I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Cheryl Schilling lives and writes in Everett, Washington.
8/14/77 — Got up at noon. After that the only thing that held any interest for me was having a roast beef dinner. Nevertheless, I went from writing to chanting to errands. The butcher at Fireside Market picked up a huge chunk of rolled sirloin tip and said he could cut it in half, for $2.06 a lb. My finger pointed to the beef on sale for $1.89 a lb. He dismissed the gesture. “Is it a lot better?” I asked. He nodded. When I got home I tried to fasten a belt attachment on the vacuum, before putting groceries away. Jason came in and saw me struggling, brown grocery bags on the table. “You haven’t even got the ice cream in the freezer yet. It’s going to melt all over,” he screeched. Then, because he was in a hurry himself, he charged back out the door to play.
“You’re not much of a kid anymore,” I say to Jeremy. He really straightens up while I cut his hair. “That’s great,” he says when I finish, looking in the mirror. David, thirteen, just home from soccer practice, looks disgruntled when I say, “You soak in the bath, David. You’ve been working hard.” I suddenly correct myself, and say, “You’ve been playing hard.” His face lights up. It is amazing how our viewpoints affect others’ perceptions of themselves. People easily become discouraged, but what they really want is a happy thought. To imagine oneself playing is much easier on the psyche. He then starts to share with me some soccer footnotes.
Trying to have “fun” with “fun people” is the worst hell there is, when you’re really down.
Communication is the network that strings all our teeth together. Gossip stains them. Pure thoughts produce pure smiles, the real shining brightness. I’ve been there, where truth is a suspect. In the typical business office those jaws tighten when I tell a truth. The jaws are all waiting for me to enter their dark tunnel.