Grace and Beauty in a Frazzled World of Frazzled People

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Grace and Beauty in a Frazzled World of Frazzled People

The young mother driving the van-like vehicular contraption stops so abruptly in the supermarket parking space that the whole machine bounces once, testing its suspension system against a forgotten warranty.

She pushes the door open with one foot while disentangling herself from a cranky seat belt. Her otherwise lovely face is pinched in concentration as she hoists a shoulder bag or two, slings them over her back and circles to the passenger side to dig for a small child who is buckled and cocooned in a plastic and synthetic cloth bucket.

The squirming child frowns in the sunlight and flails about while its mom steadies herself under equal parts of bulging baggage and contorted tot.

At some point, she has everything balanced and in place, and for a moment her world is steady and stable, what with kid planted and detritus organized. Then, she points her squinched nose toward the supermarket and begins steering herself in the direction of automatic doorway safety.

As the young mother disappears with child and burdens into fluorescent air-conditioned sanctuary, she just as abruptly is replaced by an enormous woman emerging from the other automatic entrance, slowly pushing forward a metal wheeled cart packed with all the victuals and cleansers and aids she will need to accompany her through the week. The cart serves as a walker, and it is obvious that she feels pain from her swollen ankles, pain she is accustomed to, pain that is always fresh and relentless.

Her progress across the parking lot is steady, and it is clear that she is as organized as the mother, carefully opening the car trunk and methodically arranging each bag for stability in preparation for the drive home.

Two lives passing in the light.

In just a few years, will the young mother be alone and overweight in an asphalt parking lot? Just a few years earlier, was the large woman a young mother, packing and unpacking her child, keeping it safe and nurtured till distant fly-away time?

The moment passes. The Writer who is writing all this down meanders on to the next parking lot vision, hoping against hope that each sighting will induce some insight, some wisdom, some empathy, for all the sole survivors in all the village parking lots of all the towns in all the world

 

© Jim Reed 2014 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

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Hand Prints on the Sands of Time

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Hand Prints on the Sands of Time

The bright whitish sand in the small hand-made sandbox at my feet pulls my attention away from the green and asphalt world around me.

It is Childhood Summer on Eastwood Avenue and I the small boy am alone this afternoon, playmates scattered to the winds and wilds of the neighborhood.

I stoop to examine the sand up close. The longer I stare, the more un-whitish the sand appears. It seems to be multi-colored—granules of tan, clear crystal, brown, orange, white, off-white, cream.

The more closely I gaze, the more the sand fills my vision, until there is nothing to see but vast stretches of exotic desert, mounds shifting in the breeze, sculpted contours that can change on a whim. Then, to add to the desert, there is all that cannot be seen, that which is barely hidden from view, that which can appear and disappear if I’m not paying attention.

A grunting camel just over the horizon, a green and damp oasis around the next turn, a crawling thirst-craved man following the next mirage, mysterious veiled women offering jugs of sweet water.

I press my open hand, palm down, into the warm sand, forming an inch-deep print for future nomads to discover.

I raise my hand and turn it over to examine the single layer of grains coating all, forming a temporary glove that glistens in the sunlight.

And, as gossamer as a spider web, the sand flies into the air as I brush away the evidence, erase the Sahara box from my mind, and go on to the next adventure and the adventure after the next adventure.

Later, lying abed after a firefly and ice cream evening, I stare at the dark ceiling and re-live the desert adventures, adding color and texture to the story line by switching on my Boy Scout flashlight and reading another chapter of ROBINSON CRUSOE to flavor what dreams may come

 

© Jim Reed 2014 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

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Another Real Life Martian Horror Story Before Halloween

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Another Real Life Martian Horror Story Before Halloween

WALKING TO WOKING: TAKING A MARTIAN TOUR

 We are trudging through the sand pits at Woking, looking carefully about for any signs of Martian space ships, when I realize for the umpteenth time in my life that it’s good to get away and do something different with mind and body and spirit.

This is 15 years ago, and I am in England with a group of scholars, authors and fans of H.G.Wells. We are walking together near the town of Woking.

H.G. Wells lived in Woking (Great Britain) whilst writing THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, and a few things, such as the sand pits, have not radically changed.

In the cool and humid forest we finally find the exact landing site of the Martian cylinders, then go on to other landmarks of the Martian invasion—places where houses and buildings had been destroyed, and the house where the story’s hero had lived.

Once in the town square, I got to stand beneath a replica of one of the 55-foot-high Martian robots, something these aliens had left behind when an earthly virus finally killed them all off.

H.G. would have been delighted to see this machine, but he might have expressed disappointment that his warnings about unanticipated invasion (invasion from Fascists, invasion from bad ideas, etc.) have gone largely unheeded, generation after generation.

Soon after he published WAR OF THE WORLDS, the invasions of WWI began, the war destined not to be the war to end all wars. And finally, in 1945, Wells had a chance to see what horrible use his predictions about atomic energy would be put to.

The good news is, Wells’ early draft of a universal human rights statement for mankind was adapted by the League of Nations, then the United Nations. His visionary views of racial harmony, feminism, sexual freedom, equality and freedom from repression have stuck with us. But it’s good to know that there’s an ever-present reminder of what can happen if mankind doesn’t learn to stick together and get along: the Martian machine can be re-animated at any time and the world can plunge once more, as it has plunged many times in the past, one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back…

It’s hard to find the pony some days, but, as Wells reminded us: Despite the despairs and depravities of humanity, we must accomplish two things simultaneously. 1. do everything we can to fight them, and 2. live each day as if these despairs and depravities do not exist.

After my Martian trek through the forests of Woking, I return to the States with renewed hope, and within two days I contract a strange virus

© Jim Reed 2014 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

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Whatever Happened to Whatever It Is That I Just Said

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Whatever Happened to Whatever It Is That I Just Said

Sometimes I say something I don’t mean.

Sometimes I say something I don’t mean but just for effect want you to think I mean.

Sometimes I say something I don’t mean just to get a reaction from you.

Sometimes when you say something I don’t agree with, I don’t let on, just to keep from getting into an argument or a debate.

Sometimes I regret having just said something I mean.

Sometimes I regret having just said something I don’t mean.

Sometimes I regret not having said something I meant to say.

Sometimes I say something I mean but realize I gained nothing by saying it.

Sometimes I say something just to get a laugh.

Sometimes I say something I don’t believe just to get a laugh.

Sometimes I say something in a funny way just to soften the blow.

Sometimes I say something in a funny way that neither of us wants to hear. That way, we can both say “ouch!” and face the truth but still get a laugh.

Sometimes I say something tragic with humor.

Sometimes I say something funny to suppress a tear.

Sometimes I make a wisecrack just to keep you at a slight distance.

Sometimes I wisecrack in order to bring you closer.

Sometimes I deflect your anger with a smart remark.

Sometimes I try to get you to laugh, just to help you rise above the darkness.

Sometimes I wish you would make me laugh despite myself.

Sometimes I wish you cared enough about me to make me smile.

Sometimes I make a wisecrack to bond us together.

Sometimes I wish the whole world would take a step back, look around at the cosmic joke, and spend a moment laughing together.

As H.G. Wells said, “To laugh is to awaken.”

Sometimes I want to shake you awake

© Jim Reed 2014 A.D.

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

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