Search This Blog

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Place For Dreamers

Bryce Courtenay writes in his book, The Power of One, in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed.  I like this. My culture wants to put expectation upon us to be and complete certain tasks at appropriate age levels. It demands a kind of generic similarity. In a brief and very simplistic overview, on average, each economic level has familiar family accomplishments. Children go to school, some begin at 2 years of age if they are potty trained and thus begins a long process of education, after school sports and extra-curricular activities – as much as you can pile onto an individual and cram into a day. Little time is left to think, meditate, ponder and mull over, learning from your parents/relatives experiences, or even to be taught their ways in areas of their expertise. Media stimulation has become a huge influence on lifestyle, demanding a larger portion of our time. Parental units are working very hard to pay for everything that goes along with the lifestyle. In another economic level, more parental units don’t stay intact and home life is more dysfunctional than functional and children are relegated to whatever is available through government programs and school initiatives. On another economic level, children are afforded the best of schools, even boarding and prep schools. Some leave their homes for training at an early age during a school year to take advantage of expensive intellectual stimulation. The outcome is usually, what kind of a job/career you will engage in for the rest of our life. But these days, for economic stability, many do not have the luxury of one lifetime career, but find themselves thrown into a situation that demands them to break out of a routine and decide to get creative about their money supply, the lack of, and think outside the generic box.  These survivors are independent thinkers and their flames burn white hot. It’s the kind of flame that brings life to many precarious circumstances. Many are drawn to its heat that burns a new kind of challenge into the fabric of society. It burns out a place for dreamers.            

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cinderella's Sandal

     She rummaged through her purse for a moment.
     "Here they are!"
     She was bursting with excitement as she pulled the treasures out and placed one in my hand.
     "This one is made from goat skins." She said.
     The sandals were small enough to fit a child's foot. The soles were worn and the strap was left unfastened and had lost it's button long ago. She held the other pair with pride and a longing look in her eyes as her gaze turned back the hands of time to long days walking the sands in Niger,Africa. She had just returned from West Virginia where she and her family spent their final days with the family patriarch. He was celebrated with love and care and she was remembering those tender years of her childhood spent in the land that was most precious to her father.
     When they were looking through his mementos and boxes of memories kept in closets and spaces unused in the daily scheme of life, she found 2 pairs of sandals wrapped up in a shower curtain. It hardly occurred to her that it was rather odd that they were packed in plastic curtains, because the thought of her daddy keeping her favorite sandals and bringing them all the way back to the states was precious.
     "Can you put them on?" I asked incredulously.
     I placed the sandal in her hand, anxious to see her slip her foot into the goat skins. She rolled her pants up and lifted her foot up to place it in the sandal. It was just like Cinderella slipping her foot into that glass slipper.
     "It still fits!" I exclaimed.
     And she just marveled at the sandals on her feet. Maybe she was remembering the hot earth under her feet, the dark night sky filled with bright stars lighting her path as she walked in her goat sandals, breathing in the night air, moments before she climbed up onto the roof to sleep under nets and a canopy of stars.
     Cinderella is all grown up now, far away from Niger, but somehow I think she still awaits her Prince, the one who rides upon the great white horse.