March 25, 2008

"Starting a New Hobby"

(1998---Ellsbeth speaks)

On the day my father is scheduled to die, my mother drives him to the hospital.

I wait at home, in the basement. Geraldine, from Shangri-La, down the road, lets herself in. She surveys my mess, picks up scattered bows and wrapping paper, tape, scissors,wrenches, hammers, puts them in piles.

I stop her, saying, "You can’t do this without supervision! You don’t know where things go!"

Geraldine shakes her hands in helpless agitation.

"We can’t clean now," I say, "my mother is due home from my father’s death."

Geraldine stands at the dryer folding laundry, as if it were any other day. But aching inertia puddles in my bones, making my hands, feet, belly and heart too heavy to budge.

A blue car turns into the driveway. "Here's my mother now," I say, and coming unstuck, I walk out through racks of photo-developing equipment. Geraldine follows. My father, on the night before his death, must have stayed up late preparing these. "These are for me," I tell Geraldine smugly. She looks puzzled. Worried.

I hurry to meet my mother, who comes in through the basement. My father comes in behind her. I inhale sharply, surprised. I study his profile and his flared nostrils, recognize him from the way he would look in his casket: dark, pockmarked, emaciated.

He frowns at Geraldine, hisses in the cracked voice of my estranged husband, she’s smelly, obese, retarded. Because I thought my father and his judgements would be gone by now, I don’t make Geraldine leave. But I'm afraid to defend her, he looks so fierce.

The photo equipment is not for me, but for my father, who is starting a new hobby. He packs his supplies and accessories. I accompany him, swarthy and silent, to catch a bus headed for the city. The bus is made of couches on wheels tied together, each jammed with people. I climb onto a trundle seat that comes out from under my father's seat to the side like a motorcycle sidecar.

Geraldine waves and waves as we drive off, still waving until she's a speck on the far horizon. A huge emptiness swallows her up. When we get to the city, my father gets off, walks away, and doesn't look back. I try to take his seat, but my hips are too wide to fit between the passengers.
They scowl, grumble and shove over to make room for me.

(Mary Stebbins Taitt---------- 080301)

March 24, 2008

"Belinda's Price"

Her chosen grave before him, Paddy brought his shovel down
And pierced the breast of Ireland to prise it from the ground.
He lift his eyes to heaven and he cried out sad and clear:
"Oh Lourd, why take Belinda and her Spirit from us here?"

"Ah, Lourd," prayed sturdy Paddy, "ye have giv'n us this Earth
And all which grows upon it and beneath, for what it's worth,
But why did ye see fit to give us poor Belinda May
If only as a flower seven years and snatched away?

"What did she in her little life not holy in your Sight?
What sin had she committed? None! so what gave you the right
To take her back untimely? Well, for taking her away,
I take this stand...I'll be god-damned if I won't make You pay!

"Belinda's Price from You, oh Lourd, is lasting Peace on Earth;
My price for her removal is redemption from our curse!
You may not wish to pay this price, but I say all the same...
My name is Paddy Donnell, and by God I make the claim!"

The blessed Moon, in crescent, like a silver scimitar
Slid sideways through a smoky sky and left behind a scar.
A Star shone through that rifted cloud of midnight in the mist
And took a fair position over Paddy's outflung fist.

And Lo! a Voice, a Rumble, like a thousand raining stones
In tumble down a mountainside in mashing, crashing moans
As if from many miles away, yet to one ears are borne
Such came the Voice of God to Paddy, answering his scorn:

"I hear ye, brother Paddy, oh ye simple, foolish man...
I hear ye as ye bellow badly, questioning my Plan
Such arrogance as you display deserves no recompense
But as I am a gracious God, to PEACE I will consent..."

And from that moment all the people, land to burning land,
Cast off from war and fighting, and instead began again
To take this World and make it in the Image of Above,
And drown all hate in charity, in hope, and faith, and love.

And children gathered flowers, woven in a grateful garland,
And in Belinda's memory they danced the fields of Ireland.
And Irish mothers smiled on them, and knew, forevermore
Their sons would be no sacrifice to foolishness of war.

