping in front of you (or—imagine!—on to you). They were the size of a newborn kitten, but with a lot more legs than a kitten and a fearsome mien, unlike the kitten's innocuous cuteness. Wolf spider, oh lordy. But I never saw one and never met anyone who had seen one.


I have a friend whose house is "arachnid-friendly," which I think is an admirable goal. I sweep away webs when I notice them (about once a year), but I don't harm the spider. But a wolf spider would send me scurrying up the stairs. And a brown recluse would bite me as I tried to do the glass-and-cardboard thing to take it outside. And do I really want a brown recluse hiding in my garden? I'd have to give up deadheading.


Whether you are an arachnophobe or an arachnophile, you will want to see the Larry Sanders show about spiders, with Carol Burnett as a guest. If I ever need to make myself laugh regularly in order to cure a disease (a la Norman Cousins), I'm going to watch this show twice a day.


Copyright 2008 Ann Tudor