Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21: Coming of Wonders, Wet Cement, Fairy Tale Wonders

On Sunday, the church was full.  The minister explained the miracle.  He said that the words on the spider's web proved that human beings must always be on the watch for the coming of wonders.

Well, my daughter got her wish this morning.  School was canceled.  When I got up at 4 a.m. to make a trip to the bathroom, I looked outside.  There was a lot of snow, but I could hear the plows hard at work.  That usually means school will be open for business.

My daughter's school district was the only one in the central Upper Peninsula to close for the day.  The e-mail from the school said that the cancellation was due to hazardous conditions on side roads and streets.  My daughter got to sleep in.

You're probably wondering what the above passage from Charlotte's Web has to do with my daughter getting the day off from school.  Well, I think it's really a matter of perspective.  My daughter really wanted school to be called off.  School was called off.  Only in the school district she attends.  That's kind of remarkable to me.  A wonder even.  Of course, I'm sure there were a lot of other kids hoping for a snow day, too, but I'm focusing on my little part of the universe.  And in my universe, my daughter's long weekend is a wonder, helped along by six or eight inches of snow as heavy as wet cement.

I think that's one of the jobs of poets and writers:  to recognize the coming of life's wonders that are normally ignored or overlooked.  That includes words in spider webs and unexpected days of play.  Looking out the window right now, the snow is still falling, and the wind sounds like the world has come down with whooping cough.  But the sun is still out, and it's 6:32 p.m.  That's a wonder.  The days are getting longer.  Spring is on the way.

There are other wonders in my life at the moment.  I'm reading the new Amy Tan novel and liking it.  That's a wonder.  My daughter and son spent the entire day together without any major injury.  That's a wonder.  I just ate a bite of fudge that was so perfect and dark it reminded me of an H. P. Lovecraft story.  That's a wonder.  I'm a published poet.  That's a wonder.  I have a beautiful wife and two smart, wonderful kids.  That's a wonder.

Godiva chocolate.  Wonder.  Breakfast at McDonald's, forty-degree February days, snow thunder.  Wonder, wonder, wonder.

Once upon a time, a completely boring man named Ted lived in the Mundane Forest.  Every morning, Ted ate oatmeal for breakfast.  For lunch, it was grilled cheese.  Dinner, an unsalted chicken breast with broccoli.  Ted rose at 6 a.m. every day, and he went to bed at 7:30 p.m.

Ted made shoe leather for a living.  All day long, he pounded cowhide into soft strips.  It wasn't an exciting job, but Ted never wanted excitement or wonder in his life.  He wanted predictability, routine, and warm socks.

One winter, the Mundane Forest got caught in a polar vortex that lasted three months.  Ted ran out of oatmeal and cheese and broccoli.  Nobody was buying shoe leather.  Firewood was the big business.  Ted had a choice to make:  either change his daily routines and work, or freeze to death.

In April, a neighbor found Ted dead in a block of ice in his backyard.

Moral of the story:  global warming sucks.

And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.

A picture of wonder

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