Foto Friday #25

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This is an eroded patch of asphalt on the sidewalk where I often walk. Each time I pass it, the shape reminds me of the continent of Africa. The other day I snapped a picture so I could compare it to a map. There is a remarkable resemblance, so now when I go for a walk – I just tell my husband I’m going to Africa and back!

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A Rainbow Moon and a Deep Pink Sea

275770When I immerse myself in daydreams, what do I see? Beautiful visions! Creative words! Thoughts so endearing I am quite taken with myself! But can I turn those daydreams into writing? Almost never! Like the other day, for instance, I imagined the ocean wasn’t blue. It was maroon in the middle where it’s deep, gradually changing to rosy pink as it gets closer to shore, becoming lacy white fingers when it tickles the sand. The only other thoughts I had were of rainbow moons and puppies with white fur that sparkles. That’s it! That’s all I had! No way of tying the three together; just a rainbow moon, a deep pink sea and a puppy with white fur that sparkles! But stay tuned – I’ll keep working on it. You just never know what I might come up with!

My response to today’s one-word prompt: Immerse

Cadee’s World of Magic Shadows

Children’s minds are simply delightful! The other day my granddaughter told me she was sure there were magic shadows in her room! Wanting her to pursue the thought a little further, I asked what she thought they were doing there. She didn’t know. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed! I mean, if she is creative enough to come up with “magic shadows”, isn’t she capable of more? I wrote this little story to help set her mind in motion and spark her imagination. Who knows what she might think of the next time those magic shadows appear in her room!

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Somewhere between the light of day and the edge of night lies the peaceful kingdom of sleep. It is a world where twilight fairies and magic shadows live and play together. They ride into your room on fluffy white clouds so they can peek inside your dreams. They let you drift beside them to the places they love best, like Hope and Happiness, because that’s where you want to go when you dream.

Sometimes the magic shadows play tricks on your mind and you think you’re somewhere you’re not: a rolling green meadow where tall prairie grass tickles your nose as it sways in the gentle breeze; on a carousel of beautiful flowers whose soft, fragrant petals open and close to enfold you as it goes round and round; or overlooking a clear mountain lake that looks like shiny blue glass.

Meanwhile, the twilight fairies revel in their hike to the top of a rainbow. They stop for a brief rest before sliding down the other side, giggling all the way. If you’re lucky, they will take you with them as they soar like eagles in the sky. Then, just for fun, they will drop you into the waiting arms of friendly trees who catch you and bend down to the ground to set you on your feet again.

Soon enough the magic shadows and twilight fairies retreat into darkness and ever so slowly your room once more fills with the light of day!

My Princess

DSC07902My granddaughter is four years old and she thinks she’s a princess. “Well, of course she does!”, you say “what four-year-old girl doesn’t?” After all, little girls are growing up with “Frozen” which is more popular than, well – EVERYTHING! I swear, preschoolers these days think Anna & Elsa will be classmates of theirs as soon as they hit first grade. Disney Princesses are everywhere: books, movies, clothing, accessories – you name it! My granddaughter has been to numerous “princess” birthday parties and has dressed up as a princess every Halloween since she has been able to decide for herself what she wanted to be – all of what? Two years now? The point is, I understand there is nothing unusual about a little girl thinking she’s a princess. What IS unusual is the passion with which she believes it!

I had the pleasure of spending the day with my granddaughter a few weeks ago during her break from preschool. We did a little shopping, worked on a few craft projects; but mostly we just played together. It was while we were playing that she sat herself down and said,

“Grammy, I want to tell you something.”

I could tell she was serious! I knew we were about to have a truly heartfelt conversation!

“OK, honey. You can tell me anything. What is it?”

“Well, this morning Mommy & Daddy laughed at me!”

“Oh! What were you doing that they found so funny?”

“I wasn’t doing anything. It was something I said.”

“Well then…what was it you said?”

“I was explaining to them that I am a princess!”

“Well, of course you are, Sweetheart”, I agreed with a smile. “You’re MY princess! And you’re THEIR princess, too!”

“NO Grammy! I’m a REAL princess! REALLY!” (She was rather emphatic here!)

So I wiped the smile from my face and proceeded to explain to her that most princesses are not real. They exist only in stories. They live in the minds of the people who write those stories and in the hearts of those of us who read them. She assured me she knew all that!

I moved on to convey that there are indeed some real princes and princesses in the world, but they are the sons and daughters of real kings & queens. I told her we don’t have real princesses in our country because we don’t have a king & queen. We elect our leaders. She knew all that, as well!

I informed her that her friends all think they are princesses, too. They believe they are special and beautiful, and they are! We ALL are, in our own special way. She nodded her head in agreement!

“Well, Baby Doll, do you understand?” I asked her.

“Yes”, she replied with a hint of aloofness; but I was skeptical.

“What do you understand?” I inquired.

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“Well, I understand that I am really a real princess, but not everybody thinks so! It’s OK though, at least I know I am! I might not always be one, but for now (shrugs shoulders) – I just am!”