By Paddy's sons' and brothers' toil a monument was raised:
A "Statue of Belinda", carved and placed above her grave.
And every morn about it were a thousand petals flung!
And everywhere those blossoms fell, a thousand seedlings sprung.

But what of Paddy, father, left to ponder what God wrought?
Well, after many months had passed, with Peace at long last bought,
He pined for poor Belinda, and her blessed presence lost,
And in the end he muttered, "Lourd, it wasn't worth the cost."

March 4, 2008

"How Uncle Jake was First to Fly the Transatlantic"

(Driving Aldy and Geraldine to the Pediatrician, 1969)

This buggy can fly! England, you say? France? Where's that doctor at, Gerry? Aldy? Do you know?

Look at her purr through the clouds--- mushrooms and magic separate the skyway into shimmering layers, dancing through each other---kelp in the tide, ribbons in a breeze, living
strands of DNA unwinding across itself---sticky---

The shining keeps slipping. Here, hold the wheel for me, Geradine!

Simultaneously I want to be more me and more "not-me." If more me is more not-me, why, when I try to speak clearly, do these words and not-words disintegrate into such gibberish?

"You don't understand me? Come along. Watch the "me"'-selves and the "not-me"'-selves split and crawl along their various skyways. The Not-me's chant---"Don't go so slowly! Someone might notice! We'll fly!" Burn up the sky, Geraldine! Don't worry sweetie---

WHUMP! Whazzat? Out here in the ether, I watch the body police attempting to reassemble
the Not-me's back into something they recognize. Some of the me's-or-not-me keel over, laughing.

"Pretty funny, isn't it Gerry? Even Aldy agrees. Listen to him chortle! Just not that big. The rest of us Me's notice the texture of the bark on this tree that holds this cumpled car, the dark
spaces inhabiting the light, the gaps between the policeman's teeth. We flow through his clenched fist like honey--sweet, sweet on some laughing, layered tongue. That's one rough runway, crew!"

--------------------(a story newly penned by Mary Taitt)

February 28, 2008


O, Moon in your skythrown flight ...
...Luna, goddess, Maker of Madmen...
Why do you blush tonight?
Is it because you're ashamed of your deeds?
...or are you merely changing makeup?

(Photo: Mary Stebbins on the title for more.)

"The Serpent's Apple"

How Al Spoke to Beatrice on the Way to the Safe House

(Mud Sky, a tiny story, 1990)

At a party I stood up rude in the middle of a conversation that showed no sign of letting up and said I was going out to the golf course to walk it was nine thirty and dark and a little snowy and a woman I didn’t know said now at night isn’t it spooky and scary and I said no and she said I wouldn’t feel safe and I wouldn’t go good-bye I said and went anyway and snow which was hardly snow at the party but got deeper until at the golf course it was about three inches and more in some places I was wearing sneakers but went anyway with a few beers in my belly out through the dark and snow over a series of humpy hills and then out beyond the golf course into the wild lands at three rivers where the snow was even deeper and walked up the spine of the highest hill I remembered the woman at the party who was afraid for me stood under a sick sky that was reddish purplish grey and mud-colored elated felt a hundred times safer and more at home with the snow and all the strange sky and the dead weeds poking through and the foxes than I did at the party with people I didn’t know even though they seemed intelligent and interesting and sort of nice I had in the dark snow a strange sense of peace and contentment and stood alone and alone and then I heard a baying maybe a dog or coyote or wolf it sounded wild but then I thought of Ellie and wished she could be there too and knew that if she were it wouldn’t be the same night quiet open but some other night that had her in it and my heart racing if in my nervousness I didn’t start blabbing or kissing and have to pretend to be quiet to feel how I felt then without her Mom you know I felt so utterly still in the snow and sky but if Ellie or you intruded even softly that silence would exchange for love or companionship and then that night like the serpent's apple multiplied by loss and possibility was already changed and lost I couldn't recapture it but I wish I could give it to you it grows like a swelling on my heart like some kind of wound like eden on the tundra glimpsed and gone.

