Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Thrill of Victory

Everyone who knows me knows that I am no athlete. The most exercise I get is jumping to conclusions or running a temperature. And as for sports, I like curling…up with a good book! But the Olympics are another matter altogether. It is beyond thrilling to watch these young athletes compete, where the difference between their scores is measured in hundredths of a second! And heartbreaking when a figure skater misses a jump that she has executed perfectly a thousand times in practice.

The Olympics plays with our emotions, to be sure. We cheer passionately for our American teams, of course, but when a small country fields a team of one or two, we rarely know the depth of sacrifice and commitment that has gone into that entry. On the playing field, or the ice, in one way they all look alike: the fire that drives them to excel…in spite of injury, family tragedies, or national politics…is intensely powerful!

There is a story behind every athlete’s competitive drive which I think compels us to watch and, perhaps, makes us all a little envious. What might each of us have achieved if we had committed to something so totally at a young age? I always wonder what it was that grabbed them early on and made them know that this was what they were meant to do. (And why is it so seldom math or science that grabs a kid?)

Well, the U.S. has done extremely well in this Olympics. I sincerely congratulate each of them, and the other competitors as well. It has been joyful and inspiring to watch.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Jolt of Wonderful News

Sometime last summer, I heard Dr. Maya Angelou speak on the radio about the ways in which women often surprise themselves by stepping out of the boxes to which they are accustomed. I thought to myself that she was telling my story. I was deeply into writing poetry for the first time in my life, surprising myself almost daily, and I decided that if I ever published a book, I would send her a copy.

So in November ‘09, that is exactly what I did, along with a letter that told a bit about my path to poetry. I sent it with very little expectation that she would ever even see it. So you can imagine the shock I felt when the phone rang this morning and the caller ID said “Maya Angelou”! With her beautiful, distinctive voice she introduced herself (as if that were necessary!) and said she had just received the book and letter, had read some of the poems and liked them very much, then asked my permission to send it to her publisher! I’m sure I babbled something only slightly coherent, but she seemed to understand that I was stunned! She made a few more lovely and gracious comments and wished me well. What will happen next I do not know. For now, it is enough. I am filled with joy and excitement…and deep gratitude. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for all your support.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good Cheer in February!

I was planning to post a few thoughts today, but something more important has developed. My great-grandson, James, is in remission from his leukemia! What a great and wonderful relief! He has undergone chemo and radiation since his diagnosis on Dec. 23, but his bone marrow biopsy this week showed no cancer cells! More treatment will be needed for a while, but the big victory has been won! That is all I have to report - what else is there? A six-year-old child has beaten the monster, and I feel like dancing! Thanks so much for all your thoughts and prayers.

The Future

a small child
conquers a biological system
gone haywire
with chemistry and courage;

a real-life super hero
fighting an unseen enemy
on a sterile battlefield,
captures the flag

and stares into the future
of magical opportunity.