Because all experiences are valuable.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


this is after

looking for lost pennies in the cracks
of the street,

yet I have to

find the dust you left, or it will leave
on the soles of my feet,

speck by speck

I inadvertently walk you to a place you
never went before,

as I collect

the coins for the ferry, distinct from
the coins for the poor.

Sylace 4-2611

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm at a loss

Sylace is rarely, almost never, at a loss for words.
But I am right now. I would like to write poetry and it just sticks inside like a rusty staple the poor cow just consumed in the hay bale.
I would like to have something appropriate to say during this time, when my sons' father has just passed away.

It would be good to know that all of the wonderful things you think about how lucky it all was in the end, to have had that extra 2.5 years, to have had time to work out old issues, to have gone on safely and quietly into the hands of God...it would be good to know that one will feel the same way in six months, in six weeks, even.

That there won't be something you forgot to say, or ask, or express your long repressed emotion about...
The mind makes the best of things, you know, and strong spiritual beliefs are a wave of forward moving comfort that carries you and your loving supporters along through "the things that must be done," depositing you on the beach in the sunshine where you feel safe.

I think the sugar sand will remain this time, not embedded with sharp shells of regret that slice the unsuspecting toe at an inopportune time. I generally just bit into it, and waded into the ocean to let the salt purify the wound for me. No band-aids for little girls who have grown up roaring back at the Atlantic ocean as soon as the milk teeth are dry. I am eternally grateful to have been gifted with Charleston, SC as my second mother.

I know that Jason, who passed away early in the morning of April 18th, was both eager to go and desperate to stay. Really to be mentally intimate with the dying as they near their beautiful release is an experience of such growth...for both parties...that I think far too many people avoid it, to their detriment. People used to be much closer to death in their lives than we are now.

The clarity of thought, finally...after a lifetime of confusion and conflicting desires, when there are no desires left to have...is a last wonder of the soul in the flesh.

Sleep well, Jason. Of all the human beings on the earth who are so misunderstood, I offer you this odd thing in tribute:
I knew you. I understood you. I called you my friend. You mattered.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm Lovin' it!!

Ok, now on a happier note, though no less exhausted then two minutes ago when I posted the last one...

Had an indescribably fun trip with MJL last weekend. Short weekend, short trip...long on the good stuff.
MJL is highly tolerant of my idiosyncrasies, such as my strange penchant for McDonald's Happy Meals....and my habit of blogging about bizarre McDs ephemera.

So we were, um, somewhere...literally I have no idea...North Carolina...could be South Carolina by that point, and the McD's truck was pulled in unloading the frozey fries and etc. (I know, I know...there is no such thing as "and etc.") Sometimes it is just poetic license. I look over at MJL and say, hey, I need a picture of me and that McDonald's truck and maybe that cool rolley conveyor thing that the boxes come down.

Seriously, he was like...ok, sure. You have to love that.

So, in usual McDs twilight zone of experience, I climbed up next to the driver and was trying to tell him why I wanted the picture. I said I have a blog, and I end up writing about McDonalds a lot. He said, you have a what?? I said, I have a blog. He said, a what???
(this is funnier somehow without quotation marks). I tried to explain. He didn't get it. He really didn't get it.
He never did get it.

I didn't know there was anyone left under age sixty who didn't know what a blog is, even if he or she never read one. But who cares, right? It was all about the journey... 

I love the way MJL lets me wander far afield of the path, deviating at right angles on a moment's notice like the Pied Piper, and just follows me as I disappear into the evergreens or the bamboo. I can follow the fairy trail as rapt and as blithely as I please, because I guarantee you that nothing is ever going to come at me from behind. I know he is there...and when I stop, he will be right beside me.

You are the best of companions, Michelangelo...in every possible way... on all the journeys, real, imagined, geographic or metaphysical. The very best.   

Running the Gantlet

I am completely unclear as to why every single college semester of my life has wound down to its end, generally following the syllabus well, only then to be finished up in a heinous flurry of activity as if the teacher didn't know all along what was to be taught. Why does some major project need to be completed at the end of every semester, in every class? Why does there need to be one last huge important test, right before finals week??

It makes zero sense to me. It isn't like we are behind in our classes. I would say they are on track, which means the professors actually plan things this way! Hey...here's an idea...let's completely brain fry the students with requirements for double counted grades (200 points, yay!) in the last week. Clearly they all conspire together. They are out somewhere sipping margaritas, and laughing uproariously at us. ( my speech professor gets a pass...we don't have a speech final)  I'm just wondering why things can't be nicely spaced across the semester.