“You’re right”, I conceded, “you are absolutely right! And no matter how old I am or how old you are, you will always, always be a princess to me!” (Hugs ensued!)

There will be days soon enough when her friends don’t seem much like friends, when her teacher simply isn’t being fair, or when her parents don’t want to claim her PERIOD, let alone claim she is their princess! Life will become difficult and problems will be overwhelming. Soon, when reality sets in, she will discover she is not that much different than anyone else and that we all just do our best in this world. But for now, in her four-year-old little world, it’s OK for her to believe she is a princess! Who am I to tell her she is not? Now, if she still thinks so when she’s eight? Well, Houston, we might have a problem!

WHO WANTS TO PLAY?

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I’m all about letting kids simply be kids, so when I’m with my grandchildren, I let them chose how we play. The one-year-old currently plays with anything he can see, grab and put in his mouth! He is also attracted to sound. If it makes noise, wonderful! If it doesn’t, he bangs it against something until it does.

The four-year-old, on the other hand, prefers pretend play. Sounds easy, right? Well, pretend play is not all that simple! As the co-player, I am required to listen, follow instructions and role play. But for her, pretending is an excellent exercise in self-esteem. When she uses her imagination, she can be anyone or anything she wants to be – and that’s a valuable lesson!

When kids use their imagination instead of playing preconceived games, their communication skills and the wisdom of their choices are an immediate consequence. Believe me, if the direction of our play isn’t going well, my granddaughter is quick to “pretend” something else entirely!

Last summer she and I took a nice, long walk. We picked dandelions and blew them into the wind and we watched the sun peek in and out of the clouds. When we got back from our walk, she pretended to be a dandelion so I could “pick her”! Here is a poem I wrote for her after we played:

WHO WANTS TO PLAY

“Who wants to play with me today?”

said the wind to no one in particular.

A dandelion nearby held its’ head up high

and hollered, “I do!  Pick me!”

So the wind swept it lofty and ever so softly

they soared through the day together.

“Who wants to play with me today?”

said the rain to no one in particular.

A creek barely flowing said “Come, let’s get going!

We’ll build ourselves a river to the sea.”

So the rain joined the creek until it ran deep

and they rushed through the day together.

“Who wants to play with me today?”

said the cloud to no one in particular.

A ray of sun flickered by, “Let’s hide-and-seek in the sky!

It’s a game we can play forever!”

So they hid and they peeked; they teased and they sneaked,

and they skipped through the day together.

“Who wants to play with me tonight?”

said the moon to no one in particular.

A dream just forming wanted to sleep until morning

but the moon cried, “It’s now or it’s never!”

So the two became friends and each of them spends

their quiet nights playing together.

My Night World

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Sometimes I can’t sleep at night. It’s nothing new. Back when I was working and raising my family, stress and worry about life’s everyday problems seemed to weigh on me like an anchor. When my daughter was a teenager, I rarely slept. After my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and failing fast, I would lie awake most nights. Then it was my husband’s snoring that kept me awake. But eventually my daughter grew up, my mother moved to heaven, I retired from my job and my husband suddenly stopped snoring! I had no excuse not to sleep! That’s when I discovered I simply choose to be awake. I enjoy being up in the middle of the night when all others in my world are sound asleep.

I love my house at night. It appears to be spotless and tidy! During the day, little things like crumbs on the counter top and scuffs on the floor bother me to distraction. They seem to scream “clean me” until I do just that! But at night I see no crumbs on the counter, no scuffs on the floor. There is no dust, nothing is out of place and my windows are squeaky-clean! The mundane tasks of the day don’t even whisper my name in the middle of the night.

I swear some nights the moon shines through the window over my front door brighter than the sun ever does, even on the most dazzling summer day, and the shadows it creates are just different somehow! More magical! More alive! The grandfather clock in the dining room that simply “tick-tock’s” during the day is a virtual symphony in the middle of the night! The noises of the house are special.  They are my friends, in the night, when we are alone!

I like to write in my night world. Words just come alive in my mind, kind of like those shadows and sounds do. I can come up with words that don’t even exist in my vocabulary during the day or when I am face to face with another person. People tend to intimidate me, but words don’t! They don’t judge. They are not harsh. They are not condescending. They do not disenchant me unless I want them to.

When I can no longer keep my eyes open, I turn off the lamp beside my chair and quietly make my way to the bedroom. Well, except for that night I ran smack into a chair! “Oh, excuse me” I mumbled, a bit bewildered! Once I realized I had just apologized to a solid, inanimate object, I knew it was way past time for me to go to bed!

Exhaustion takes over once or twice a week and I go to bed at a reasonable hour. So tired I have managed to become that I don’t wake up during the night at all. In the morning after such a night I am briefly disappointed that I didn’t get to visit my night world. Then it hits me! Tonight!  Yes, tonight I won’t need sleep! Tonight I have something to look forward to!