Sink or Swim

No one prepares you for the sneak attacks, close calls, near-misses and gut punches that Life often delivers. Instead, you get thrown into the deep end without a life preserver and learn pretty quickly how to swim. I’ve been doing a decent amount of swimming lately. In fact, swimming is probably not even the proper word… It’s a bit more like thrashing, splashing and recklessly tossing limbs hither and yon trying to stay afloat. So I do hope you’ll forgive me, Dear Readers, when I say that my fingers have been a bit too busy to type. As soon as I am able to let go of my emergency floatation device I promise I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled posts.

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

I saw a little black spider in the corner of the ceiling while in the shower this morning and even though I knew it would mean a slow, torturous death for the miniature monster… I also knew it that only one of us was going to survive this shower. It was either him or me. So naturally I chose me… and I drowned him.

Poor little guy. Here it is… finally, mercifully springtime and he crawls out of his tiny crevice either from wintering or simply because he was just born and he starts to build his first delicate web of the season… when all of the sudden some crabby bitch with a personal vendetta against all eight-legged creatures as well as the state of wakefulness in general has to come along and cut his life short.

And let me tell you that the shower isn’t exactly the easiest place to commit murder. Though it IS the cleanest. The problem with the shower is that said method of execution HAS to be what I like to call death by “splash drowning.” I call it “splash drowning” because one must repeatedly throw cups-full of water onto the offending beast and their fragile, new structure until they tumble from whence they came. 

Yes, death via splash drowning is far, far worse and deeply cruel compared to “direct drowning” in say, like… a sink or a toilet, because it is MUCH slower and the spider thinks for a bit that he actually has a chance of surviving this terrifying ordeal.

He’ll try to outrun the waves that continue to crash rhythmically upon him and he’ll do so successfully… for a bit… until, when out of sheer exhaustion, he’ll be spent. He’ll have nothing left and be forced to succumb to his fate, riding the river of death straight down the shower wall, across the floor of the tub… slipping anonymously and unceremoniously into his watery grave.

Now, you might ask: Did you, at any time, feel badly about torturing one of God’s creatures who was merely minding his own business, doing what he was designed to do by choosing your shower corner in which to innocently emerge from winter and spin his little web?

Well… I guess you could say that I did feel an itsy-bitsy amount of guilt and sadness as I watched him rushing helplessly “into the light”… until he got caught on one of the anti-slip treads on the bottom of the tub… and I gave him a swift, wet kick… right down the drain.

Waters of Change

A young mother in faded rolled-up jeans, is resting on a flat, wet rock. Feet buried in the depths of the cool brook, the summer sun dances on her golden hair as water rushes swiftly by. Two small girls with pudgy bare feet and equally golden hair cautiously wade in the waters around her making their way to her out-stretched hand. She is holding something small in the center of her palm and her daughters inch closer and closer to inspect the curious find.

It is a priceless moment that my father captured on film. A rare opportunity to freeze time. The young mother is my mother and the girls, my sister and me, no doubt on a mid-summer family adventure. I can’t recall it specifically, and yet I swear I can hear the water gurgling around me and feel the chill of it lapping at my ankles. The rocks beneath my tiny toes are moss-covered and smooth… and I haven’t a care in the world.

If I had to guess, I’d say the year was probably 1977 and my mom was younger than I am now. Every time I stop and take time to look closely at the photo, I marvel at my mother’s youth and beauty. And I gaze in awe at the two innocent and precious little girls, sheltered from pain, suffering, disappointment, heartbreak and the weight of responsibility. All of those things are out there waiting in the not-so-distant future. Looking back now, knowing what I know, I might have frozen time right then and there.

But the pages on the calendar fly as the years pass by and time has its not-so-friendly-way with us. Experiences etch their marks—forever transforming us into the people we are becoming. Nothing stays the same, its true. But if we look closely through the veil of time—we might still recognize the remnants of what once was. The goodness and the innocence, the curiosity and pure unbridled passion for all things fun! Today I occasionally catch glimpses of the barefoot girls with the golden hair… knee-deep in what I now know to be the rushing waters of change. And although our outward images are constantly being altered by the passage of time—like the rocks beneath a rapid, endless current—I am grateful for all we have managed to hold onto despite the years. Easy smiles and hearty laughs, curious spirits… and hope in tomorrow.