Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Meaning of Make Believe

Make Believe!
these two words
have outlined my life...
as a child in Crayolas,
as an adult in markers!

Make Believe?
Is it a childhood term only or...?
What would it mean as an adult,
how would it be defined, lived,
acted out at mid age...?
How do we pretend?
well I am sure there are all sorts of ways
but I am not referring to the kind
that requires us to live off the grid...
or deceptively...
just silly and simple acts
of believing in the impossible,
the imaginative!

Didn't plan on researching this
but in retrospect
my past week was exactly
a game in make believe.

My leadership development class
met for the second time for
the dreaded and scheduled
public speaking session.
Oh, so very yuck!

And I didn't sleep at all
the night before.

When speech number one, didn't go well.
due to the uncontrollable shaking
which shows up in voice and hands!
This happen to everyone ...right?

A professional guest speaker
gave us some amazing tips, like using props,
colored markers to section our notes,
halved paper for less nervous rattling,
eye contact, eye contact, eye contact...
tho I would use most of the tips successfully
I knew eye contact
wasn't going to be one of them,
no matter how hard I tried.

"Speak on a childhood memory,
you have twenty minutes to prepare,
and two minutes to speak."

I wasn't the first to volunteer nor was I the last
(...John was.)
With colored notes in one hand
and an orange Trick or Treat bucket
which I eventually placed on my head, I began:

"We all have our favorite childhood age,
when we share of a memory...
but for some reason
I am always ten in mine,
I am sure I had to be other ages tho,
Anyways, I had a great imagination
and although,
I grew up in Duluth Minnesota,
I thought it was Africa.
South Africa to be exact,
and I knew everything about it,
where the different animals lived,
the names of all the countries
and their capitals...why?
Because I also believed I was...black!

One spring I found
a leopard skin piece of fabric
in a thawing ditch.
Brushing it off
I swung it across my shoulders.
And it became a magical vest,
a warrior's vest
and I wore it everywhere.

My mom,
my very Scandinavian
and fashion conscious mom,
was dismayed!
Not only did she have a daughter
who was a tomboy and running around town
with pretend leopard skin vest on,
while chasing imaginary wild animals...
her daughter also believed... she was black!

Never really grew out of this.
I loved to make something simple
into something magical
and let it take me places!

When I was ten,
we had this old shelled out
wash machine in a back yard field.
This scrapped piece of metal
became my fantasy transport
as a covered wagon,
a dog sled attached to a toboggan
and one time a rocket ship.

My girlfriend and I decided
to send my brother and his friend
to the moon in it.
We tied a rope around it,
stuffed them inside
with a football helmet on and probably
a bucket like the one I am wearing now."

Its here I realize there is too much of an echo
inside the bucket and
and although my eye contact problem is solved
cause it hangs low hiding them..
I try to remove it but
the handle is caught on my chin
and I can't get it off!
So I leave it on!
Hmmm? Not really the original plan!

" Anyways, my brother and his friend
are beyond excited with promises to bring
back some milky ways
and say hi to the man in the moon for us.
We hoist and hoist...
being evidently really strong little girls
until they get to the crook in the tree,
the end of the rope and
in a silent stillness...they swing back and forth
with blank sad faces.
Looks of great disappointment times four.

To this day I am still not sure
IF I really believed we could get them
to the moon?
That anything was possible.
Cause when you are ten...anything IS possible.
So I wonder, what might I do if I still thought
like a ten yeard old?
What might I be able to do?
What might we all be able to do?"

End of speech..thank goodness
and the bucket was removed...with help!

It turned into a week of make believe.
Starting with pretending
to still be a competive athlete
and dreaming about wanting
and winning medals.
Not Olympic ones but... hey?
(See previous blog)
Of pretending to be able to dance
and sort of really dancing...
(and liking it,)
of being a zombie and a pirate and getting
to return to my "Farrah hair" of the seventies.
And I pretended to be an activist for a park
even carried a protest sign!
And of course had a make believe moment
of being a comedianne
with a bucket helmet and an audience!

When I talk about always being ten,
and wouldn't live any other way!

Have you been ten yet today?

Pam Piper Rain

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Older than Dirt and...

