Tuesday, November 15, 2011
One morning last week L asked me "Do you want to hear this song I made up?"
No. I did not want to hear the song he'd made up. I wanted to feed dogs, walk dogs, feed horses, feed children, drink more coffee, make lunches, shower, brush my teeth, sign T's reading log. My morning had no room for made up songs sung in high, squeaky voices.
"I'd love to, sweetie."
And so he began. This was no ordinary song. This song had props: shiny slivers of colored stones held up against the morning windows of our front door and crowned in the sunlight: kings of earth, sea, wind and air. I'm not sure why he called them kings. I'd record the lyrics if I could remember them, but only the theme has survived my my beleaguered brain. L carried those stones, his kings, with him for several days - to school, to a cub scout meeting, to bed. A few times I caught him holding them one by one up to whatever light source was available, sometimes humming under his breath. Those stones, for at least a week, were something magic to him. I miss that, about being young. The ability to know for sure that magic exists.
Of course, today was overcast. We tried to recreate the light-and-stones show for a picture, but the inside of our house was uncooperative and the outside just as bad. After a few dismal tries L and I headed for a flag burning ceremony. I was a bit shocked when the e-invite to the flag burning came from the cub scout leader, who never seemed the type to take that sort of action, but M explained this is what you do with a tattered flag - burn it. Not bury it, not shove it in the trash can. And apparently you can't cut it into squares to use as hankies, like we do with old cloth diapers. No, flags have to be honored with fire. The stripes are cut apart and burned individually; the square with the stars goes last; it's all very solemn and...cold. At least today was cold. And really there was nothing about kings on that patch of grass next town over; it was all about the opposite, the democracy we find ourselves trying to uphold with occupations both foreign and domestic, but the ceremony was royalesque, and L, standing at attention a few times visibly trying not to shiver, looked princely.
My princes of New Hampshire, my kings of New England. Keep reminding me of magic.
When I actually got to experience the performance I found that I knew much of the dialogue and was familiar with several of the songs. Still, I kept waiting for my line. Finally we came to a part where the old and new toys are facing off against each other. Mr. Potato Head confesses that the only reason he's still around and not in the recycling bin is that some mommies don't believe in letting their kids play with video games. Queen Frostine chimes in with her affirmation, “I have met those moms. They live in a magical Kingdom called Vermont and they make their own granola.”
If I were to be a king I would wish for something as beautiful as Vermont the woods and hills as far as the eye can see. I know that I am truly lucky to live here and at the end of each day before I close my eyes I often hear a familiar refrain (albeit in a voice reminiscent of Michael Caine.) “Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England. Then I start what has become for me a nightly Cider House Rules ritual. Which begins by me silently saying “ Let us be happy for...” and like a prayer I go through in my mind all of the things I am grateful for. And in this way my days come to a comforting close.
Yet overall endings to most anything make me weepy and tearful, I'm rarely ready to let any experience go. The end of this weekend's play was no exception. Throughout each scene the queen is insistent that her one wish will be granted and it will finally snow inside the toy store. As the lights dimmed and a hush fell over the audience, the first flakes started to fall and it truly was magical. In a clear quiet voice she began to sing, “And when it snows. It is how I know. I am home.” Tears came to my eyes as I felt a recognition and deep connection to those same thoughts. This is my home and it truly as beautiful as a dear friend reminded me in the midst of my feeling sad this week. My one wish would be that everyone should have a place like this to feel at home. A house, a fortress, perhaps a castle--or my fondest desire: a turret-- where they can live, reign and love as they so choose.
Next Week's Word: Cheese
Just three more left, hard to believe.