A reflection inspired by Dr. Seuss…
…from a book in Sophie’s massive collection that I’ve never read before. A few days ago she crawled up next to me in her bed and said “I’ve got a tongue twister one!” I kind of winced and hoped she didn’t notice because I’m not a fan of tongue-twister books (until I get really into them and impress myself with my reading fluency and accuracy.) So I was in the midst of flying through stanzas about a birthday bird from the land of Katroo, really finding my groove and impressing myself, when the final line of a couplet made me get all existential: “Today you are you,” the bird told the little boy. Today you are you.
Then I went on to read this: If we didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you. If you’d never been born, well then what would you do? If you’d never been born, well then what would you be? You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree! You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes! You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes! Or worse than all that.. Why you might be a WASN’T. A Wasn’t has no fun at all. No, he doesn’t. A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present. But you.. You ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant.”
The cicadas have begun to hum, bringing with them ever-earlier arriving dusks. Physical forms and registration slips are piling up on the counters, parent nights have been scheduled on the calendar, and a final “to do before going back to work” list has been penned. I’ve got goals about healthy lunches and pumpkin bread and hip fall sweaters. All signs that summer is coming to a close.
Signs that we are about to head into it again: the daily grind.
So how will we remember to not slip into the perpetual motion of the routine– to rise above the mundane? Maybe Dr. Seuss had a little bit of the answer. Those words reminded me there is hidden life just beneath the surface of our existance– maybe not even beneath, but within– amidst– prepositions fail here. All of life is pregnant with meaning– because you are you. Because you might not have been, but you are– and all of this might not have been, but it is. And we as human beings, have the blessing (and sometimes the lonely curse) of being aware of this existance.
This hidden meaning amidst and throughout the atmosphere is sometimes easy to see and sometimes very difficult to see. It’s so much easier to see on Saturday mornings (particularly Saturday mornings when you can find the ballet shoes and fooball cleats without swearing)– than it is on Tuesday afternoons. For me, it’s much easier to feel when the windows are open, when there is fresh fruit in the fridge, and when everyone has slept through the night. It’s harder for me to find when I realize there’s nothing but Kraft mac n’ cheese again, when certain six year olds jump right on my guts when I’m lying on the couch, and when I pick up the same ninja turtle dagger over and over and over again to return to its fleeting home in a toy bin.
But even in those hard to see moments, the meaning is there. Because I am here, they are here, we’re all here. We’re all breathing, the universe is breathing. We inhale and exhale meaning. Your breath on glass might just be enough to make you fall over at the wonder of it all.
August- as a friend called it–the Sunday of summer– is drawing to a close and bringing the grind in all of its beauty and drudgery. What will help you remember the inherent Love that is the source of it all? For me– it’s fresh air, it’s writing, and it’s my family. Certain days it’s a song or a conversation. Sometimes it’s actually letting my hands feel the water as I wash the dishes after dinner.
May you remember you are you. You are you and you know you are here and your breath on the glass is telling you the grind is never really a grind at all. (Until you lose the 5th mouthgaurd you bought for football. Then you’re allowed to go berserk.)