Its a week end of
"oh how I love this sport"
three medals, and two days
of wins, teamwork,
magic and silly friendship stuff
dorming it like wild college kids
and there is a thousand laughs
in the fun account
to feel very rich.
Hawaiianly charmed
and entertained
on a grassy hillside abundantly dotted
with reclining, dancing, drinking,
beautifully tattooed, smiling paddlers.

Our return here, marks five years
from our first race EVER!
Still can see us standing on the shoreline
naively novice in our big red bag shirts
that held rather than hid the smell of nerves.

We ran back and forth watching every turn
for tips, for clues
we had only discovered
the sport three months earlier
and we were, hmmm...
how should I say....terrible!

Without a coach or resident expert we
had learned
thru borrowed videos and books.
Even once simulating a way to dry paddle
using a picnic table and a cooler.
(Yeah, I know, odd to picture)

But for some reason
we were a crowd pleaser that day
coming in second
(don't get excited, out of two)
behind the intimidating Hawaiians.

Discovering immediately this was a sport
where teams helped other teams,
everyone friendly, good natured
and generous with information
and encouragement.
They LOVED us and still do it seems!

Charmed and seemingly pleased
to see us do well.
Is it because we are relatively new
or an unlikely collection
of older than average athletes
from the desert?
As much of a surprise to us,
as it is to them
when we claim firsts?
Or it it the new team shirts
with the cool logo
(a long ways from the red bag shirt days?)

No longer the nervous ones pacing
the shore line for our name to be called.
We are in the Silver Masters division now
(for women over 50)
or affectionately known as
"older than dirt."
Having earned this position for being
silver and seasoned! Finally!

We are kick back
casual, joking even before the race.
Getting around to figuring
out who will sit where
as we walk to our canoe.
Comfortable with the challenge
of dock entry
leaning left, one by one!

And we claim the water
as ours right away with a rolling start
and hold it with a fury
with clean technique and style,
Not worrying about the turn until
we get there, ready to do whatever
it takes to stay ahead and out
of the reed area we termed
"looking for Moses."

We do and we win.

I have found myself in seat one
as the stroker and
the water truly does belong to me
out in front in all ways
and its exhilarating, and thrilling
its my job, to get there and stay there
and it's...hard!
Very hard and grueling.
So, I try to get out of it for
the next couple of races
...and can't!

Seat one had always been
someone else's seat,
and I realized I had just been sitting
there waiting for someone else
to come and claim it,
so I could go back
to being a low keyed,
less responsibility, seat two again.
But what if this is my seat
and I claim it as such...
(no one else seems to want it either)
and train to be the best one
I can be and in better shape
for the job in the future?

So what if we are "older than dirt"
and come from the desert?
We are winners and
a team to be reckoned with
and just like our first medal win
in Tempe five years ago when someone said
"and they are hot too"
It was heard again this past Saturday
as we claimed our over 50 hardware...
Better than the medal? Almost!

Looks like we must be
doing something right.
Oh, how I love this sport!

Pam Piper Rain

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farewell Dear Summer

Where have I been?
I can only answer
that the words had left me!
As they do
or maybe they have followed me
at a distance
waiting for me to look around?

So I turned.
To see...it had become fall
and summer had fled
on its papery sun drenched wings
like egrets.

Left behind,
I am wistful,
grieving the things it takes with it.
The warm swampy smell of the lake,
rising like a fragrant steam
inviting and beckoning.
The long days of endless heat
and ways to play and stay wet.
The muted hum
of sounds while floating,
ears immersed in aqua.
The enchanting words and moments
that are called forward
while bobbing on our blue playground,
sprawled lazily about
on gleaming white seats,
toasting this and that with bubbles.
The brilliant reflection of red and yellow
and our dipping paddles,
a liquid ballet in the dawns light.

The desert doesn't have seasons
some will say,
true, not as dramatic as anywhere else,
with its desire to please
through hues of changing colors.
but ah... it is there
in the subtle beauties
that are gifted to the
ones paying attention
with watchful eyes.

Its in the light
and the way the water's color
deepens as if the putting on a heavy coat,
letting the heat sink and the chill rise.
It's in the Mud Duck's music
as they skim
the lakes surface in a chaotic chorus,
to escape that which interrupts
their serene drifting.
(Which is usually us and our canoe...
we can't seem
to resist the opportunity
to scatter and harass them.)

