Monday, April 29, 2013

sometimes the smallest things make you believe in miracles...

"I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods."  — Wendell Berry 

Friday, April 26, 2013

peter, the un-velveteen rabbit (in honor of all things spring)

He hadn’t always been a sterling silver rabbit. Once he was a REAL rabbit, like the Velveteen Rabbit, only his story worked backwards. Instead of becoming real, he had become a shiny silver knick-knack on someone’s baby grand piano. He missed the days of  hopping freely through the meadow, nibbling on clover and chatting with his friends about the scarcity of garden lettuce. He missed snuggling in the warm burrows with 20 or 30 of his favorite cousins. He missed licking his fur dry after a summer rain. 
Now the closest he had to grooming was a quick polish with the silver cloth once a week. The closest thing to a friend was the crystal candlestick sitting beside him on the piano, and on warm days the candle wax got all melty and emotional. 
How could this happen? He guessed it had started with the witch. She wasn’t a real witch - just an herbalist who lived in a hut at the edge of their rabbit meadow. But she knew a bit of magic, all the same. And she had a temper. She also had an amazing garden. An absolutely irresistible garden.
His great great grandfather had been a famous lettuce thief. Someone wrote a book about him and got famous herself. But at least he ended up back home to tell the tale. He had only stolen Farmer McGregor’s lettuces. If only young Peter had learned from his predecessor’s mistake. 
On the fateful day, Peter woke with a voracious hunger. The meadow clover and a few sprigs of parsley didn’t make a dent. He knew the witch made her market run today, so he decided it was safe to risk a foray into her garden for that mouth-watering bibb lettuce. And it was, oh, it WAS. He’d never tasted anything so crisp, so green, so deliciously thirst-quenching. He was happily munching away when it happened. 
“You’ve pilfered my lettuce for the last time, young rabbit! Now you’ll grace my piano!” 
Peter saw her raise her cane in his direction, and started to run, but it was too late. His spine began to tingle, spreading out in all directions in a wave of freezing cold. His body turned to ice. He felt himself being scooped up and carried, and then set down on the warm burled walnut of the piano, next to the crystal candlestick. “Now you’ve done it,” the candlestick whispered in her frigid voice. “You’ll be here forever!”
“Forever?” He tried to keep the whimper out of his reply.
“Unless you can get her to take back the curse, yes.”
“How do I do that?” 
“In order to keep the curse fresh, she has to polish you every week. If she lets you tarnish, you’ll revert to a real rabbit. And she’s a real stickler for housekeeping, even if she does live in a hut on the edge of a meadow.”
That was three years ago. And she hadn’t missed a polish day yet. Sometimes Peter wondered if he’d ever be able to move again, even if he did get un-cursed.
And then one day it happened. The unthinkable. The undreamed of. The miraculous. 
The witch ran out of silver polish. And it took a month to deliver to that part of the world (there was no Amazon Prime.) By the middle of the first week without a polish, his feet began to tarnish. They also began to warm up. Then one morning he could wiggle his toes again. The next day his nose had a distinctly darker hue. He sneezed. It was happening! 
The witch came back from the post office empty-handed, again. She looked at the empty silver polish jar with real regret - and she looked at Peter. Then she smiled. “I think it’s time the candlestick has a new companion. Maybe a silver stoat would be nice.” She picked Peter up and set him outside the garden fence, on the path to the meadow. 
That night it rained, a wonderfully warm, soft, summer rain. With every raindrop it seemed to Peter that a part of him tarnished and broke free, until he was a real rabbit again. Older, and definitely wiser, but real. And he could still hop! 
He took one look back at the fateful garden, with its delicious lettuces dripping with the remains of last night’s rainfall, and turned his back. From now on, meadow clover would be his gourmet treat!
He wondered if the witch would write a book about him. It might be nice to be famous someday.

leslie young
© 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

sunday morning buzz

 i bet you thought i meant something else ;)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

seeing double.

57-year-old me, in front of my mother's portrait of me, at age five or so. 

Which reminds me of a favorite poem by Walter de la Mare:


As long as I live
I shall always be
My Self—and no other,
Just me.

Like a tree.
Willow, elder,
Aspen, thorn,
Or cypress forlorn.

Like a flower,
For its hour—
Primrose, or pink,
Or a violet—
Sunned by the sun,
And with dewdrops wet.

Always just me.

— Walter de la Mare

Monday, April 8, 2013

the delight of the moment: or why a fuzzy slipper makes the best pillow.

“Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment.” 

 Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

sandburg, on love and life and windows

At a Window

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.