Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm all over the map in this post - forgive me.

I was on my way to do an errand this morning and espied a yardsale, which is a SURE thing to lure me off whatever track I may be on. Sometimes I think if the devil wants to tempt me into hell, he might put a yardsale sign at the gate. ( I was running late picking up Philip from school today and I passed a couple of yardsales and it almost killed me that I didn't have time to stop and go treasure hunting.)

As I waited my turn to pay for my few odd purchases, an older gentleman approached me and said something about me having a bun in the oven. ( That's the second time a man has asked me that, using those words. I think it's funny but my friend Pari was scandalized when I told her about it.) I smiled and said that yes, indeed, I had a bun in the oven. He said, "Is it your first one?" And I said, "Yes, how could you tell?" He said seriously, " From the way you carry yourself. Very carefully." I thought that was quite precious and funny. I am not very conscious of carrying myself any differently, although I am finding it harder to pick things up off the floor or get up and down from chairs and such...The other day I was looking under the couch to see if Stan was hiding there, and it turned into quite an ordeal to heave and hoist myself around- I felt ridiculously pathetic.

I bought a few items at the yardsale, and my favorite was a beautiful, tall, plain glass pitcher. I felt I almost had no choice in the matter - it was just sitting there all clean and gorgeous and looking like the perfect thing to put lemonade in and only $2 - how could I refuse? Never mind that I have almost zero cupboard space in which to house it. I shall find room - even if it has to live in an odd place - like with the candles or the crockpot. Hmmm. I'm not materialistic or anything. I NEEDED a glorious pitcher - and my other pitchers are smaller! But do you ever have those moments when you see something perfectly BEAUTIFUL - be it a painting or a stained glass window or a baby or a tree or a sunset and you just want to CONSUME it and OWN it because of its beauty...? It was kind of like that with the pitcher. Is this bad?

And not to ramble or anything but, speaking of trees... recently there's been some construction nearby. A great swath of forest was cut down and it made me so sad. I don't even want to drive by there anymore; it depresses me too much. ( It could be difficult to avoid though- it's on our regular route to church. Maybe I should just shut my eyes... although that could have its own hazards, if I'm driving. I guess we'll just have to go to church another way.) It happened so suddenly - I was driving along one day and there was this horrible ugly gap where there used to be a stretch of old trees and even as I drove by, a huge, magnificent tree was falling. It horrified me. It was just like the scene from the "Two Towers" where Saruman cuts down all the trees at Isengard. I felt strangely wounded.

And this is no new phenomenon; as a child, I cried when men came to cut a tree down in our yard. I felt like they were killing a friend. Another time, when Hurricane Gloria came through, Liane and I literally PRAYED that somehow God would rescue the tree (with our swing in it) next to our house from the bad men who were going to cut it down. ( They were afraid that the storm would cause it to fall on the house.) ( And okay- they weren't bad men. They were just Markhams.) And the miraculous occurred: God heard our faint li'l cries... and the chainsaw jammed! We were stunned at the power of our prayers and looked with awe at the scars on the trunk of the tree where the chainsaw had attempted its doomed carnage. ( After we moved out of the house, they finally did cut that tree down. Hmmm. Even from a distance, we kind of resented it.)

Call me weird, but I can sort of see why people chain themselves to trees to keep loggers from cutting them down. Not that I'm an environmental wacko - I just really like and admire trees. And it seems rather disrespectful and crass to destroy something that has been there for generations just to put up another ugly strip mall. Yay. Another bland pharmacy... devoid of even a redemptive trace of architectural beauty. Yay. Another "Nails and Tan" place. We REALLY need another one of those. Yay. Another mediocre Chinese food place to saturate the population with lard. Three cheers for civilization and progress. Sometimes I feel embarrassed at the world I'm bringing this child into. I feel like apologizing to him.


KJ said...

That was an interesting post. I like following your train of thought! I understand about the beauty thing - although my reaction sometimes is the feeling that I just want to cry because something is so beautiful :)

And trees are beautiful. And how I remember that feeling of "killing a friend" when they would cut trees at Fairwood - especially when they were thinking about cutting the oak trees on the front lawn. I think I cried at that possibility and even when they only trimmed them it was awful! I think I might even have cried then, too :)

bria said...

I remember crying when my parents considered cutting down one of the giant pine trees by the pond. I could see it from my bed and frequently pass the time by watching the faces I could see in it. It was my friend, I said.

They didn't cut it down, but I can't see the faces anymore, no matter how hard I look. :(

Soj said...

First off, "Sometimes I think if the devil wants to tempt me into hell, he might put a yardsale sign at the gate." HAHAHAHA. That's my new favorite quote, ever. EVER.

Secondly...While I quite agree with the whole ick, ick, ick sentiment about America turning into one great big franchise, I must inform you that the whole WORLD is not there yet. There are places where Panera Bread does not exist, there are individual bookstores who have not heard of Barnes or Noble, and you have to go to three different types of stores to buy music, movies, and appliances. (Although I don't know where you can go to escape chinese restaurants...they ARE everywhere!)

Don't feel embarrassed. Introduce him to all the opportunities, and teach him the beauty that God created in individuality.

kw said...

HA! So that's why they didn't cut it down! I remember the 'scars' too. I hadn't remembered you guys prayed. It would have been a tragedy indeed if that old faithful tree had been wiped out.

Claire said...

Soj- but I LIKE Panera Bread. That's one franchise that can stay, in my opinion. If I knew they were building a Panera Bread there, I would be comforted - somewhat. But my luck is not that good. I'll give you ten bucks if they DO build a P.B. in the ex-forest area.

lis said...

I'm supposed to forgive you for being a fascinating and talented writer?


Amy said...

It's been hard to watch my end of town go from farmland and forested hills to crammed in rooftops. I keep waiting for them to fill in the little creek that runs along the border of my neighborhood so they can put trees there too. :(

The older man's observation that you carry yourself carefully was very interesting and sweet. Of course, that also makes me wonder if you're supposed to throw yourself around and run into things with the 2nd child. :)

TripleNine said...

I find it slightly disturbing that I am th only guy (so far) to comment on this post, but I do have some idea of what you mean. Though I'm pretty sure I've never prayed for a tree.