Lamps

It occurred to me this morning that we should strive to be like lamps.  Lamps come in all shapes and sizes, take many different types of bulbs, and are of many different colours.  However, they all have one purpose:  to shed light.  But what is the function of light?  It brightens, yes, but it also clarifies.  It even warms ever so slightly.

There’s a side of lamps we never really consider, though– they are shaded.  Something *protects* their light.  Shades prevent the light shining so brightly that it becomes harsh and painful.  They stop people accidentally touching hot bulbs.  They focus the light in the spot where it belongs.  In essence, these are the aspects that shape the light and allow it to do its job efficiently.

So what if we were like lamps?  We’d be accepting of all shapes, sizes, and colours.  We’d be aware of who needs more shade than others, and we’d be accepting of that, recognising that the shade only helps us give as best we can.  Some of us would be warmer than others, but even the coldest would have a purpose.  We would shine as individual lights serving a common purpose, but we could still shine together to shed light on the world.

Lines of light

I’ve always seen auras.  When I was still at school, teachers thought I was mad because I kept describing shades of colour surrounding people and shifting in to beautiful patterns that seemed to change with emotions.  I could *feel* the atmosphere changing as their moods shifted.  This is nothing special, really.  I truly believe it’s something we all can do.  Living in a cult environment, I had to be acutely aware of changing moods in order to gauge levels of danger.  Therefore, logic follows that my sense of reading auras would be well developed and remain in place.

Now, though, I’m seeing strings of light.  This is new.  Before anyone wonders, I am still taking my meds as prescribed and am not having psychotic symptoms.  I’m perfectly lucid.  But there are visible connections between beings and objects around me.  Little strings of white or golden light drawing connections.  They seem to predict how objects and beings are going to interact with one another.  I see how things resonate through the vibrations of the lights.  It’s frightening and wonderful all at once.  No idea how this will progress, but I’m trying to learn more about it and see how I can develop the sense to help bring peace.  That is, afterall, the grand purpose of anything metaphysical I’ve ever experienced.  It’s just odd at the moment.

Oddities

I’m having an odd experience, for want of better words.  As it turns out, I’m a mobile phone hoarder.  Hadn’t really thought of it as such, but I realised a few days back that there are seven mobiles in my desk drawer.  Seven.  Swimming through the cell phone graveyard, I noticed one relatively old T-Mobile model.  Immediately, my mind started whirring.  I have a memory attached to this little clamshell phone, and it’s just beyond my grasp.  I see myself sitting in a park, wearing a denim jacket, and opening the text message screen.  Then, I see myself start to text.  And that’s it.  There are strong emotions attached to this almost memory.  Very strong.  I just can’t quite access it.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I have switched cell carriers after much ado.  The phone is very, very simple.  It’s seven years old and no longer supported by T-Mobile’s servers, so it has no Internet access.  The dialpad looks like a traditional telephone, so there is no keyboard.  No camera, no apps, et c.  I had been using a Samsung Android smartphone with a very large touchscreen, loads of apps, and all sorts of online capabilities.  However, I feel better with this tiny, incredibly generic clamshell mobile phone, simply because it runs on T-Mobile.

The overarching, maddening and incredibly daft thought was that, if only I switched back to T-Mobile, everything would be ok again.  Everything would be the same.  I have absolutely no idea what’s driving this feeling or what ‘the same’ actually means.  All I know is my bill increased by $10, my phone became incredibly basic and I feel a bit better, more settled, with no idea of why.

Sounding Off: School Uniforms

One of my roommates and I were talking about this topic this morning, and it seemed like perfect fodder for a blog post.  School uniforms and abortion are the two topics most teachers ban from argument papers, as they have been said in as many ways as humanly possible.  They have not, however, been said on this blog.  I’ll not deal with the abortion issue, as I don’t feel like sifting through a load of angry comments.  My views on school uniforms are simple, though: require them.

Growing up in England, I always wore school uniforms.  I know that it isn’t a requirement in all state schools now, but in my day it would have been hard to find a school-aged child in ‘street clothes.’  To me, uniforms are somewhat of an equaliser.  Students are not teased for their clothing if uniforms are required; everyone is wearing relatively the same outfit.  Yes, teasing will still happen one way or another.  Having school uniforms cuts down on the opportunities, though.

A common counterargument is that requiring uniforms stifles a child’s individuality.  This is disturbing, particularly since it seems to say we measure individuality almost entirely based on clothing.  Children *are* individuals.  Even identical twins retain individuality, and they are…well…identical.  Our children emerge as athletes, thinkers artists, et c.  People in their own right.  What they are wearing should be only a small consideration of individuality.

Uniforms stop the majority of teasing about a student’s clothing, and they can allow for individuality to shine in many other ways.  We have no issues with adults wearing uniforms at their work, so why do we get so put off about the idea of children wearing uniforms at school?

Gentle Voices

I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes.  I wasn’t actually crying.  The tears were just shining there in my eyes, and I felt a sort of heaviness in my chest.  I had been thinking about my sister.  I think of her often, of course, but this morning I missed her so much that it overwhelmed me.  I could see, feel and hear her as if she was right by my side.

Then, something occurred to me.  She *was* by my side.  I could see her as a shadowy figure right there sitting beside me on the bed, just as she did so many early mornings whilst she was alive.  I couldn’t touch her, as she did appear to be a body of energy, rather than a physical body.  I could hear her so very clearly, though.  She had no great revelations.  She just told me hello and gave me that smile I’ve missed so much.

My sister was like a daughter to me.  I raised her from an infant, and I filled the role of parent far before people thought I should be able to do.  When she died, I felt a part of myself ripped away.  Interacting with her this morning helped me feel that part of myself that died along with her.  For a brief minute, I felt more whole than I have since her death 11 years ago.