(An original story, told in one breath by Mary Stebbins Taitt)

February 27, 2008

"Love by the Dashboard Lights"

My Dearest Datsun:

You know and I know we've been through this before. I see that little "Service Engine Soon" light. Again. You're nagging me. But this time I've had it. You've pushed me just a little too far.

Know what? I'm ignoring it. Really! I'm serious this time. Look, it's not like we don't see each other every day. We spend quality time on weekends, weaving through traffic, ignoring yield signs, me flipping off pedestrians, you playing your CDs. And those have been good times, I'll admit that. But that was all before you started in with this nagging thing!

Seems like every time I turn a corner now, it's "Service Engine Soon. Service Engine Soon." On the way to get groceries... "Service Engine Soon." Slogging home from work... "Service Engine Soon." You just don't get it. I've been working slavishly just to pay for all those wax jobs, keep you in rubber, picking up the tab for your insurance, and this is the thanks I get? "Service Engine Soon?"

Okay, okay....I'm sorry. That outburst may have been a bit uncalled for. Still, I've put up with a lot over the years, you'll have to admit it. I've never complained when you've needed a jump, even though you're frigid when you do. Your gas gauge goes to zero like every week, but do I blow smoke about it? No. I open your flap, and I fill you up. But here's what gets me. I can never figure you out! I turn on your lights, you beep if I forget to turn them off. You make all sorts of noise if I don't fill your radiator, and then when I do, you get steamed. I tell you, I'm getting mixed turn signals.

Buckle up, check the oil. Door not secure, shift into neutral before starting, objects may be closer than they appear. Why all this bitching and moaning and ordering me around? I'm not some crash dummy. And now again with this "Service Engine Soon."

You know, in the old days, when we were first running around together, that little light was kinda cute. Winkin' and blinkin' there. Just for me to see, nobody else. It felt like you needed me. And I thought you did. I thought that little light was a sign of, well, a signal more like. A signal you were concerned we'd break down, wind up on some deserted road, without that Triple A card I got you when we first got together. Remember that? I still have it. Right in my wallet, next to my heart.

That light meant something, then. It meant that we would be together always, and that made you the coolest thing on four wheels. But then that day came. That little light came on and stayed on, like a sign from fate or that junkyard in the sky. It left me with no alternator. I had to get you help with your problems, whatever they were. We couldn't move on without that.

But when I did that, something snapped inside you as that greasy-handed butcher of a wrench-jockey prodded and poked. I saw that look in his eyes, counting stacks of my money in his imagination as he tried to sound so...optimistic about your recovery. And all the while those dirty fingernails were all over you, tweaking your components, seeking places my hands never went.

How do you think that made me feel, seeing another man's greasy wrench under your hood? I have eyes, you know. And I have paid the price for everything.

So, you know what? Listen. If we can't get any traction in this relationship, what good is spinning our wheels? I've made up my mind. I don't care if your muffler falls off, or your tranny goes to a million pieces, I'm not taking you to back to Him. Oh, I'll stick around, I'm not the kind to hit and run, but you can forget about that other guy, he's history. I'll clean your plugs myself. You're my car, dammit, not some floozy rental, and if I can't have you, no one will.

I'll be the only man behind your wheel, baby. Tomorrow, we'll go for a ride to work. Won't that be nice? We'll put that road behind us, you'll see. We'll work out all the bugs, and I'll get that repair manual you always wanted. We'll be riding high. And I'll get a piece of tape put on that light.

(thanks to Monkey Tale)

February 26, 2008

"The Project"

How Ethel and Geraldine Made Caskets for their Memories

Arts and Crafts, 1990

Bright bits of paper... hot pink and red, dayglo blue. Magazine pages with pictures, large and small. Shreds of ribbon. Flowers, torn from napkins. Beads... and plastic jewels: Geraldine and Ethel make memory boxes for each other.

Geraldine cuts out pictures of chickens. She slices off one leg by accident. She puts the leg inside the box. She remembers the chicken they called "Peg." Short for Peg-leg. Peg was a good layer, even with only one leg. Mama cut the bad leg off with an axe. It was black and oozy, but Geraldine didn't want to throw it away. She wanted to fix it, and put it right back on the hen. She remembers searching the weeds for it and finally agreeing on a burial with flowers.

