Friday, February 16, 2007

poison peanut butter & snow

Round 2 of the alien invasion blew through this afternoon. If those little white flakes are aliens I have to wonder did they arrive in winter deliberately? Of course it behooves any invading army to paralyze the infrastructure and this snow has certainly done just that. The city slows to a crawl while the snow covers everything. But enough of this. Either they take over or they don't.
Winter always forces me to redefine my idea of beauty. The amazing thing here is that it takes me by surprise each time it snows. I spend hours staring at the icicles hanging from the garage door. The light emphasizing different angles as it melts or the wind blows. I become convinced I have never seen anything quite so beautiful in my life. My rational mind tells me I am talking about an icicle hanging from the garage door and that it's common place. Yet when I stop to admire it the beauty grips me. When evening fell I watched the blue sparkles on the lawn left there by the common street light highlighting the evenings snow. In all the world, this scene is repeated over and over and everyone who see's it is awed at it's simple beauty. The woods with the snowfall drifting through and piling up on the brown branches. There is so much beauty here it defies my logical mind. I'm miserable cold and hate being out in the snow... but I love the beauty it introduces into my life.
My love, John, is blind. He has been since birth. He had a sliver of sight as a child enough to think he remembers the color yellow but not enough to understand what visual beauty is. John and I were in Florida together bobbing around in the surf and finding seashells. We joke about my prehensile toes as I can retrieve a shell from the bottom by using my feet. I don't have to dive to the bottom or get my hair wet. There once was a time when we separated in our shell search and I heard him very excitedly calling me. I swam over to him only to have him present me with this "really cool shell" he had found. He wanted to know if it was pretty. It wasn't. It was an ugly hunk of rock and shell the ocean had carved holes into. Barnacles clung to the edges of the shell leaving it with a sharp edge. Without thinking I told him no, it was a plain to ugly shell and we threw it away. After tossing it out into the deep I realized what an incredible opportunity I had missed. What is beauty anyway? I dismissed the shell because it wasn't beautiful to my standards, but it was to his. I wish I had closed my eyes and felt the shell like he did. I wish I had found out what his idea of beauty was. I know he thought it wonderful because of his excited voice when he called me. Interestingly enough John accepted my version of beauty and went on looking for a shell that "I" would deign beautiful. That is a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. As an artistic person I eliminated a huge field of beautiful experiences based on my own prejudiced opinion. It is a mistake I won't soon make again.
Before I quit I want to talk about Panda. She is my very dear friend for many years. She currently lives in Florida where it is warm. She's flying into KC tonight to spend a couple of days with her GrandMother who is ill. It's snowing here and very cold. After years of Florida returning to Kansas is going to be very difficult on her. She's flying one of the cheap airlines, AirTran and once again they have stranded her in a different city. I think it's in their bylaws that you have to get stuck in a new city each time you fly. She's about at the end of her rope with them, and I'll wager this is her last time to fly AirTran. She has been sitting in Atlanta Georgia for the last 6 hours waiting on a flight that may or may not arrive. (It finally did, but as usual it was late). Unfortunately, it's been snowing (alien invasion) here all afternoon and will do so again this evening. It's a coin toss as to whether or not the plane can actually land in KC. While talking with her online from the airport I told her my theory on alien invasion and frozen ET's waiting to thaw and wreck havoc on planet earth. She opined as to how they could have started their invasion with tainted peanut butter. It's funny only in the context that I have been sick all week with some wierd stomach ailment. I'll not bore you with the details, suffice it to say this has not been one of my finer moments. Well on the news yesterday there is a recall on Peter Pan peanut butter! Alice, my Mother got up to check our jar and sure enough the label on top says 2111. No wonder I'm sick. I've been contaminated with Salmonella. Sheesh. I've been eating the peanut butter cause it's a good source of protein and easy to digest while my stomach is so upset. Talk about a self perpetuating cycle. 5 to 7 days of this is what the website said. Invading snow peanut butter poison. Sounds like a plan to me. I've confused myself here. I was writing about how pretty snow is and got lost in that other stuff.

1 comment:

Marty said...

Emily, I think you're writing is wonderful insofar as how you tie all the elements of your story together. It's a good thing that it was only a seashell that was thrown away and not a person. I can understand from John's point of view how it must have made you appreciate how he looks at things, no pun intended. You just signed into messenger as I'm posting this. How cosmic. Keep up the great writing and allowing us to know more about how you experience things with John.