She was gone as quickly as she came.  Only a brief minute or two.  Still, I got to see that wonderful smile, and whilst her having to leave again is painful, having seen her at all is a better gift than I’d ever have hoped of.  I loved my sister with all of my heart and tried to be the best parental role model I could be to her.  She had a difficult go of it for that very reason.  She was a child being raised by a child.  However, she was such a kind child, and her willingness to find her way back to me is typical of her sweet soul and gentle spirit.

That beautiful little smile will stay with me for quite some time.  There is no better gift than having been able to see it once again.

Poetic Prose

The weather here has been gorgeous.  Temperatures have been in the mid 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, which is a great departure from the average.  It’s returned to winter this week, though, and the words of James Joyce are dancing about in my head.  His short story collection Dubliners is a literary puzzle that I enjoyed both deciphering and teaching.  The last story, aptly entitled “The Dead” ends with one of the most beautiful passages in literature.  It brings me a sense of peace:

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

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Joyce, James. “The Dead.”  Dubliners.  Prestwick House, Inc, 2006

Football Conundrums

I readily confess to being a diehard Liverpool Football Club fan.  As per my mother’s request, I took diction lessons to lose the Scouse accent.  This is ironic, because she was a Geordie.  Anyway, the Scouser in me remains loyal to the Reds, which puts me in a bit of a conundrum, as I can’t keep up with the matches well from all the way over here in America.

Does anyone know of a source that broadcasts LFC matches available in the US?  I tried Radio 5 online, but I don’t think they broadcast the actual match.  The Premier League open between Liverpool and Sunderland ended in a 1-1 draw.  I can get reports like that, but I’d love to see the action, even if it’s in replay.

Suggestions for a far-flung ‘Pud anyone?

For Goodness Sake

I hear that phrase said constantly here in the American South.  It’s only been during the flooding and in the ice storm of 2009 that I’ve seen it acted out daily.  People are literally doing things for the sake of goodness.  At times like these, I’m rather proud of our small Southern towns.  People help one another.

Thursday, I realised I had some items checked out from the library that were more than a bit overdue.  In fact, they were overdue to the tune of a $6 fine.  I was mortified; I’m hardly ever late with library items for more than a day.  When I went to turn them in, I apologised to the librarian profusely, citing flooding as the cause of my lateness, as well as the cause of the newly-warped DVD booklets.  She backdated everything and completely took away the fine.  I nearly burst in to tears on the spot.  Yes, it is a very small gesture, but it has amazing ramifications.  At that moment, someone very obviously cared about the situation and acted on that feeling.

I’ve seen things like that happening all about.  Neighbours are coming together to sandbag houses, people not affected by the flooding are bringing food and essentials to shelters, and volunteers are working round the clock to help comfort and provide for people displaced by the rising waters.  All the while, entire communities have waited nervously to see if the floodwalls and levees would hold.  In spite of the tension, though, people are truly acting to help others.  At the shelter where I stayed, complete strangers began to seem like family.  We were there to comfort and help each other, just as people were doing outside the world of the shelter.  Some of us will probably stay in touch long after the waters recede.

We’re not out of danger yet, but the rivers are receding slowly.  Many of the small towns directly against the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers are still fighting against additional flooding.  Houses, including ours, have been lost.  Farms have been destroyed.  Businesses have been ruined.  The structures and lives that have been damaged will take months, if not years, to repair.  But we *will* rebuild.  It’s what we do.  In any situation, the sun does rise eventually.  Life moves ahead.  We might struggle with our losses and the darkness of immediate recovery.  Eventually, though, we will look back on this as a turning point in our lives, a time when we were forced to use our strength and resources to start over.  We will eventually see it as a beginning, rather than as a dark and difficult end.

Thanks so much to the National Guard, Red Cross, and many many people and organisations who have been invaluable to us.  Many of you continue to stand by us as we start the recovery stages, and we are all so very grateful.

Old Men in Big Boats

There’s been rather alot of flooding in this area.  In fact, our back porch has become a swimming pool, successfully ruining several books and photographs stored there, as well as a set of furniture and a small television.  Annoying, yes, but it could have been *much* worse.  The whole situation will be worse if the strained levees along the Ohio River break.  The river is expected to crest on 3 May.  My eyes will be on the levee til that passes and the water starts to drop.

Lily, along with a few of the other internal little ones, is absolutely terrified by all of this.  She’s scared of storms, anyway, so the days of storms we’ve had got her a bit put off.  Then, she heard people talking of the ‘end times.’  That prompted her to text my best friend yesterday and complain about the disappearing roads.  So far, our road remains open.  Lily is just bothered by all of the talk of catastrophic flooding, none of which has happened.  As long as that bloody levee holds, we’ll be fine.

We’re expecting another 9-13 inches of water by mid-week, then a brief period of clearing, then a bit more storms.  Always fun and exactly what we needed.  The state is under emergency, so we’re at least building resources.  Floodwalls are closed, and sandbags are in place.  That further upset Little Peoples, even though it means we’re getting prepared.  Little Peoples remember the ice storm of 2009.

In fact, we all remember that storm.  A bit of a drive down highways makes it obvious, as there are still broken trees everywhere.  As well, we know the newly-constructed monuments and buildings taking the place of stuff that was broken.  My therapist said she actually thought she might try EMDR to help her with memories of the ice storm, especially now that we’re facing flooding.  Too many of us have been taken back to that odd time period.

Thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches are out now.  I will be so glad when this is over.

These pictures were taken after the first round of flooding.  This round has dumped enough to raise the river another 8 feet than it was at the time I took these.

Flooded upper-level park

Bench at upper-level park

Top Markers on Upper-level Walkways

No Parking Sign, mid-level lot