Myths And Reality

If you want to read an excellent blog post on why the world needs more fairy tales, go to Jaimie Lee Wallace’s post on ‘Live to Write – Write to Live’. She talks about what we learn from fairytales, how they teach us to deal with monsters, and ties them to modern-day problems and genres such as urban fantasy and science fiction.

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Wild woodland creatures

Her post made me think about how our current society is so cut off from not just fairy tales, but from each other. Where do we go when facing a monster like a terminal diagnosis, or bullying? Do we seek out the elders in our family or tribe? Do we call mom? Ask to have tea with a friend? Of course, but also we google. We sit alone in front of a computer and interact with the internet. Or we post it on Facebook and wait for replies from ‘friends’. Some who are actually friends and some who are strangers. We think interaction with a friend via a computer screen is the same as sitting with someone over that steaming cup of tea.

Not that I’m someone who’s comfortable in crowds. I get on people-overload mighty fast. But I’m sure my point is apparent.

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Something magical must live in that keyhole

Yesterday I needed to find out how to wind wool on a kniddy-knoddy, a process in spinning. I went to YouTube (and then had to have my husband explain what I’d just watched). I realized that years ago I would have had to interact with people to find the same thing. I would have found a spinning group, or gone to the library, or called a grandma or auntie.

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Auntie and me

My current work in progress has to do with myths. The idea came from the classic ‘what if’ question and made me look at our fears. Why we fear certain things, what fear is beyond just an extreme version of feeling out of control.

But Jaimie Lee Wallace’s blog post also brings out another reason for this current story. It is making me look at, not just fear, but isolation in all its many forms.

I choose to believe in fairy tales. Heck, I tell people I still believe in Santa. And it’s why I love super-hero movies. Show me how to put the monster back in its box and banish it for a hundred years. Show me how a band of friends can beat back the end of civilization as we know it. Show me there’s someone out there who can save the day, and then teach me how to be that person.

And remind me to unplug, walk in the woods, and look for magic.

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Do you see the dragon? Or some mythical beast?

Rituals

Yesterday I participated in an event full of tradition and it got me thinking about the importance of ritual in our lives. That and the difference between ritual and routine.

‘Ritual’ is defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

‘Routine’ is defined as a sequence of actions, regularly followed. In other words ‘habit’. Although for my husband the routine of morning coffee is more like a ritual.

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I think we use those words interchangeably, and in doing so, forget the underlying emotional connection to those things that are actually ritual rather than routine. In using those words so easily, we lose the connection to our past, our heritage, our culture.

Yesterday I had to squash feeling like an interloper because the event I participated in was of a different heritage than mine. But as I sat outside by the fire, with wind high in the trees, light rain falling, and singing all around me, I realized that while that ritual may come from a culture I had no ‘blood’ connection to, they were rituals that I had an emotional connection to.

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I choose purposely to use the word ’emotional’ rather than ‘spiritual’ because those who know me know that I am not much of a believer in organized religions. I don’t believe there is an afterlife, as in heaven, or a place that people go to be forever happy, or to suffer for eternity. I think of religion as man’s first attempts at creating a moral code.

At the same time, those rituals yesterday gave me peace. Just like the womb experience of sitting in the hot tub in the middle of the night with stars spread out above, like I talked about in my last post. I realized that while I may not have what I perceive as religious beliefs, there is something about stone and water and trees that lets me breathe.

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So I guess those things are my religion. Walking in the woods, or being near trees is definitely my ritual. What are yours? What fills your soul or speaks to you? Or what routines that others might see as habits, do you see as ritual?

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Courtesy and Grief

I apologize for two blog posts in one week. It’s not my intention to hog emails or feeds. But sometimes emotions flow over into words.

Those of you who have been through cancer treatments understand what fatigue means.

For those who haven’t, it’s not that you’re tired. Or even exhausted. It’s a bone-deep sense of collapse. You can’t stand. You struggle to draw in breath. It’s also soul-deep grief.

What doctors don’t tell you is that the grief part rarely goes away. It’s always there, and bubbles up at odd times. I call them ‘blue days’. It doesn’t mean the world is awful or life is terrible, or you’re depressed, or something bad has happened. It’s just there, and you have a day of being teary and keeping it to yourself because there’s no explanation that anyone will understand.

Because there is no explanation.

So over the days and months and years, you learn what helps.

Oddly enough, for me, it’s a hot tub I swore I would never use when my husband bought it. After all, isn’t it the same as a bathtub? Was I ever wrong.

When I have those blue days, or long days at work, or stress, or the right words won’t come in the current story, out I go. Black night. Sometimes bright stars, sometimes rain pattering on the water or snow falling. Hot water in a dark tub. You float, and it becomes womb-like. Everything seeps away and you just be. You can breathe. Tears go back where they came from. You leave able to function and be happy and see the joy in the world and push those awful blue gremlins away.

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I’m not the only one who enjoys the hot tub

We lived a long time with no neighbors. Now we have one, but it’s been okay because he only comes up a few weekends out of the year. This was one. And when he left, he’d installed a bright yard light.

It’s on all night. We don’t have to turn on a light if we get up in the middle of the night.

And when I sit in the hot tub I’m in a spot light.

Yes, I’m going to contact him and ask if he can put the light on a motion sensor.

But here’s the thing. Don’t people have compassion, or empathy, or consideration anymore? I see this type of thing more and more. What would it have cost him to come over and let us know what he was planning and ask our opinion? Not that he needs our permission, obviously.

When we moved in I planted two Japanese maple trees in our front yard. Because that bed bordered the neighbor’s property line, I asked him if he minded. Told him what size the trees would get, where roots might go. Made sure he was okay with the planting. Common courtesy. This is the same neighbor.

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I’m not sure what we’ll do if he doesn’t change the light. Most likely I’ll ask my husband to research fence permits to see about building our fence higher. That would block the light.

It would also block the mountains and the stars.

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The logical side of me knows there are far more terrible things in the world, and worse problems we could have, and it’s silly to get upset over a just a light. But that little blue gremlin inside is wide awake.

And there’s no womb to push it away.

Tomorrow I’ll be fine.

Actually, tomorrow I’ll probably be pissed and looking into county codes and restrictions on light pollution and drafting polite, but firm, nasty letters in my brain.