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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Queen of Drama


Drama, drama, drama. What dull lives we would lead without our self-imposed drama, our invention of worries, regrets, minutiae writ large to create our presence, puff up our auras.


This morning while washing my face, or doing my hair, or something at the bathroom sink, I felt a mote in my right eye. Not the wrong eye but the right one.


Happens to everyone. I blinked. I dripped in an eyedrop. But that wicked pain remained. I rinsed the eye in tap water, bending over and cupping my hand under the running water and splashing it into the eye. There. That's better. But it isn't. It's still there. Another eyedrop.


I leave for the rest of the morning routine. With one eye shut I dress, I turn on the computer to print out the work I need to edit today. I go, one eye shut, to the other room for qi-gung, where I sit with both eyes closed, knowing (oh, this knowing I allow myself) that the eye will be healed and pain-free by the time I finish.


But no, it's still there thirty minutes later. In the back of my mind (the dramatic worry I was talking about) is the thought that it is not a mote in my eye (and I haven't even delved into the symbolism of all this) but something chemical. Something I use on my hair dripped into the eye and is inexorably working its caustic way into my eyeball.


By now I am mildly worried and seriously annoyed. I go back to the bathroom sink and let the water run until it is warm. I splash and splash and splash the warm water into the right eye. I finish, dry the eye socket, blink, put in one more eye-drop—and I'm healed.


Let the curtain fall. The morning's drama is over.



Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Right Place

Now here's the dilemma: once you get there, how do you know it's the right place? Even if there are signs (and sometimes they are lacking), they may be wrong, or misleading, or just misinterpreted. If you can't even trust the signs, how do you know when you've reached the right place?


Are the fruit trees in flower? Does crystal ice coat bare branches? Is the cardinal staking his claim to all that he can see?


Does a mossy knoll beckon you to sit beside a creek bed lined with water-smoothed stones? Does light dapple through trees just the way you want it to? Do cows stand together facing you, grazing, brown eyes gazing?


Listen! Can you hear the corn grow? The call of coyote, the yip of fox? Do the massed pebbles at the edge of the water chitter as a wave recedes?


If any of these pertain, it is time to trust. These clues announce that you have arrived at the right place.



Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Small Thing I Cannot Leave

Ann Tudor

They were all small things

but they added up to my life

and they were all to be left.

Finally I cried: I will lose everything!


And then I woke.

Before my cry, my loss,

I had felt the fire gathering

through the house.

We chatted calmly about its progress,

moving from room to room as needed

to escape the smoke.


My cousin was there,

my Buddhist cousin

whose creativity inspires us all.

Did I dream him for his stylishness

or for his Buddha nature?


His presence reminded me

that we are all the Buddha.

His acceptance of the firestorm

growing in my house

did much to make me calm.


But at the end, when we left the patio

because the glow of fire menaced,

even his presence could not deflect

my sudden sharp knowledge:

I will lose it all!

And at that moment the glowing domed roof of the house

burst into final flames and I awoke knowing

that life

is the small thing I cannot leave.


Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Biennial Orgy

After a month of lethargy (much appreciated by me and all who get worn out when I am in Energizer Bunny mode), I suddenly one day became a whirling dervish of activity. Work work work. I can't recall anything that I actually did, but I know it was a lot. Oh yes. I took everything off the shelf of the guest room closet, which is where I store my good table linens after I've washed them. I inspected the tablecloths in good light, looking for spots that I missed when I folded and put them away the first time around (two years ago?). I rewashed and dried a couple of them, then dampened them all by running them with a wet towel through the no-heat setting of the dryer.


Under "natural cleaning products" on the Internet I found an easy recipe for starch (a tablespoon of cornstarch to two cups of water in a spray bottle; shake well). Then I starched those tablecloths and all their accompanying napkins and stored everything in plastic bags overnight.


I wouldn't have started any of this, of course, if I hadn't known that the next day was free. At 10 a.m. on Tuesday I began to iron, spraying on more starch-water as needed. It took me three hours, but honestly once you lay a sheet on the floor around the ironing board to approximate cleanliness and then you turn on the CBC and half-listen to the day's nattering, it seems like no time at all before you have transformed six huge wrinkled white linen tablecloths and 42 large napkins into beautiful ready-for-company table linens.


I do this every two years. Then I gradually use up those ironed treasures for dinner parties. After each party I wash the linens and store them, unironed, on the shelf in the guest room closet. When my drawers are emptied of their store of ironed beauties, I dial down my dinner parties for a year or so: instead of starched white linen I dress the table with colorful, no-iron, cotton, take-me-as-I-am tablecloths and napkins while I gather the strength for the next biennial orgy of ironing.


So that single little orgy has bought me another two years free of heavy-duty ironing.




Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor