Posts tagged “autism

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Little One in black and white

Little One in black and white

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Did you just call me a slob…again?

We were sitting on the couch, my little one and I, with his mom on the love-seat across from us, watching a movie.  We had a bowl of popcorn between us, and as my little one reclined into one of the pillows, he took handfuls of the popcorn and not so delicately or accurately plied the fluffy stuff into his mouth.  When the majority of the bowl was gone, he started playing with the pieces of popcorn, alternately flicking them into his mouth or smashing them in his palm and then licking-up the pieces like a dog.  We paused the movie occasionally to ask or answer a question, to run to the bathroom, get a refill of one of our drinks or the other…and then continued watching and eating and enjoying the movie and each other’s company.  The further into the bowl we got, the more broken pieces of popcorn there were on the little one’s blanket, pillow, pajamas, and surrounding couch area.

I reached over to pick-up some of the crumbs and broken pieces to put them back in the bowl…and made a mistake….

“Do you think you’re making a big enough mess, you little slob?”

Quiet.

Did you just…call me a slob?

My little one asked this with a quivering chin and downcast eyes as he picked a piece of popcorn off of the blanket beneath his chin and placed it anxiously into his mouth.

“Well yeah, look at the mess…hey….”

There were big alligator tears and an immediately running nose and the sobbing of words and half words that I couldn’t understand between his crying and the movie and his mom and my questioning and….

“Hey there…I was just playing….”

Why…did you…call…me that?  What was…why are you….

And more tears…and my heart was breaking at his breaking heart and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and oh….

“Hey, Buddy, look at me,” as I patted his foot, “I was only playing…you’re making such a mess here…hey…look…I was only playing.”  I reached over and dragged him to me….  “Hey…I call your mom a slob too, sometimes…when she makes a mess…I wasn’t trying to be mean….”

And his chest was shaking and he was wiping tears across his face and his mom brought over a Kleenex to blow his nose…and I was holding back a smile in my amazement and tears in my sadness at how I had just crushed his little heart…his daddy calling him a slob.

“Hey there…why are you crying?  I was only playing….”

I…don’t like…being…called names.

“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry, Buddy.  I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings or upset you…I was just playing with you.”

I accept your…apology.  Sniff….

An important aspect of my little one’s life and existence, at this point in his eight years (now eleven), and possibly for many more years as he learns to decipher and remember the various meanings of our vast array of socially constructed and freighted expressions and intentions and nuanced meanings, is his acceptance of things as they are presented to him.  He doesn’t see the gray or shading in many of our words and intentions.  The idiosyncrasies of our speech and the subtle and not-so-subtle meanings of our paired words sometimes escape him, even when we’re joking around…they mean, to him, what they literally mean.  In my playing, I forgot about the concreteness of his brilliant little mind…and the tenderness of his easily broken heart.

Oh…how it hurts sometimes….

*****

This is a Favorite Re-post from April, 2010.


How much longer…?

Innocence smiles large as the boys rescue The Cube and ride their motorized scooter and roller-blades about the cul-de-sac, announcing to me in passing that they are on their way to destroy Megatron.  Hood up on his sweatshirt jacket, my little one is on the roller-blades and moves awkwardly about, wheel-walking, not rolling, strange dance of plastic and clatter rushing off to secure some imagined zone.

The December sky is gray with fat and heavy clouds; an occasional breeze or gust of wind ripples the overgrown palm fronds and the garbage truck is making its Tuesday afternoon rounds in the neighborhood a couple streets in the distance.  My grandson is on the motorized scooter and is wearing orange, star-shaped sunglasses to shield him against the glare of battle in his efforts to defeat the Transformers’ foes.  My little one’s enthusiasm for the game is waning as a little trio of afternoon walkers enter and make a circuit of the cul-de-sac – a young mother-girl pushing her baby in a stroller as grandmother walks with her Down’s Syndrome old-man of a son in a straw cowboy hat who marvels at the Samoyed who is sticking his nose and white head through the hole at the bottom of the neighbor’s backyard wall.  The cling-cling of the bicycle bell and the metallic crash as the bike crunches into the sidewalk and the garbage truck is still a few streets away.

“Can we go in now?”

“Don’t you want to play two-player on the Nintendo?” he says, as he kneels in the rocks and examines a pigeon feather, “Don’t you want to?”

“No, not really.”

“Dad, can we go inside in 15 minutes?”

Ok.

He likes to orient things and events and know when they are going to happen.  It helps him predict his world.  He’s happier and less anxious that way.  It settles his mind as the blanket of gray clouds part and roll into white balls with gray bottoms and a mini-bike just ripped and popped down the street behind us, throwing angry and irritating ripples and waves through the neighborhood air.

“How long has it been, Dad?”

What?

I’m reading my new book, The Good Soldiers, between glances up and into the cul-de-sac and at the Transformer warrior-children and vehicles entering for deliveries or exiting for errands and whatnot.

“How much longer?”

“The post is loose on the scooter, Grandpa,” as he sucks the winter snot back into his nose and as the little one, his uncle, my youngest, talks to his dog through the side-yard gate….

“Hi Wilson,” sing-song, puppy-talk, baby-talk, talking-to-my-dog-through-the-gate-talk, sing-song “Hi buddy!”

Crunching gravel, walking scuffing, scraping, and dragging shoes through the landscaping stones.  Ping! Ping!  Ping!  Ping!  Ping!  A piece of gravel rock on the basketball pole.  Ping!  Ping!  Ping!

“How much longer, Papa?  How mucho longa?”

I’m on page 27…For now, no one touched the tape dispenser.  Eventually, Cummings would begin swatting flies just hard enough to stun them, stick them to a piece of tape, and drop them alive into his trash can, which would be something that did have an effect.  “I hate flies,” he would say each time he did this.  What?

“Is it time yet?”

Did you park your bike and scoot it all the way over so Mom can open her door after she’s parked the car?

“I will.”

Ok.

“Are you done Blakie?  Hey!”

“What?”

“Do you want to go in now?”

Cling! Cling! Cling!  “Beep beep!”

“There’s a warning.”

What, Blake?

“There’s a warning.”

What kind of warning?

“There was a rain drop.”

Oh, ok.

And the garbage truck is getting nearer and the little one is dragging his toes across the driveway and he’s got a Kool-aid moustache as he grins at me and says “What?”

“How many more minutes?  Dad?” as he stands on the apache-red boulder rock in his one-legged pose with his arms raised like a stork’s wings…from The Karate Kid…and a game of chicken in the roadway as my grandson comes at him on the motorized scooter…and repeated “Yaaaaah!” screams and “How much longer?” asked with a Pink Panther French accent this time.

“Hhow mush longherre?”

One minute.

“Ok……Blakie!!  It’s time to go in!”

***This is a Favorite Re-post from December, 2009.


Toys as Tools….

We all have our tool-boxes for our trades and professions…some of us might have literal boxes with the known tools of screwdrivers and hammers and levels and wrenches…bottles of oil that shoot smoke into engine compartments that help us find leaks in hoses, or figurative boxes with our paint brushes and palates, pencils and erasers, thumb-drives, bags with cameras and lenses and film (maybe), reference books, mortars and pistils, surveying chains, books of flight plans and maps, stethoscopes and syringes…or whatever.   And some of us have other things…like years and years of advanced education and hundreds of books…and hundreds of toys…things that stimulate minds to thinking…or relax them from their stressors…things that unknowingly open the doors of others’ minds so that those who are interested in helping them can finally see inside, can finally see the things that have been hidden for so long…because they didn’t know how to open those doors and windows on their own. 

My wife is one of those people who has a tool box that contains those many years of education and hundreds of books and hundreds of toys…and who is skilled at opening minds and helping the bearers of those minds to find ways of expressing themselves…helping them find ways of communicating even with themselves…and then drawing maps for the rest of us to follow when trying to understand those minds so we can enter and share their previously closed-off worlds.  She works with autistic children and their families…spends hours on the floor with brightly colored toys and objects, pushing, searching, compelling, and connecting with those little ones…gently pressing and urging them into opening their minds….

This past Saturday, I stopped-by my wife’s office to pick-up her laptop…and, since I had my camera with me…I took a few pictures of the toys that decorate her office, those “tools” that draw smiles and widened eyes on the faces of even the most reserved and stoic of fathers who accompany their little ones to their appointments, those tools that are often selected specifically for that particular little one to whom they would appeal.  I think it would be wonderful to visit such an exciting and even calming place if I was going there for help….and I can understand the little ones’ distress when their sessions are over and it’s time to leave such a fun place…a place where they think they’re just playing…but are actually building a relationship, learning the social rules of give and take, finding words they didn’t know they had, and allowing someone into their world, sometimes for the very first and significant time.

The children often take these figures and play-out little portions of their lives with the other settings in the office.  In addition to the doll house and fire/police station, my wife also has a sand-box and a little multi-leveled tree house that makes a great landscape for their adventures and re-enactments (the photos didn’t turn-out very well).


Guardians….

My wife told me the other day that she and her mom were going through our large picture bin…and that she could tell which photos I had taken, as opposed to those that other family members had taken over the years.  She told me that I took pictures of objects and scenery…and very rarely of people….  My wife then proceeded to conduct a three-minute psychological analysis of my attachment disorder vs. autism spectrum disorder quotients and determined that I wasn’t screwed-up beyond repair…but that hope was fleeting.   So, in an attempt at self-therapy, I have dedicated myself to incorporating more people into my photography.  I don’t know if it’s working yet…but I understand that therapy often takes a long time and progress is measured incrementally….

People eat apples….

There is more than a little about this guy that resembles a person.

And since this guy is so human-like, he probably eats apples, too…so he probably qualifies even more to be considered as a person…or people-like.

Lastly, this is Wilson…my little one’s best friend, his guardian and protector…and is definitely a person.  You might also notice that my knee and neck are in the picture…almost a self-portrait and definitely parts of a person.

So, this is my first attempt at incorporating more people into my photography.  I think I might have done well, but will have to wait until my psychologist reviews the work to be sure….


What about the remains…?

My little one questioned the pile of branches and limbs with their dead and rotted cores, the grayed sticks that used to reach and wave magestically above the surround of our yard…and house the denizen birds and whatnot that came to live in their shadow and shade.  He asked if he could have some of the sticks to build a fort and I told him no.  I told him no because “You already have your swingset-fort thing that I added to and now it’s a hideaway with all the walls and elevated table-bed…just like you wanted.  Don’t you remember how you cried and pleaded for it?”  Yes.  He didn’t ask where all the branches came from, he just entered the house and went about his “I just got home from school” routine that included going to the bathroom, hanging-up his back-pack and jacket, and then letting his dog in from the back yard.

My little one walked into the yard after opening the door for his dog and found that the cottonwood that had been his shade and companion for his entire eight years of life had been greatly diminished since he left for school this morning.  In the summer and fall, it covered his swingset-fort-house thing in full shade.  That far corner of the yard was always cooler in the extreme heat of our Arizona seasons.  Sitting on the bench beneath the grand tree was one of our family’s favorite pasttimes, enjoying the cool shade, the birds overhead in their many and favored spots, and the rustle of the millions of leaves clapping and shimmering in the many evening breezes.  Somehow, during the past summer, it either caught a bug or suffered more intensely from the summer’s heat than it has in the past.  Midway through the year, the leaves turned brown on one branch and then on another and another, until finally, the top two-thirds of the tree was dead.  The birds would still visit the tree in their more sparse numbers, but gone are the days of hundreds of them congregating overhead and chatting down the sun.

The last monsoon season blew down several large branches and we often wondered how much longer the skeleton tree would last.  Given that it’s in the corner of our yard and there are three other neighbors’ yards on the other sides of our fence in that corner, we were concerned that branches would break away and fly into their yards during another storm and cause some unknown degree of damage to the neighbors’ yards or houses.  Anyway, after trimming the date palm that reaches over and into our southern neighbor’s yard, I finally got out the chainsaw-alligator-jawed apparatus to cut the limbs, rope to pull them down into our yard precisely where I wanted them to land, in our yard, and the extension-pole-saw-thing that I usually use to trim the palm trees.  Four hours later, the bottom half of the tree was bare, the ground raked clean, and all the branches and limbs hauled out to the front curb, from which the city will soon take them away.

And my little one walked into the yard and surveyed the damage, climbed up into his cedar swingset-fort-house kind of thing, got a piece of chalk out of the can and lined-through his earlier printed sign that said “Cottonwood Observatory.”  He then wrote in his squiggly hand as he hung from the rock-wall-climbing thing, “Closed Permanently.”

The somber mood was cast.  Deliberate steps around the yard, walking around the swingset, climbing up to the top level, walking about, climbing down, swinging on the swing, eyes downcast, and none of his usual happy antics.  I had to ask/tell him to do certain things two or three times each in the several minutes that we’d been home, so I wondered if he was fading a little from not eating all of his lunch.  I finally managed to get him to decide what he wanted to eat and then set about preparing it.  He wanted “sopa,” or ramen noodles, “the kind that smells good,” which is the chicken flavored variety.