Ethel cuts out pictures of babies. Babies, and little girls. Girls with braids, brown hair, blue eyes. She puts them all inside the box. Buries them in beads. Blue, green and aqua. Geraldine glues beads to the outside of her box. Green and yellow, alternating.

"A tisket, a tasket, a green-and-yellow basket..." (She hums, sings, taps her foot.) "I wrote a letter to my love, and on the way I dropt it... I dropt it... I dropt it....."

When the bead string begins to look like a snake, she glues a brown plastic gemstone on for a head. Two small red beads for eyes. Then makes another. Another. Snakes intertwine and layer. She adds some rhinestones. The box begins to sparkle, like fireflies on a summer night.

"Yes, on the way I dropt it..."

Ethel plunges her hands into the gallon jars of beads. She likes the way they feel on her skin. Cool. Massaging and skin delicious. "Try this," she says to Geraldine. Beads pour from one hand to another. They flow like water. But dry and nubbly. Geraldine remembers swimming, sleeping, stretching. She remembers Ricky. (Again.)

Geraldine cuts out a frog, strokes its back with a fingertip. Drops it not in her box, but in her apron pocket. Ethel unburies the paper babies, then covers them with beads again. She pours the beads out and in on top of the babies, again and again. Geraldine paints her name in red on the bottom of her box. Ethel paints her box black. Then they trade boxes and unpack the images. Black paint sticks to Geraldine's fingers. Down through blue beads she digs to find a pile of babies and little girls in pigtails. She cradles them in her hands, humming a lullaby and crooning. She sways from side to side in her white plastic chair.

Ethel cuts out eggs to go with the chickens in her box from Geraldine. She finds an axe and puts that in too. When the counselor comes round and asks for a story, Geraldine says:

"Once upon a time there was a little girl. She laid in the bottom of the lake with water over her head. Water like a blanket, only cold. A big light came. It came down though the water and the girl thought it was an angel." Ethel says:

"We had lots of chickens and they laid lots of eggs. Brown eggs, white eggs, colored eggs. When they stopped laying eggs, we cut off their heads and ate them for dinner. Even the one whose leg I cut off. We even ate the ones we loved."

"We ate the ones we loved," Geraldine repeats, rocking the babies, whose blue beads cling to their gummy black paint.

(from a story created by Mary Taitt)

February 24, 2008

My new (est) blog

Thought you might enjoy a front row center invitation............Michael the ImperfectNerd

the trucker and the blonde

One day, while a blonde is out driving, she runs into a truck.
The truck driver makes her pull over and get out of the car.
He takes a piece of chalk and traces a circle on the pavement.
"Stand in that circle and don't move a muscle!" he growls.

Then, completely furious, he pulls a knife and slashes her tires!
The blonde sees this act of violence and starts laughing!

This makes the man really see red, so next he takes a tire iron and smashes her windshield. But the screwy blonde? she laughs even harder!

Now the trucker goes crazy! He breaks all her windows, and sets fire to the car!

But by now the blonde is laughing hysterically, out of control.

The truck driver cannot believe this woman. "What's so funny?!!" he demands.

The blonde giggles."While you weren't looking, I stepped out of the circle... three times!"

February 22, 2008

"Just tell it like it is..."

This is based on an actual job application that a 75 year old senior citizen submitted to Walmart:

NAME:.............. Kenneth Way (Grumpy Old Bastard)

SEX:................. Not lately, but I'm looking.

DESIRED POSITION: President or Vice President. (Seriously, whatever's available. If I was in any position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place!)

DESIRED SALARY: $185,000 a year. But make an offer... we can haggle.

LAST POSITION HELD: Prime Target for middle management hostility.

PREVIOUS SALARY: A lot less than I'm worth.

MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens.

REASON FOR LEAVING: Was advised of more suitable opportunities elsewhere.

HOURS AVAILABLE : Anytime I'm not playing polo.

PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m on alternate Tuesdays.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?: Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.

MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?


DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs?"

ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, so they tell me.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy, dumb sexy blonde supermodel, who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.)

NEAREST RELATIVE:............... 7 miles down route 317.

DO YOU CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE IS TRUE AND COMPLETE: Oh yes, absolutely. In fact, ask anybody...I'm certifiable as they get!

February 19, 2008

"One Little Wave"

As the story goes, President Bush decides to invite the Pope to visit Washington and make an address to a Joint Session of Congress. Everybody who is anybody is there. Senators, Congressmen, Supreme Court, all the wise rulers of our great Country, gathered in one great assembly. This is quite unprecendented, and is televised around the world.

Mr. Bush hasn't been doing too awful well in the polls for awhile, but this is his chance to shine, so he gets an idea. He takes His Holiness aside for a moment. "Popie," he says genially, "this is quite a shindig, ain't it?" The old Vicar merely smiles and nods politely, but George W. goes on.

"Ya know," he says, "you're a real big cheese over there at the Vatican. I seen a hunnerd thousand people come out just to see ya wavin' from that balcony thing. Must give ya thrills an' chills when they do that stuff, right?" Again His Holiness agrees. "Yes," he replies, "it is most gratifying, but one must be humble about these things. I merely represent the Church and all its tradition. It has little to do with me. I would think that with you this must also hold true."

The President guffaws. "Oh, come on, now. You don't think when people cheer me it's because they love their Gov'mint, do ya? They love me! Well, not all of 'em, we got a democracy. Half the people hate ya and the other half don't. Watch this!"

With that, the President steps out on the stage and the applause begins. The Democrats are on one side, Republicans on the other, politely clapping. The President looks back over his shoulder at the Pope. "Now watch!" he says, and waves one hand over his head as a signal. Suddenly the Republican side of the hall springs to life, whoopin' and hollerin' and carryin' on like the roof is gonna come down. The President grins at the Pope as the riot settles down. "And all with just a wave of my hand!" he brags. "Half the place goes nuts!"

His Holiness the Pope, not wanting to condone this openly blatant behavior, considers the proper reply. "Mr. President," he says quietly, "that was, indeed, very impressive. You have great command. But did you know, just one wave of my hand will make EVERY person in this crowd ecstatic with joy? And this joy will not be some momentary passing display, as we heard earlier, but will go deep in their hearts, and all the people of the world will be witness, and on through all time, they will remember this day and rejoice."

The President snorts in doubt. "One little wave of your hand. And all the people, rejoicing forever. Now that trick I gotta see!"

And so the Pope slugs him.

February 18, 2008

" Damn Tree Drubs"

On obtain a dime, dare is tree drubs. Day as cold Hairly, Schmoe hand Cruelly. Damn is mighty fuel is fallows. Damn is sew fuel is, damn knot no rite firm rung, upped firm downed, rite firm left. Damn is tree bumps. Damn is sew dumped, damn sink dare whirled maid flapped, buy Got.

"Dew knot sale vest!" claimed Schmoe. "Yew dye den surly as yew lift!"

Butt guise vent vest, hand found anew whirled, hand Schmoe hee haddock ate dose whirreds.

"Haul a lye!" dot Hairly spewed, "day jest vent tout dew day hedge, hand claim rite black!"

(Hairly vast know bloody's fuel) "...hand den, day tolled as tails!"

Butt Cruelly spat hand taught. Hand taught. Hand taught against. Heebie sunken may bee trued. May bee sum ding how dare have dare haul. May bee sum ding press us day cud fined, brung hem black hand day bee which. Which as haul get out. Which as prances. Which as Billy Goats. Which as chock-a-block cake. Hymn begot dew maid sum plants.

Cruelly gut sum udder guise hand bilked a bowed. Ha big big bowed. Ha bowed sew big hit cussed ha jillion bucks, drub money, whist kite ha lump pa change. Hee know cared ha butt tatt. Hymn new, hit gun apply off, late her on. (Err sew hee taught.)

