1. The swing of conversation
To dedicate this piece to my mom and dad who lovingly took a fellow into the world that has had challenges and has made it a better place to catch up to those within it.
Going back and forth
Making many twists and turns
Not knowing the directions that our words will take us.
Sometimes catching up with us and sometimes having us fall behind.
A treasure chest in a maze to find
Singing a melody with the violins and cymbals
particpating with their own ryhthm and place within the whole.
Last night, I watched a documentary , A Song for our children. It explored how children interact with those who are disabled and do not fit the ordinary mold of how the regular world pictures us.
I remember up until I was 11 years old, I was in the protective womb of the Human Resources School in Albertson New York to gather for myself and my family the tools that I would need to lead a more productive life. Not that that was necessarily bad but failed at the time to condition me to what is out there when I faced the public school arena.
I guess nothing really prepares people for what they encounter when facing a new environment.
Having entered the world with few springs and screws amiss and loose made the ride on the swing a little bouncy and uncertain. I felt the base of the swing set shake and the swing squeaked as it moved up and down. A little sand to kick with my feet as the swing moved along its course and the gentle cheers of children running around it and climbing the bars of the jungle gym.
At 11 years old I crossed a small beige concrete step from the playground into a classroom of strangers. A different town and a public school- Scary at first =seeing desks with blue and pink name tags-with names ranging from Amy to Chuck to Norris and then to mine-Scott. With no real knowledge of how to interact with people different from myself, it made a great divide-a bridge that took a decade for people to be comfortable with me around. A new world. A new place to chart my life and course for my life. New rules to encounter and new waters to fathom. Time to untie the boat and start a shaky adventure but one that has been worthwhile. At times, I had to row against the stream having splashes of spume thrown against my face and at times the surf carressed my face with a smooth silky sensation from the emerging waves from the sea.
While seeing the documentary, I realize how fortunate I was to be surrounded by loving family and friends. There are those who are less fortunate who range from Downs Syndrome to Autism and other developmental delays-both physically and mentally.
Yet whether ones response rate is that of a pentium #3 or an apple G5, it does not really matter.
I developed a love affair wtih a region known as the Down East. It became a special place 30 years ago where I would begin a sacred pilgrimage each summer for about 10 years and then weekly encounters each year afterwards. It gave me a way to participate in nature-the sacred firmament that would never judge me-a curtain that would welcome me into her presence by name-that looked intently on my face with its beauty-calling to my spirit. Calming and restoring my fragmented scars that I received and endured during the year.
Being able to count on the Pratt's Island for the 7 summers of rural cottage living and the visits to nearby Boothbay Harbor and the visit to the yachts and the boats and wharves. The ability to smell the salts in the air and to hear the hark of the angels overhead in the form of seagulls, terns and crows. An odd orchestra of birds that clamor for their property with all its vast expanse of land. Just as mankind has done to me and others like me-not allowing us a chance to settle down and find rest.
Now when I look at the face of nature, I see God's glory shining forth to me whether outside or from a worship screen. Participating within the divine realm.
Something that I can call to=stop for a moment to watch and wonder-just as I did 30 years ago standing on a ledge of rocks -looking into her hollow-her womb that had barnacles and snails and shells and seaweed-recessed within the hollow-an ampitheatre for the audience to look at. Protected from the crashes of the surf and a leftover memory of a trip that the stream has left for me to see and observe .Being like a modern day Rachel Carson-having received the training from 30 years ago near Dogfish Head where much of her research was done.
Thanks mom and Dad and thanks to Maine=where Mainiacs are grown and nurtured and allow the world to be a better place. A parable for life.
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