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An extraordinary find

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17feb09_treeA lady who owns a shop in our village that the comment that, in her opinion, I find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Truly, life is chock full of the extraordinary even when it seems most humdrum.  A person might believe themselves to be caught up in the most mundane, banal, ordinary, blah-de-de-blah life imaginable when in fact the opposite could be true if only they would look beyond the obvious. Wandering around the farm I find many things to look at, especially when I go out with my camera in hand. Last week I wrote about a wonderful photo op day when a hawk lured me outside, though he eluded both me and my lens. One of the treasures I carried back inside was a series of shots of what seemed to be an ordinary Mulberry tree. "Seemed to be", that is the key thing in that statement.  I shot several photos of the tree because I liked the green on the bark and the way the sunlight was flickering golden dappled designs all along the trunk and branches. 27feb09_owl350A few shots later I suddenly saw something beyond the ordinary details of a tree ... two eyes and two ears, a face.  I felt startled and delighted as I did a double take and found myself face to face with --, well I am certain there is a spirit in that tree, an Ent just as Tolkien wrote about.
Side Bar: If you would like a print of the Mulberry Ent photo above, or this warm and fuzzy needle felted owl, please visit Firefly's Studio at Etsy.
That tree might grow mulberries, but he is no ordinary tree. The point could be argued, I realize that. To some people the old mulberry tree is and will always be nothing more than an ordinary tree and am I am nothing more than a writer with an over active imagination. To me however, he is an Ent and now we have looked into each other's eyes. Perhaps I am just a person with a very fanciful imagination. Perhaps. Take a practical-minded person beside of me in our backyard and have us both look at that tree. I will see an Ent, the practical-minded person will see a tree. I will say there is a spirit in the tree who has made the impression of a face within its bark. The practical-minded person will scoff and think of me as a loon. The practical minded person might make fun of me and feel very smug about the fact that he is happy not to be such a loon as that crazy writer lady standing next to him. As for me, I just thank God and my lucky stars that I am a person of imagination because my life will always be rich and full of millions of sparkling lights whether anyone else can see them or not. If I am a loon because I see a spirit in the bark and branch stubs of that tree I am perfectly comfortable with being a loon, because I get to have the thrill of feeling and knowing and being magic. I might be crazy, but I am having a lot more fun in my life than that practical-minded person who smuggly goes back to his ordinary life seeing nothing but ordinary trees along the way. 17feb09_shadowart3Sometimes you see in movies or read in stories about a child telling "stories" about things he sees or imagines in life. Adults get serious and tell the child they must not lie. That always bothers me, the comparison of a beautiful imagination to an ugly act of dishonesty. A child goes home and tells his mother that he just saw a dragon by the drain pipe, and the dragon rose up on its hind legs and spat out fire.  The child doused the fire with a bucket of water that happened to be on hand. Then, the dragon turned into a cat, jumped up in the air and spun around as it called out like an eagle and flew away straight to the sun. Then he saw the eagle/cat/dragon burst into flame and go out in a hundred billion different directions all at once. It was magical and wonderful and scary. His mother says, "Now Johhny, you mustn't lie." Now why would anyone call a cool story like that a lie? Who is to say what the child saw or didn't see. Maybe it was not even just his imagination, maybe he can see into a world that others cannot grasp. Why should the majority rule when it comes to what is real and what is not. If I want a dose of "reality" I can turn on the television and watch any newscast and find out what is "really" going on in the world. Boy, isn't that fun. I mean, the guys in charge of the news really have a handle on reality. They go out there and they dig it up and uncover it and report on it just as it is because we have a right to know and afterall, it is all so very "real". Personally, I would much prefer to listen to the child telling me about the dragon/cat/eagle. I think he has a much better handle on the world than the media ever will. The media does serve up a certain type of "reality" but what they will never tell any of us is that, on any given day, the good acts of man, the little moments of quiet heroic decency passing from human being to human being on this little blue globe actually far outweigh the bad. 17feb09_jupiterThey have to work pretty hard and spend all kinds of money, time, and resources finding as much bad news as they can to form into a big ball of "bad" to serve up and call "reality". They need sponsors who will spend millions of dollars for ads to run in order to support their habit. Right now the reality that is being pounded into heads all across the world is that the economy is "bad", things are dire, we are all doomed. We must worry, we must be afraid, we must picture the future ahead as being scary and dark and filled with uncertainty. So what do you do? Pull in, contract, get smaller, think of yourself and your life as being less. That is the intention, you know. To get you and I to do that. I have a little subversive plan I would like to share with you.  My plan is simple and does not require billions or trillions of dollars to execute. My plan is this ... "CREATE!"  I can always create something, even if all it is is the creation of an idea within my own mind that makes me feel better about life.  I choose to decide for myself what my outlook is going to be. When I go outside to look around at the trees and the river and the cats and the snow or the mud or whatever, I choose to endow some magic into the things I encounter, because frankly it makes me feel better about life. I have had to learn to do this because I survived for many years as a single parent of two young children in a tough and expensive city. 17feb09_shadowart4You see, I already had my economic crisis and uncertainty a while back.  There were ups and downs, but most of the time there was not ever enough to pay for all the things that had to be paid. What I learned is what many families learned back in the 1930's. I learned to create. I could create my own mood, I could create beautiful things out of pretty much nothing. I could create gifts by using no more than pencil and paper. I could create love in abundance so that no matter what my children had to go without, the one thing they never had to feel any shortage of was my love. I had a dream last week, and in the dream I was having a conversation with two of my brothers. I was explaining to them that I had finally worked out what is real happiness for me, in my life. I told my younger brother that money had nothing to do with my happiness, but that if money does it for him that I don't dispute it at all or think it is wrong. It just isn't what I am looking for. I have found great happiness in my life, and I continue to find it nearly every day. Love is the key, love and the ability to create. And I think they tend to go hand in hand. I think about the people in my life -- my husband, my children, my parents, our neighbors and friends, associates, the readers of my blog, people who spend a little money buying a knitting pattern or notecards or whatever, and I have to say that I have a genuine feeling of love for them all. Love is the key and I believe it goes hand in hand with creativity and with endowing extraordinary in the ordinary. 17feb09_blu1You and I, we are the ordinary man and woman on Planet Earth. We are out here living our lives and doing a few good things, making a living, supporting our families, doing laundry, cooking a meal, working the land, whatever. We are the ordinary, and it is us, the you-me-and-we of us that is the extraordinary that mankind has to offer. No matter what reality any of the guys out there in politics, or the media, or Wall Street or whatever are trying to pawn off on us we have it within us to create the extraordinary, to see and be the extraordinary out here in life. We can create the "reality" we choose to live and we can agree with one another rather than agreeing with them. What do you say? Love, firefly


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