Tag Archives: Wisdom

Wild Walls

Walls are a part of our lives in one way or another. There are the walls of your home and then there are the invisible walls people put up to close off the world. Both have the same distinction to protect a person from intruders.
When I was 14 years old, there was an enclosed tunnel made out of cement that I had to walk through everyday to get to school. The typical teenage writing was on it’s walls with some girl writing her undying love for some guy. It was a mystery to me that someone would want to be writing about love on a cold, damp wild wall. Yet here I was captured each day by its graffiti. There was no way to walk around it. It was the only way to school.
Reminded by my conscience that writing on a wall is destroying someone’s property, I never engaged in this activity. I did not want to wrangle with words that someone else would read anyway. It seemed pointless and leads to someone reading useless crap. Yet I wanted to write something, but not empty chatter as was the case with 90% of what was written on those stone walls.
One particular day I stopped as I was exiting the tunnel and said to the walls, “Give me 14 more years and I will show you something!” I then turned away from that tunnel to never walk through it again. It was my last day of junior high school.
As I have aged my childhood now holds some sacred truths. I learned that writing is good even if it is graffiti. Here I was a lonely girl holding on so long ago to those walls. They became a part of me without even understanding their impact. Every 14 years in fact I have taken stock of what I could show those walls.

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Local newspaper clipping from my teenage years playing softball. Childhood memories are so important to who we become later in life.

The Slow Reader

The art of slowing down reading and writing does not have to be a lost form.

The art of slowing down reading and writing does not have to be a lost form.

Do not let the title of this post deceive you. The slow reader is a good thing. It implys concentration, enjoyment, and contemplation to just name a few. When I was growing up in Alabama, I would read anything and everything. I just enjoyed reading in my youth. After college I literally stopped reading except for manuals and polices on the how to’s of my job. How utterly boring you might think. It was not at the time. Everything has a season.
In the mid 1970’s, my family lived across the street from a lovely lady named Vivian. Vivian was the quintessential southern homemaker and our established bible authority for our neighborhood. I adored her. She hired me as a teenager to clean, dust, and help her can preserves. Lord knows I did not really care for the work, but I loved listening to her converse. Later she introduced me to different authors as she had stacks of books she would be reading. She read everything she could get her hands on. She had a television, but I think it was only for watching Walter Cronkite for news.
After I grew up I began sharing books with her. She had a habit of keeping them forever. There was one particular book I wanted back so I went to her house to get it. I noticed a slip of paper about halfway through the book where she was taking meticulously detailed notes on what she was reading and I asked her, “Are you done with it?” She said, “No but it is ok if you want to take it. I have so many things I can read,” as she and I looked over at her rather large piles of books, newspapers, and magazines in the corner of the room. I took the book, but felt some reservation for taking it.
In later years when Vivian’s health was declining, I decided to go see her. We had a wonderful time. I admired her integrity and old-fashioned pleasures. She taught me how to read a book slow and savor every moment of it. To this day I can not forget what value she brought to my life.
I am aware that I am afforded the luxury of reading on Kindle and emails at my fingertips now, but Vivian showed me the way to study and allow time alone in a book to transform you. For that I forever grateful. There was no email between us after I moved away from Alabama. There was only the mail box. It could only be through letter writing we would keep in touch. The calming and beautiful way of orchestrating your life as she did will forever remind me of a vintage time. So when I get down on myself about how slow it is for me to read or write in my present time frame, I capture the memory in my mind sitting with Vivian on the veranda scoping through piles of books without a care in the world. I hear her whispering to me, “Let’s forget about the housework and go sit down a spell and have a cup of tea and read together.” Yes, Miss Vivian let us just go do that.