It's in that which is supposed to be green
and was before
the daunting days of high temps,
subtle displays of a lively perkiness,
as if to say "hey, look at me I survived
and am ready to shine again."
It's in the smile of my dog,
bounding mid morning
over cooled pavement, free and joyful.
Its in the color orange everywhere
and the anticipated smell of spice.

Its in the pointy hats and shelves
of bagged candy.
In Vincent Price's laughter and
roar turns and waz ups and
new dancers with cheers
for themselves and one another.
Its in the sky and the harvest moon,
torches filled and flames dancing
across the faces of friends
with new words.

But I will miss the hoop and board,
the water friends I must say farewell to,
my tan and the sunsets while being knee deep,
the purr of my boat prop taking me
out to the next adventure.
The music that says its been memorable,
the early morning race to do
it all, before the heat advances
from the east!
The days so long
and the light...so inexhaustible !

It is both beginning and endings.
With a required vow to let "summer"
and all her wonders
She won't be held on to,
endless only in our imaginings
and the promise of another May.

One last look tho...
as I turn around
to take my words with me
and I think I can feel the whisper
of her fleeting wings
taking flight!

Pam Piper Rain

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What was I Scared of?

Recently, I celebrated my 51 st birthday
with that came the usual ways to celebrate
bubbles, balloons, swinging, playing with
and calls from friends,
the lake and paddling,

And this book by Dr. Seuss,
a gift from my brother!
One I used to be terrified of!
I remember being at my cousins and
although it was a part
of a collection of Seuss's best.
I would flip past that section quickly
with avoidance and trepidation!
Its about an empty pair of
friendly glow in the dark green pants
that today would have been
considered to be stalking pants!

Yes, really I was afraid of a story about
pants with no one inside of them!

Being sacred of something anything
is a funny thing,
it might come out of nowhere
or worse its been there all along and
you just begin to notice it
and ponder its root system
or something makes you sweat
and you wonder,
whats this all about?

Being pretty clear
and open about my general fears
like water, snakes, being surprised,
things that swim underwater,
mean people
dancing and speaking in public,
approaching a table
of people I want to meet,
opening presents in public,
things that swim underwater,
did I say that already?
Christians, (sorry) Republicans (sorry, again)
(they are surprisingly intimidating)
...and the list goes on and on.

Then there are the deeper more psychic
unmentionables like
being alone, getting in trouble,
having someone mad at me, rejection,
losing my dog!

In the book the spooky pants starts to cry
because it's afraid as well!
And of course they
become friends in the end
and greet one
another then on, with friendly waves.
(Ah, that Dr was so smart and clever!)
Full of metaphors and humor!
I tried my first reading on my dog
who was quivering over
an impending thunderstorm
Not sure it helped,
or she even heard it
from under the bed.
But I was enchanted
by the one story,
I had always feared!
(besides the Cat in the Hat,
still working on that one tho,
and there's 'Where the
Wild Things Are' too, not a fan!)

Coming face to face with one of
my most challenging times and year
I came face to face with
all of my scary 'empty pants'
all at the same time!

One of my birthday calls
came from a dear friend
whose support was immeasurable
during this time
and she graciously took the time to list
the things I had done in the last year
despite the
gravity of my situation!

"You danced on Main street,
you created the Bobble Bands
and learned to hula hoop.
Taught poetry workshops
and donated two paintings
for thousands of dollars
and learned how to paddle board.
You got around the country
without being able to drive.
You turned the grief of losing
a friend into a celebration
of bubbles and fun.
And don't forget you created
Paddles and Pinwheels,
an event in her honor.
And you wrote over a hundred blogs
documenting it all.
Look at what you have done!"

And I sort of did!
Feeling humbled and touched!

I wish everyone a friend
(or two) like this,
one who sees where you need to go,
believed you would,
is there to applaud your arrival
and reminds you of what you did!
Just in case you forgot!

So what was I scared of?
Before this year, I would have
had to say LIFE in general!
Terrified of what I couldn't
control or handle!
But it's all really...
just a silly pair of empty pants
with no one inside of them
determined to follow me around
until I simply, said, "hello!"

To quote a credit card commercial...
"What's in your pants?"

oh wait, thats "wallet!"

Pam Piper Rain

For these gifts, cheers to Scott and Mary.