Obviously it is time for a blog post. I’m sure droves of readers have been haunting this site daily, and shaking your heads in disappointment when a new post failed to appear. With Christmas so close, I especially want to bring joy to my fellow humans in any way possible. Santa is watching, whatever my mother might have tried to tell me when I was seven. And I want presents for Christmas.
So, I got out of bed this morning with a short list of things to do:
I knocked off the first three items without much difficulty, even though number two required actually donning warm clothing and brushing several inches of new snow off of my truck and then driving on unplowed roads to the school and back.
This was easy compared to Number Four. You see, writing a blog post would seem to require an IDEA. IDEAS are rather like cats, I’ve discovered – under your feet or sinking claws into your ankles when you don’t want them, and hiding under a bed when you do. I thought once or twice that I’d thought of something, but it turned out I was wrong.
So then I thought maybe since I’ve been engaged in Nanowrimo this month, I’d already used up the month’s supply of ideas in the 50,000 and some words I’ve typed. It is the 30th, after all. Maybe on December 1 the IDEA TRUCK will roll up with delivery of a whole new supply. But maybe not. I’ve noticed that sometimes IDEAS just like to play hide and seek, and they like it when you look for them. If you ignore them, then they get sulky and refuse to come out later.
So at last I turned to my old hero, Dr. Seuss, the guru of IDEAS. And here is what he told me:
“You can think up some birds.
That’s what you can do.
You can think about yellow
or think about blue…
You can think about red.
You can think about pink.
You can think up a horse.
Oh, the THINKS you can think!
Oh, the THNKS
you can think up
if only you try!
If you try,
you can think up
a GUFF going by.
and you don’t have to stop.
You can think about SCHLOPP.
Schlopp. Schlopp. Beautiful schlopp.
with a cherry on top.”
Schlopp made me think about more coffee and a chocolate pretzel. And that was good. And I went on from there to thinking about Christmas Shopping, and what would happen if I let the cat out to pursue the herd of wild turkeys hanging out in my yard. What if she caught one? Or rode one? And then I thought about the fire, just in the nick of time, because while I’d been thinking of things it had almost gone out.
What I think now is that this is technically a blog post, because I have written words in it, which means I have fulfilled the requirements for Number Four.
The IDEAS hanging out in my house today are not wise or beautiful. Just silly. But I’m really quite satisfied with that, and I’m going to sign off now and spend the rest of the day just watching them play.
- “Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
- “Why, what’s the matter?”
- “Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
- “Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
- “Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
- “Eeyore, what are you doing there?” said Rabbit.
- “I’ll give you three guesses, Rabbit. Digging holes in the ground? Wrong. Leaping from branch to branch of a young oak tree? Wrong. Waiting for somebody to help me out of the river? Right. Give Rabbit time, and he’ll always get the answer.”
- “But, Eeyore,” said Pooh in distress, “what can we – I mean, how shall we – do you think if we -”
- “Yes,” said Eeyore. “One of those would be just the thing. Thank you, Pooh.”
“One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this ‘satiable Elephant’s Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, “What does the Crocodile have for dinner?” Then everybody said, “Hush!” in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.
By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thorn-bush, and he said, “My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me for my ‘satiable curtiosity; and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!”
Then Kolokolo bird said, with a mournful cry, “go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out.” Kipling, Just So Stories
I adore the story of The Elephant’s Child – well, all of Kipling’s Just So Stories – but the Elephant’s Child in particular. I love the wonderful flow of the language, but even more so the wondrously irrepressible Elephant’s Child, with his ‘satiable curtiosity and his quest that takes him all the way to the great grey-green greasy limpopo river, where at the cost of great personal hardship he not only discovers what the crocodile has for dinner, but acquires a brand new nose. When he returns to his old life with this brand new nose, all things are changed, because “nobody spanked anybody anymore.”
Another of my all time favorite characters, for entirely different reasons, is Eeyore from Milne’s magical Winnie the Pooh stories.
“The old grey donkey, Eeyore, stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, “Why?” and sometimes he thought, “Wherefore?” and sometimes he thought, “Inasmuch as which?” and sometimes he didn’t quite know what he was thinking about.”
Poor Eeyore – he is the ultimate victim, the poster child for depression and hopelessness. I have a soft spot for him, feeling a touch of sympathy even as I laugh at his exaggerated misfortune. Eeyore also has a river encounter:
“Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
“Pathetic,” he said. “That’s what it is. Pathetic.”
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is.”"
While the Elephant’s Child, Oh Best Beloved, takes it upon himself to find the answers to his questions, Eeyore asks the questions but takes no steps to seek anything. He is a static character who never grows or changes.
Much as I hate advertising in general, the Nike slogan says it all: Just Do It.
Don’t wait. Take that trip. Join that club. Write that book. Drive a new route to work. Listen to a new radio station. Taste a new food. Read a different genre. Wear a different color. Follow your own ‘curtiosity and see where it takes you.
Where this blog takes me next is to Tennyson, my poetic hero, who says what I mean so much more eloquently than I could hope to do myself:
“Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.”