a quiet conversation.

Our snaky U-turn of plans has kept my mind pretty active, so I've been a little absent. All the posts I plan to write slip a little deeper into the void. Who will shine their light on them there?

{just imagine : "imagination is more important than knowledge"}

Yesterday I delivered six kilos of jam to a friend in distress. A worried mother handed me the too-heavy bag, pleaing with her eyes. One jar broke in our bags on the trip. Tomorrow, a worried mother travels here from Santiago to help daughter get back on her feet. In the quiet of an upturned apartment, she looked for something to give me. We flipped through a photocopied book of ayurvedic remedies in English. She prepared me a small jar of coconut oil to ward off stretch marks. Finally settling on a pen (pluma) she created out of feather quills (plumas) during our difficult winter, where she hardly slept. Of course I should give you a pen; you're a writer, she says, of course! No one ever really knows the distress of another, until the worst is over or until it blankets us with its hot chill weight.

Over breakfast, S laughs at how I fill our cereal bowls. Brimming. I say the bowls are so small, and I like to see the milk rim the fruit. He points out that I pour everything that way: water, juice, beer, coffee, tea, the ice cube tray. No wonder I spill a little constantly. We've found another way to define humanity: those who pour full and those who leave a little space. Still, the tambourines play for everybody.

{peaceful understanding : "peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding"}
When one of my best friends here calls and S answers, the first thing she might say to me on the phone is how difficult he is to understand. When he tells me she's called, he too mentions how difficult she is to understand. One of my jobs teaching English classes (and--it seems--as a human being) is to help people feel understood. Now to remember to include myself in that little equation.

{photos by J. P. McAdie from her awesome set according to einstein; quoted thoughts are einstein's}

18 comments:

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Hehe, I think the same thing (we can't understand each other sometimes) living here but it gets easier each day!

E. Charlotte said...

That was a beautifully written post. :)

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

what a thoughtful and reflective post.

Faiza said...

ahh you would love this piece here:

http://allididwaslisten.blogspot.com/2010/02/to-brim.html

Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller said...

Very lovely and very true.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller said...

And I hope it's not too strange for you going "home." I agree, it's a strange concept any more. How long have you been away for?

Jude said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful post. Sending good wishes as you prepare for a "homecoming". (And yup, I have trouble understanding people even when I'm in the UK, another English speaking country!)

Kristin Hjellegjerde said...

You write so beautiful you placed me in a different life, a different time:)

Krystal said...

I was thought of starting a blog called 'there are 2 types of people in the world' and then letting people submit their ideas...can you imagine the million ideas we would get! two types...but we all overlap :)

kelli g. { bug miscellany } said...

can i just say i love this line

"We've found another way to define humanity: those who pour full and those who leave a little space."

SO much.


you are a brilliant writer.

Claire Kiefer said...

Soon enough you will be here and understanding and understood perfectly, and I will pour our wine glasses to the brim. Love you.

Stacey said...

So beautifully written Heather! I have an accent and sometimes people tend to listen to that instead of what i'm saying, which leads to me repeating myself in a monosyllabic fashion:-). Hugs to you. XX

MarchMusings said...

So insightful, Heather. We always feel the other person is hard to understand not realising we might appear the same. I like the way your writing reflects your thought-flow.

this free bird said...

You are perfect with words...my cup runneth over.

xoxo,
Carrie

christine ♪♫ said...

you are lucky to have a job that rewarding :) this is a very thoughtful post- i think with more understanding, everyone can live a much happier life.

i read your previous post about getting ready to move and i'm excited for you! i'm glad you had such an epic and memorable experience in Chile. what part of CA are you staying in??

Melly Mel said...

loved this!!!

Signe said...

Beautifully written! And amazing images once again!

Have a great weekend Heather :)

Mystica said...

I sometimes do not even understand my own children and I think is there so much noncommunication or miscommunication around.

Thank you for visiting my blog and following. I look forward very much to coming back here often.

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