It was only a couple minutes after we both sat at the table until his tears started and the sobs came out as my little one told me that he didn’t want the cottonwood to be dead.  Between gulps of air and crying he told me that the tree has been there all of his life and that it always shaded his swingset from the sun and he wants me to get another one right away.  He wants the big tree to be there again because the yard doesn’t look the same, it’s different now.  He doesn’t like different, my little one.  He likes consistency and routine and to know what’s happening next; he’s less anxious that way…and now his tree is gone.

About a year and a half ago, when my wife and little one and a couple of his older siblings were living in Utah for a year, the landlord came to the house one day and cut down my little one’s favorite tree.  It was nearing the end of the lease and the landlord and his family were going to be moving back into the house.  He thought he’d get an early start on redesigning and landscaping the back yard…and he started by cutting down and removing some of the trees, and the one tree in particular that my little one climbed almost every day.  It was his hideaway, his place to recover from the storm of school and a life in a new house with new people in his life and without his dog and his dad and other siblings.  His world was upside down, or sideways, anyway…and he would climb the tree to be by himself, to find that peace again that he needed to be ok in his unsettled world.

So I thought about all of that today, limb by limb, and branch by branch, as I started “chopping down” my little one’s beloved cottonwood…and I wondered if he’d be ok, rather, I wondered how long it would take for him to be ok again.

And he sat there at the table with his tears covering his cheeks and the little trails of snot running from his nose and down into his ramen noodles…and asked, “But what about the remains?”


Did you just call me a slob?

We were sitting on the couch, my little one and I, with his mom on the love-seat across from us, watching a movie.  We had a bowl of popcorn between us, and as my little one reclined into one of the pillows, he took handfuls of the popcorn and not so delicately or accurately plied the fluffy stuff into his mouth.  When the majority of the bowl was gone, he started playing with the pieces of popcorn, alternately flicking them into his mouth or smashing them in his palm and then licking-up the pieces like a dog.  We paused the movie occasionally to ask or answer a question, to run to the bathroom, get a refill of one of our drinks or the other…and then continued watching and eating and enjoying the movie and each other’s company.  The further into the bowl we got, the more broken pieces of popcorn there were on the little one’s blanket, pillow, pajamas, and surrounding couch area.

I reached over to pick-up some of the crumbs and broken pieces to put them back in the bowl…and made a mistake….

“Do you think you’re making a big enough mess, you little slob?”

Quiet.

Did you just…call me a slob?

My little one asked this with a quivering chin and downcast eyes as he picked a piece of popcorn off of the blanket beneath his chin and placed it anxiously into his mouth.

“Well yeah, look at the mess…hey….”

There were big alligator tears and an immediately running nose and the sobbing of words and half words that I couldn’t understand between his crying and the movie and his mom and my questioning and….

“Hey there…I was just playing….”

Why…did you…call…me that?  What was…why are you….

And more tears…and my heart was breaking at his breaking heart and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and oh….

“Hey, Buddy, look at me,” as I patted his foot, “I was only playing…you’re making such a mess here…hey…look…I was only playing.”  I reached over and dragged him to me….  “Hey…I call your mom a slob too, sometimes…when she makes a mess…I wasn’t trying to be mean….”

And his chest was shaking and he was wiping tears across his face and his mom brought over a Kleenex to blow his nose…and I was holding back a smile in my amazement and tears in my sadness at how I had just crushed his little heart…his daddy calling him a slob.

“Hey there…why are you crying?  I was only playing….”

I…don’t like…being…called names.

“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry, Buddy.  I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings or upset you…I was just playing with you.”

I accept your…apology.  Sniff….

An important aspect of my little one’s life and existence, at this point in his eight years, and possibly for many more years as he learns to decipher and remember the various meanings of our vast array of socially constructed and freighted expressions and intentions and nuanced meanings, is his acceptance of things as they are presented to him.  He doesn’t see the gray or shading in many of our words and intentions.  The idiosyncrasies of our speech and the subtle and not-so-subtle meanings of our paired words sometimes escape him, even when we’re joking around…they mean, to him, what they literally mean.  In my playing, I forgot about the concreteness of his brilliant little mind…and the tenderness of his easily broken heart.

Oh…how it hurts sometimes….


