Today’s Writing 101 Prompt called for us to make a list. The first thing that popped into my mind was the song, “I Love” by Tom T. Hall. This beautiful song is a list of simple loves, many of which mirror my own. ” I love leaves in the wind,/pictures of my friends/
Birds of the world and squirrels/I love coffee in a cup,/ little fuzzy pups/Old TV shows and snow/…/ I love honest, open smiles,/ kisses from a child/And I love you, too.”
Leaves Fluttering in the Wind– Leaves fluttering in the wind signal the end of summer’s harsh exile from nature and the beginning of a time for going outside, crunching around in piles of leaves, playing with my pup in the crisp air, and fresh apples. And it means my birthday isn’t too far away! I’m a complete child about my birthday. I will turn 49 this year, and I’m still looking forward to my birthdays. I will always remember my grandmother’s comment when people asked her if she was dreading another birthday. She always told them, “It’s better than not having another birthday!” She was the kindest, wisest person I ever knew. She lived to be 93 and was my best friend.
A Crisp New Snow– One of my favorite times is the the quiet that follows a new snow. Standing outside on a still night, my breath making silent clouds, as the moonlight casts blue shadows on the perfectly smooth white landscape are as close to perfection as I experience. Traffic has stopped, only a few silent snowflakes continue to drift downward. The chaos of daily life is hidden for a little while underneath the purity of the fresh snow.
A Water Droplet on a Leaf- This simple vision brings me joy every time I see it. The seeming miracle of the force that holds a perfect jewel of water on a leaf amazes me every time I see it. I understand the physics behind what I’m seeing, but that makes it no less wonderful to me.
Butterflies– While I hate practically anything else that might even be loosely categorized as an insect, I love butterflies. Their seemingly aimless fluttering appears to be the pinnacle of whimsy to me. They never seem to be on a mission; they don’t harm anything; they just flutter around showing off their beautiful wings, sitting on flowers. I have been fortunate this year to see the most butterflies in my backyard that I have ever seen. My wonderful husband planted a wildflower garden, and they have loved it!
A Perfectly Ripe Tomato on the Vine– My favorite food of all time is a garden-fresh tomato! I love Mr. Stripey and German Queen! This year, we got a late start and planted these monster plants in containers–and it worked! We are still getting so many lovely tomatoes! The plants are usually dying off by some time in August, but these giants are going strong here in mid September! I love the combination of sweet and tangy in a perfect tomato. I love the juiciness and the meatiness. A perfect meal right now is a tomato sandwich on good bread.
An Interesting Meal– I enjoy finding new and interesting foods to eat. That’s one of the reasons I love going to Asheville, NC so much. It’s full of small restaurants with innovative menus. On one of our last trips, my husband and I discovered Biscuit Head. Now, at first glance, it might not sound all that innovative: It’s a brunch place; it serves biscuits. First, you can order your biscuit with a flight of gravy. Toppings include smoked chèvre grits, house-made seitan “chorizo,” and brisket; top anything off with a perfectly poached egg. The fried chicken is a piece of fried chicken deconstructed into the gravy. They make their own preserves and serve local hot sauces and honeys. And for my disclaimer, I’ve only been there twice in my life; I don’t know anyone associated with the place. I just loved it that much.
Fine Chocolate– I also love savoring a complex chocolate. I enjoy the depth of flavor of a dark chocolate. I enjoy the experience as the flavor intensifies while the chocolate melts in my mouth, giving off flavors of different botanicals, sweets, and bitters. I love fine chocolates because such a small taste is so fulfilling. I find no need to become a glutton when I’m savoring such complex flavors. On my last trip to— Do I need to say it?—Asheville, I picked up some great chocolates at The Chocolate Fetish, including lavender truffles, pistachio turtles, and … I need to go.
