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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wiser Than I Was

I could be dumb as a post

and still be wiser than I was.

Some are born wise.

Some acquire wisdom along the way.

And some have wisdom thrust upon them

(if they are lucky)


by gods who have lost patience with

their refusal to learn.


Not that I claim wisdom for myself now,

I hasten to add.

But all things are relative

(more about that later)

and compared to who I was and remained

for so long--too long

(so long, oo-long, and so forth)--

compared to that person

I am the sage of the century.


Back to that relativity.

Not only is it all relative,

but it is also all related.

Deny this at your peril.

Denying our common connectedness

marks you as that dumb-as-a-post person

I once was.


Accept the connectedness (step one).

Act on it:

build a life based on it (step two of three).

It's easier said than done.

It may take a lifetime to achieve it.

Step three: be patient.


Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I was at a posh fund-raiser recently. When we had completely gorged ourselves on the chefs' offerings at the sixty food stalls, we turned our attention to the silent auction items, drifting past the numerous tables laden with donated Things that you might want to add to your collection of Things. I was unmoved by most of the products.


And then I saw a clarinet. A brand-new one, its three sections nestled in a velvet-lined box. How cool is that, I thought. Next to it was a trumpet, similarly pristine, beautifully presented. And next to these two was a flute. A flute! A silvery, not-too-expensive flute! I could play the flute again—I know I could. I still remember the fingerings (except for some of the high-register adjustments, but I could get an instruction book for those). This wouldn't be like the cello. I wouldn't be starting from ground zero. I already know how to play the flute! Marching band! Concert band! And I could find a friend to play guitar or piano while I tootled on the flute. We'd make music.


The flute's stated value was $400, with a starting bid of $200. I hesitated, I dreamed, I imagined. And then I moved on. But I kept glancing back at the flute. Were there any bids yet? Was it feeling unloved? I wanted that flute in the worst way. And then I left it behind and the longing dissipated.


It wasn't until the next morning that realized why I had not bid for that flute. There is no time in my life for a flute. My cookbook manuscript is demanding more and more attention; it is obvious that there is no room at all in my present life for a flute. Tootling will have to wait.



Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Your Suitcase Has Been Searched

Your suitcase has been searched, and it was I, with my curious eye, who searched it. I sensed that you were carrying contraband. What have you to say in your defense?


She told me this: One woman's contraband is the next woman's legal and official necessity, the feedbag of her soul, the sole source of her sustenance. Remove it from a suitcase as you search and you will bear the dire consequences.


Let's put an end, she went on, to suitcase-searching as a strategy. Leave to each one the things she holds most dear: her awareness of the moon, for example, or her memory of the pre-dawn bird orchestra heard from the darkness of her front porch.


Whatever contributes to my joy or life is mine to keep. I will protect it with a sign that reads "DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE SUITCASE." You have no right to peer into the rites and celebrations of my life. It is MY right to learn to know the planet of my existence.


I wondered what they meant, these high-flown words of hers flung in rebellious anger. But I used the brilliant light of her words to search my own suitcase and found it lacked what I really needed. Is it too late, I asked her, to go back, too late to repack?


Her reply had a familiar ring: It's time to pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.


Smile, she said again.



Copyright 2014 Ann Tudor