Song starry shirt, damn tree drubs sat oof dew leak dare porch on, dare hips hide, dare ice wide.....

....hand felt oft dare wedge oft dare whirled.

(Morale oft dare tail hissed: after haul has sate hand dumb, ha drub's ha drub ha drub.)

February 16, 2008

Remembering NIU

Yesterday, I finally heard about the tragedy that struck at Northern Illinois university on Thursday. I felt a twinge of sadness as I listened to the news, as I remember well my visits there as a teen.

The North Central Association of Schools for the blind had its regional track meets at NIU each year. I don't know if it was because there was more room or what. I do know that it was an interesting time had by all, as we spent time with some of the college students. By the time I was going to the meets, the teams were not staying on campus in the sororities or fraternities. But, I remember some of the girls who had gone in past years talking about the experience of sleeping over there and spending time with the college girls. To me, that was a taste of the real world for them, which I think would have been good for some in my class to maybe think about continuing on in their studies.
I'm not sure whether it was Wisconsin that provided the guide wires for the blind students to run around the track there. But, I think it was. (Actually, we didn't run around the track with the wires. We ran the seventy-five yard dash, the 600 meeter and the 1200 meeter using those wires, and when we did run around the track, we ran with a partially sighted student leading us as we held on to their elbow.)
I remember thinking how secure I felt whenever we were on NIU's campus, and how insecure I felt in the hotel my second year on the track team. I remember meeting two students from the Philippines who toured us around the campus. I remember it being so cold that particular meet on Friday, we all would go to the bus to stay warm after we had run. In addition to running, I was our team's long jumper, and I did it barefoot. I remember that was the meet where I froze my toes off. I also did the three consecutive long jump and the hop step jump, (the latter of which I hated).

I remember thinking that a college anywhere was a great place to be, and I remember feeling sad as I listened yesterday, knowing that some students lives were snuffed out, before they could even continue. My prayers are with those families.

February 14, 2008

"The Prom"

How Geraldine and Ricky Become the King and Queen of Russia

Kiki holds a mirror in front of Geraldine, turning it from side to side, so that Geraldine can see the tiara twinkling, sparkling in the stage lights: fireflies caught in her own hair, caught in a net of crown...

Music swells: "Dr. Zhivago". The kids cheer, and Ricky, with his crown askew, holds her hand so tight the tips of her fingers turn white. Ricky smiles and smiles and smiles. Kids waltz all around them, turning, twirling. Fireflies dance across the floor, turn into stars, and swim across the ceiling. Geraldine touches the red rose and the velvet trim on her dress with the tip of a finger, again and again, first one and then the other, grinning. The petals embrace. They hug and hold each other like her Babushka dolls... like she would like to hug and hold Ricky: close, and tight. The rose is candy... chocolate,maybe... rich and sweet. The rose is the purse of Ricky's lips, so close to her ear, whispering.

Ricky rises from his rhinestone throne and tugs on Geraldine's hand. He steps from the small stage to the gym floor and helps her down. Almost shy in a circle of friends, they turn to each other, and stare. Ricky moves against her; Geraldine moves against him. They sway to the music together. Dancing isn't hard, it's easy... it feels like water... like a warm river... like honey... like heartbeats... like breathing... like Magic.

Geraldine lays her head on Ricky's shoulder, basks in the circle of his arms. Geraldine breathes Ricky and the smell of Ricky. Everywhere their bodies touch she feels a burning. Their skin flickers like fire. Now they are thunder and lighting. Now they are melted butter in a patch of sunlight.

As they dance between the cafetorium curtains, the paper Kremlin trembles and a tree comes loose, but no one notices. Geraldine remembers a heron gobbling a frog, then forgets again as they kiss. In a pile of backdrops, they taste the salt sea and ocean breezes. As they dance yet closer, and closer still, she sings a quiet little song.

(An excerpt from a new work by Mary Stebbins Taitt)

February 10, 2008

TO live in our world

Is it really bad to be blind? Can you really not see what is happening around you?