Great Music– When I discover a new song, I drive everyone around me crazy as I listen to the song for weeks and weeks. I want to pick up on every nuance of the singer’s delivery and hear every instrument. At the same time, I enjoy just experiencing the piece of music. Lately, I have been listening to Caro Emerald this way. Her voice is lovely, and the band is first class. I always enjoy Pink Martini, The Cardigans, The Mavericks, The Beatles, Blondie, Simon and/or Garfunkel, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Postmodern Juke Box, Bitter:Sweet, Brandi Carlisle, The John Henrys from Asheville, NC, showtunes, and about 500 others! I love music! When I took a break from writing this post, I ran across “Poison Love” by T Bone Burnett. I’m probably going to listen to that song about 100 more times now.
Singing– I love to sing! Especially, I love sharing my love of singing with others. I confess, I’m a ham. I have performed in several venues, and every time I perform, a part of me comes to life that only lives when I sing. I don’t have to be “the star.” In fact, I love singing harmony. Finding that perfect note to fill out a chord gives me a pleasure that nothing else can match. I like arranging music, working out interesting harmonies and different ways to cover existing songs. (Alas, I cannot write songs.) I love being part of music. If I could do anything I wanted for a day, I would sing for audiences all around. My voice is well-suited for jazz and show-tunes, so unfortunately, there are no real venues where I live, but Asheville has a real hoppin’ night club scene, and one of these days when we go, I’m hittin’ open mic night.
Dancing With My Husband– This is specific to Asheville, which has a fantastic music and dance scene. Of course, as I enjoy dancing, I’m also enjoying good music, so this is really a two-for-one deal. Listening to music, I always feel the rhythm and want to break out my jazz hands– or whatever is appropriate. My husband and I actually met in dance class in college. I didn’t want anything too exercizy for my phys ed credit, so there I was looking around, “when love came and hit me in the eye/ Flash, bam, alacazam,/ Out of an Orange Colored Sky” there was my sweetie! (See, I told you I love music!) We learned to waltz, fox trot, and Tango together! Dancing together is not just great fun now; it’s a reminder of how we met and fell in love. As an otherwise sedentary person, dancing is the one time I experience that rush from movement.
The Quiet Reverence of an Empty Church– I haven’t been Sunday morning kind of Christian for many years now, but I love the quiet reverence of an empty church. One reason that I think I’ve left most organized meetings behind is that so many gatherings seem more like social clubs than gatherings to recognize the awesome greatness of God. I welcome outpourings of joy in a Church, but I’ve sense very often an absence of mindfulness of the presence of God in the presence of other people. I love the feeling of quiet and awe that I feel in a house of worship when only I and a few others are there quietly recognizing the power of an omnipotent God. Those are the times I most get in touch with my spiritual side, when I remember that God is a power greater than we can comprehend.
The Look of Excitement on a Pup’s Face– I love animals. The pure excitement of a pup at play always shows me that the world is truly a good place. Whenever I’m feeling disheartened by what I see in the news, watching animals at play reminds me that innocence is still alive, no matter how much the contrary may seem true. My pup, Sophie in the photo on the left is probably the happiest dog in the whole world. She showed up as a stray in our back yard, and loves making friends, playing tug, and going ridies.
A Sleeping Kitten– The complete innocence of a sleeping kitten melts my heart. The trust inherent in the sleep of these little predators, sleeping in my house (often on me) reminds me of the overwhelming responsibility I have in being given the opportunity to care for one of them. I would be terrified in the presence of something twenty times my size; yet these kittens trust us completely not to harm them. The kittie in the picture is now my big boy Boomer; I adopted him as a rescue kitten when he was just a tiny lad.
The Smile from a Student When he or she “gets it.”– I love teaching. I really do. I became a teacher because I love sharing. I enjoy presenting lessons to a class, but I especially enjoy working with students who are struggling to go just a bit further. That “Ah-ha” moment is amazing! It doesn’t matter if it’s a student who’s working to improve writing skills or trying to master basic grammar. Being able to share in the joy of, “Yes! I got it!” makes every stupid inservice meeting, every redundant report, every impossible parent worthwhile.
The Touch of My Husband– Last, but certainly not least, a simple touch from my husband can turn around any day. We have been together over thirty years, and every day he makes my life better, brighter, happier.