It is like running the gantlet at the end of every term, sans quilted padding, while not only being assaulted with blunt weapons, but asked to explain why an antigenic shift is important in the case of H1N1 Swine flu and its transmission to humans. Yes, I feel strongly about this....sigh. I think it is tradition. It weeds out the weak, I suppose.

And please do not get me started on the difference between a gauntlet and a gantlet. Next time I run through the fingers of a large cuffed glove, I will let you know. I am too too frigging tired to argue with you. Thank you for your kindness....you are most gracious, indeed.  ;-)

Exhaustedly yours, Sylace

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Curious Case...

It is finally April. Am I the only one who thought March seemed to go on a very long time? And whatever happened to coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb? A 42 degree lamb, apparently. Oh well, if I can't find something better to write about than the weather, I should hang it up...

Last night, MJL and Reid and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One of MJL's favorites, and Reid had seen it once and loved it, but I had not seen it. I'm thinking my impression begets a blog on The Curious Case of Sylace's reaction to Benjamin Button. I was very moved by the subtlety of the cinematography and the art direction. You know I can't watch a movie without analyzing the costuming, and I thought the design aesthetic was striking in its functional simplicity. Restraint was key, and yet historical accuracy was precise. In other words, there was nothing jarring that took me from the emotional and psychological elements of the character development. So why would I call this a curious reaction?

I had heard all good things about the movie from those I knew who saw it. I meant to go see it in the theater, but it just slipped by me. Reid told me I simply had to see it, but to be sure and take kleenex with me; it had even made him tear up.  Some other girlfriends told me it had them bawling at the end. Now, I had read some reviews that said it was too long and drawn out, and I had heard reports from male friends that they didn't enjoy it and just didn't get it...but those were mostly from sources I view as the general antithesis of my moviegoing opinion, so in effect, those were positive reviews as well!  (lol, Sylace logic)

I didn't cry. I didn't tear up. I did not perceive any sadness in the situation between Daisy and Benjamin. Watching her hold him, a small baby, as he died- and in full and final recognition of Daisy- I was possessed of an inspiring sense of rightness, of the obviousness of the truths of human experience. I said to MJL that I have thought before, often, of how I wished I could experience those I love as babies- to hold them for just a minute. In the calm of the infinite vulnerability of an infant, and the way they look at you with complete and utter trust- and I look back at them with unconditional love and protection. I had this experience twice with my boys. I know I will have it again some day with grandchildren. It is a future goal of mine to be a fabulous grandma. It is only fair...because I only got one, but she was worth her weight in gold. And my mother was so good for my boys as a grandma.

If you had asked me a year ago if I ever had a thought for being a grandparent, I would have said jokingly...only the fears of a mom of two teenage boys. But no, the thought would have been a distant future consideration. I have a lot to do on my path yet, but I know with all possible confidence that I am on the right one, because Benjamin Button evoked in me a sense of generativity.

We learned in Human Growth and Development that Erikson's Psychosocial Crisis of Middle Adulthood is one of Generativity vs. Stagnation.  Generativity is evidenced by growing in concern for future generations, what one is achieving and providing for them. Stagnation is increasing frustration with a lack of  one's own productivity that actually results from egocentricism and unwillingness to help society move forward. Successful resolution of this psychosocial crisis results in the adaptive ego quality of Caring. If this is mumbo jumbo to you, don't worry. I would have known what it meant before this class, but I still might have rolled a jaundiced eye heavenward at the concept of the psychosocial crisis. But now I am a convert. There are some valid additions to be made to Erikson's theories, but I think they are frickin' genius. How's that for sociological commentary?

I really loved the movie... I can't put it in my top 25 or anything, largely because I adore Forrest Gump. I should do another post on my expose of Winston Groom as the perpetrator of a thinly disguised "homage" (I'm being nice!) to this brilliant short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read both the book of Forrest Gump, and the sequel... and I have to tell you that the first book was marvelous, and the second was just awful. I couldn't figure it out!! Why was the sequel so poor? Now I know!! Because Fitzgerald didn't write a sequel to Benjamin Button. However, the merits of Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sally Field and Robin Wright propel Forrest Gump into my top 25 in spite of my new knowledge. Maybe I am being unfair... there is a concept that says that an idea will emerge when it is time, and if one person doesn't bring it forth, another will. It explains why so often an invention  or critical step forward is reached by more than one person, independent of each other, at the same time...

Victor Hugo, a visionary the likes of whom society rarely sees, said this, "Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

I am experiencing an enthralling confluence of ideas whose time has come for me. The always present, but finally awakened, nurse in me wants to hold you all with unconditional love and protection.

And to you, MJL, inspiring me yet again with your triumph over egocentricism...I don't care how you got to be who you are or how long it took you, or what you had to wade through to get here, I only thank God that you did.  
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." - Victor Hugo