Little One

I passed around the block again today after dropping-off the little one at school, after I watched him walk over to where the morning line forms, place his backpack on the ground and then walk-wander out onto the playground obviously looking for someone to approach and greet for the day, offer something some comment or something and then begin his day with companionship or something…and there was nobody nearby so he ran further out into the playground with head and eyes up and still searching for a familiar face that would be welcoming of him and his morning presence…and he couldn’t find one…as he looked around and peered back at me across the way…looking for someone and finding none and looking at me or in my direction again…and there were no kids by me…and he walked about slowly, heading back to the line-up area and probably glad that the bell rang telling everyone to come in from the yard and get in their places on the concrete and line…and was it a relief?  I don’t know.  He’s alone inside himself and around others sometimes and a lot of times.  It resonates with me, somehow.  He was alone amidst dozens and more of kids, his peers, classmates, age-mates and then.  I don’t know if he was lonely, though.  I don’t know if he’ll be lonely for the three hours that he’s there today, as it’s early-release day…that thing that comes once a month and rescues him from the classroom and whatnot of being at school and around and among those that he doesn’t really relate to, somehow….he sees their faces but doesn’t entirely know what their expressions mean…he responds to their anecdotes by telling something of his own that may or may not have anything to do with what they were talking about…I have a helicopter.  He’s in his gray-green hooded and furred parka with his Transformer’s backpack and his pocketed blue jeans and green and black Sketchers tennies that used to light-up when he walked or stamped his feet and his gray eyes search the bricks on the side of the school wall and I see his hooded self turn and talk to his teacher who is bending attentively to listen to him as she continues to look around, not like his teacher last year who would fix her eyes on and attend to only him or whomever when she was listening and talking to him or whomever, and I wondered what it meant this morning, did he start the exchange or did she?  Is he telling her about “wouldn’t it be cool to find the sail-shaped spine bone thing from the back of a stegosaurus?” or something like that, or is it that today really is early-release so it’s ok that he doesn’t have a lunch today unlike last Thursday when I didn’t pack him one because the calendar from his teacher wrongly identified last Thursday as early-release and she had to call me on my cell as I was watching the time as I wandered through the book store so I could go get him and rescue him from the confines and duty of school when he really wanted to be home on his own computer or talking to his dog or asking for more taquitos and “Can I please watch Tom and Jerry and the Magic Ring because that’s what I always do when I’m eating taquitos.”  He turned and looked for me again today as he was making that last round of a corner and into the school…and waved.  He does that sometimes…not always…and I never know when he’s going to do it, so I always stay and watch until he’s inside and beyond my sight, or beyond where he can see me, just in case.  It would be sad if he turned to wave goodbye and I wasn’t there.  What would he think?


How Much Longer?

Innocence smiles large as the boys rescue The Cube and ride their motorized scooter and roller-blades about the cul-de-sac, announcing to me in passing that they are on their way to destroy Megatron.  Hood up on his sweatshirt jacket, my little one is on the roller-blades and moves awkwardly about, wheel-walking, not rolling, strange dance of plastic and clatter rushing off to secure some imagined zone.

The December sky is gray with fat and heavy clouds; an occasional breeze or gust of wind ripples the overgrown palm fronds and the garbage truck is making its Tuesday afternoon rounds in the neighborhood a couple streets in the distance.  My grandson is on the motorized scooter and is wearing orange, star-shaped sunglasses to shield him against the glare of battle in his efforts to defeat the Transformers’ foes.  My little one’s enthusiasm for the game is waning as a little trio of afternoon walkers enter and make a circuit of the cul-de-sac – a young mother-girl pushing her baby in a stroller as grandmother walks with her Down’s Syndrome old-man of a son in a straw cowboy hat who marvels at the Samoyed who is sticking his nose and white head through the hole at the bottom of the neighbor’s backyard wall.  The cling-cling of the bicycle bell and the metallic crash as the bike crunches into the sidewalk and the garbage truck is still a few streets away. 

“Can we go in now?”

“Don’t you want to play two-player on the Nintendo?” he says, as he kneels in the rocks and examines a pigeon feather, “Don’t you want to?”

“No, not really.”

“Dad, can we go inside in 15 minutes?”

Ok.

He likes to orient things and events and know when they are going to happen.  It helps him predict his world.  He’s happier and less anxious that way.  It settles his mind as the blanket of gray clouds part and roll into white balls with gray bottoms and a mini-bike just ripped and popped down the street behind us, throwing angry and irritating ripples and waves through the neighborhood air.