When asked to contribute to this blog, I found myself wondering if maybe I really could contribute to the idea the originator of the blog had in mind, and all I could think was okay, I'd give it a try. But, for anyone to say that our world is unseen but not unfelt really is not looking at the whole picture closely.

Unseen but not unfelt. What does that mean to me?

To me, seeing is living! Certainly having sight brings about the physical aspect of seeing. But, those of us who are blind, picture so much in our minds, to say we don't see is wrong.
When I dream, I tend to hear, feel and imagine I'm right there. I don't need to see to experience my dreams.

When I climb a sand dune, I feel the strength building up in my legs. I feel the sun beating down on me. I hear the birds in the trees close to the sides of the dune. I smell the damp air. I can picture all of that in my mind, just from those experiences I've had. Thus, in my own way, I can see.

When I'm on Lake Michigan or the ocean in a boat, I can feel the boat swaying in the waves. If it's a motorboat, I can smell the fuel. (Not always a pleasant odor, I might add. I can feel the spray in my face. I can hear seagulls over the roar of the motor. If it's a sailboat, I can listen to the quiet and feel the sun, even feel what way the wind is coming from.

I remember one sunny day, my father and I were sailing from South Manitou Island to Leland onLake Michigan, a trip that is seventteen miles long. We got becalmed and after two hours of hearing the stays clanging against the mast, my father mumbled and cursed and said we were turning around. I told him to wait a second. He then started to curse at me. That's when the wind took hold of our sails.

When I'm in a blizzard, I can hear the wind. I can feel the snow if I'm outside. If I'm inside and it's quiet, I can hear it falling. I can picture that experience in my mind.

When it's a beautiful summer day, it doesn't matter what I'm doing. I can still experience it in all its beauty. I can picture such days in my mind.

I remember telling one friend of mine that I didn't envy him his sight on his blog, as he had written about the journey of losing his sight and what it means. I don't. I don't envy anyone their physical vision, because I know God gave it to them. But, try to realize, while not physical, he did give me vision of another kind. So, to me, I can still see. It's just a different experience from most of you.

February 2, 2008

"How Geraldine Becomes a Frog Trainer"

At the edge of the pond, Geraldine lies belly down on a board, face to the water,
the smell of mud, green slime, frogs, raccoon poop, hot gingham
and sweat.  Her sweat.  The sun is a winter wood stove on a summer morning,
setting her hair on fire.  Her skin almost steams in the drifting morning mists.
She dangles fingers in the water, warm near the top and cool toward the bottom.
Imperceptibly, she moves her hand toward the frog hanging in the water
inches away.
Moves it again, watching the tadpoles nibbling at the mud, watching the hellgramites
stalking the tadpoles.  The sun rises further.  The shadows shift
over the duckweed.  A heron lands a few feet away.  Geraldine
in slowly.  The frog doesn't move.  She lets out her breath, inches her hand
A mosquito lands on her leg, just below the hem of her dress. She inches
her left hand
to the spot, but not in time to stop the bite.  Slowly she scratches
and inches her right hand closer
to the frog.  A cardinal lands on the tip of a half submerged branch, walks
foot over foot to the water, dips its black beak in, raises it's head, points
the beak skyward, and drinks.  Geraldine slips her fingers closer
to the frog.  She can almost touch it. 
The cardinal flies, a flash of red over the pond and through the thin trees.
A moment later, the paler female
takes it places, hops along the branch, bobbing the twigs toward the water.
Circles move out from the branch; duckweed ripples, rising and falling. The cardinal
takes a slow drink.  Geraldine makes one
tiny motion
strokes the frog belly.  The frog twitches slightly, then relaxes.  Doesn't swim away.
She strokes again
and again.  The belly; then slowly, the back.  Slips her hand around the frog
and pulls it closer, stroking, cooing.
With a rapid jab, the heron grabs
a frog.  Not Geraldine's frog, who now, for this moment,
sits placid in her hand,

Mary Stebbins Taitt

"In the Beginning"

In the beginning comes the need. Then, a moment later, or a week or a year, comes the idea to fill that need. And everything must follow from that little seed, planted and watered, tended carefully, sheltered from storms, loved and beloved, on into time.