I think that intensity is both my gift and my flaw. I am passionate about those things in which I believe but sometimes the passion is so intense that I forget to breathe. I think that I'm perhaps too hard on my fellow humans. I get frustrated with our disdain for the pursuit of the intellectual and angered by our obsessive selfishness. Every now and then I realize that it's time for me to stop and smell the roses, to embrace the moments of joy, to be awed by our creativity instead of appalled by our destructive impulses.
My nearly 19 month old great nephew is the joy of my life. I entertain him by blowing bubbles; he lets me know when he wants more bubble blowing by walking over, placing a small hand on each of my knees and announcing, "Bub." He never tires of trying to capture those spheres of soap and water, and I never tire of blowing them.
When he's at my house, he likes to follow me around whenever I leave the room. Generally the trip is to the kitchen in response to his announcement, "Eat, eat," his shorthand for, "I'm hungry." He makes me laugh at the way he walks close to the open refrigerator and peers inside as if seeking hidden treasure. His new favorite thing is to drink out of my cup, a blue and white 28 oz monster cup. My job is to hold the cup as he sips out of my straw. Most of the time, it contains water, but once it was a bit of mango juice. His face lit up and he did a little jig as he tasted it.
I hope that he will be creative. His grandfather Bob, my sister's husband, is a talented musician, so he's got creative genes.
The creative impulse may be humankind's saving grace. We make grand wars but we also make grand music and art. We paint masterpieces on ceilings and walls. We write operas with music so sweetly beautiful that it makes us weep with joy.
I saw an interesting story on the CBS evening news about rice art in Japan. Artists create images that are transferred onto computer generated grids and enlarged on a massive scale. Then the entire town comes together to plant the images in rice. How wonderfully awesome that hundreds of people work to create these transistory works of art. The rice is eventually harvested, but before the harvest tens of thousands of visitors come to town, boosting the local economy, as they view the rice fields in all their glory.
Inakadate Village, where this creative endeavor began has a population of 8,400. Last year there were 170,000 visitors to the village's rice field. Other rural areas of Japan have also created their own rice art.
I felt uplifted by this story. It seems that I may be wrong about humankind. Perhaps there is hope for a better us, a hope born out of the innocence of childhood and rice fields.