“How long has it been, Dad?”

What?

I’m reading my new book, The Good Soldiers, between glances up and into the cul-de-sac and at the Transformer warrior-children and vehicles entering for deliveries or exiting for errands and whatnot.

“How much longer?”

“The post is loose on the scooter, Grandpa,” as he sucks the winter snot back into his nose and as the little one, his uncle, my youngest, talks to his dog through the side-yard gate….

“Hi Wilson,” sing-song, puppy-talk, baby-talk, talking-to-my-dog-through-the-gate-talk, sing-song “Hi buddy!”

Crunching gravel, walking scuffing, scraping, and dragging shoes through the landscaping stones.  Ping! Ping!  Ping!  Ping!  Ping!  A piece of gravel rock on the basketball pole.  Ping!  Ping!  Ping!

“How much longer, Papa?  How mucho longa?”

I’m on page 27…For now, no one touched the tape dispenser.  Eventually, Cummings would begin swatting flies just hard enough to stun them, stick them to a piece of tape, and drop them alive into his trash can, which would be something that did have an effect.  “I hate flies,” he would say each time he did this.  What?

“Is it time yet?”

Did you park your bike and scoot it all the way over so Mom can open her door after she’s parked the car?

“I will.”

Ok.

“Are you done Blakie?  Hey!”

“What?”

“Do you want to go in now?”

Cling! Cling! Cling!  “Beep beep!”

“There’s a warning.”

What, Blake?

“There’s a warning.”

What kind of warning?

“There was a rain drop.”

Oh, ok.

And the garbage truck is getting nearer and the little one is dragging his toes across the driveway and he’s got a Kool-aid moustache as he grins at me and says “What?”

“How many more minutes?  Dad?” as he stands on the apache-red boulder rock in his one-legged pose with his arms raised like a stork’s wings…from The Karate Kid…and a game of chicken in the roadway as my grandson comes at him on the motorized scooter…and repeated “Yaaaaah!” screams and “How much longer?” asked with a Pink Panther French accent this time.

“Hhow mush longherre?”

One minute.

“Ok……Blakie!!  It’s time to go in!”


of yesterday and now

The day is spent and only the night-time remains of this clock’s ticking and calendar’s spot…just a few more hours and how spent?  Marginally full of meaning or productive things, chores finished and then.  The house is quiet save the motor of the fan, the music on the computer and my keys tap tap tapping these words and thoughts and wonderings and such.  My little one went to karate tonight and was embarrassed and knew his body wasn’t working the way everyone else’s was, the way he wanted his to work…his little face turning red and his breathing fast and his fingers tingling as he near hyperventilated…and my bride got her first call from a client and things are meaningful now and we need to get to the office and hang her pictures, as it’s soon going to be occupied by people and not just mail-order furniture and a diploma that says she endured and learned something from hours and months and years and her life and ours.  Racquetball was played and I got there late.  Not too many people were there and the competition of the night was scarce.  Some games were almost fun and then not.  And home now and the little one is going down for the night and his mom is reading to him and then listening to his music with him as she rubs his back and scratches his head until he’s asleep in that wherever-land of no thought and rest.  The Christmas tree is lit and golden and red and blue and green sparkles ride and dance along the wires in adornment among the ornaments of yesterday and now…and the dogs are curled here and away and the cats wherever they lay….  I’m on my second glass of wine and the music is stirring me and sadness is and was in the words I read on some of the blogs that I visited…some so sad and no entries since the middle of November and I wonder what it means…and other ones, the magic of words were dropped like snowflakes in their tenderness and purity and pristine-ness to lay among each other and fill and contend and simply exist in their temporal life that cold endears and warmth threatens…and one of my blog friends said that the trees were hibernating like the bears and she wonders if they might not be cold, like when we leave the windows open on a wintry night and try to sleep in the cold, before it’s too cold and the clouds are rising with the cello notes and touching the higher places in my mind making me wonder if they’re clouds or just fog.  And Pazzie died the other day after months of fighting and failing and fighting some more and I still remember the pride in her eyes as I looked at the pictures of her daughter dancing at one of her competitions…so beautiful…her gracefulness captured in the frozen mixing and blending of colors and chemicals…living there forever, or as long as the papers and their images lasts…but they are there in my mind that way…and a smile that comes from her soul, her mom’s smile, and I wonder if she will still dance.  I hope so.