My Favorite Things


Poetry is a projection across silence of cadences arranged to break that silence with definite intentions of echoes, syllables, wave lengths.

Poetry is a journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly the air.

Poetry is a series of explanations of life, fading off into horizons too swift for explanations.

Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.

Poetry is a theorem of a yellow-silk handkerchief knotted with riddles, sealed in a balloon tied to the tail of a kite flying in a white wind against a blue sky in spring.

Poetry is the silence and speech between a wet struggling root of a flower and a sunlit blossom of that flower.

Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.

Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment.

(Ten Definitions of Poetry) Carl Sandburg

Most of my favorite things have to do with people. For example, the poem above reminds me of a teacher/friend I had when I was 16. She took me on a day trip on horseback and we had poetry and tea and a memory that will last a lifetime. Now, I know next to nothing about horses. I’m not sure where they keep their withers or their pastern or much else except that you have to remember to clean out their hooves. I do love to see movie scenes where horses run, like Hidalgo or The Man From Snowy River. I don’t have to understand them to appreciate their beauty or the fact that even today they are incredibly valuable and useful animals all over the world. Sometimes we love things without being able to explain why.

I love going to the river to swim and taking along a picnic, preferably in a nice big ice chest. I love camping and going to camp. I love music festivals and county fairs. I love to dig my feet into the sand at the beach, dry or wet. I love yogurt and granola. I love Willow Ware china. I love making people laugh until milk shoots out their noses. I love to listen to birds chirping outside. I love the narrative voices of James Earl Jones, Charleton Heston, and Burt Lancaster. I love pretty much anything Jim Henson, pretty much.

Storytellers have always been special to me, like the school librarian, Mrs. Schramel, when I was in second grade. She read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and the Peanut Butter Sandwich and many many others to my class. I credit her a great deal for my continued love of books and literature, especially children’s literature. Adult fantasy is so often cruel, tawdry, and scandalous instead of fun, inspiring, and heart-warming. I have enough ick in my real life and past. I don’t need it in my entertainment, thank you.

Recently, I was also reminded of my longtime love of the Anne of Green Gables movies and books. (I even found the soundtrack on YouTube.) All of these things that I enjoy so much are connected in some way with people that have been or are in my life. Of course you can’t always carry all these things around with you like a junk man with an overflowing cart. Things can serve to remind us, but they cannot be an end in themselves.

I think maybe the people featured on the show Hoarders are just getting it backwards. They long to have the memories, but think that they must hold on to all the things as well. Our minds can hold many more relationships and memories than our houses can hold things. What do we want with so many things anyway? That is a lot to take care of all the time! Is it not so much easier to hold onto the people in our lives, and carry them with us in our hearts, where they will never grow old or die? Hoard your memories, my friends, but never your things. There are always more than enough good reasons to give them away.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew  6 : 19-21

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