I wonder what sporting events were like before all of the hoopla. I ponder this because last night, my older sons and I took a bus trip into Boston to the see the red-hot Celtics take on the emerging Atlanta Hawks. It was the first professional basketball game for all three of us and a Christmas present that caused the most excitement in our house that December morning. So they have been waiting for a few months now to see Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and company hit the floor and shoot some hoops.
The hoopla I refer to included a bevy of scantily clad Boston Celtics Dancers, t-shirt rocket launchers, little parachute gifts falling from the rafters, contestant shoot-arounds during many of the breaks and the zooming in on the crowd by the camera operators of the Jumbotron. We never got our mugs on camera but we had a great time staring at others caught in the act of, well, sitting there in the stands. The game itself was center-stage, but not all of the time.
All of that is fine. Sports have become entertainment and given the cost of tickets, I guess we expect to be enthralled at events. My sons and I had a blast. What does kind of bother me, though, is the huge Jumbtron hanging from the ceiling. We had seats that were pretty high up and it felt as if the huge screens were directly in front of our faces. What concerns me is that I felt myself drifting from the actual game to staring straight at the video screens, showing the same action as on the floor. This happened to me at a recent Bruce Springsteen concert, too. I kept catching myself watching the massive TV on steriods instead of watching the real thing. It acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking me into its screen (and then plastering me with the advertisements).
My boys were oblivious to this conundrum, and they easily moved their gaze back and forth between the live action and the digital representation. I, however, felt the whiplash of my attention, even as I gazed at the close-up of Kevin Garnett spinning, turning and dunking in the open lane.
Peace (in field trips),
(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)
I covet the quiet. The only sounds in the house this early in the morning are mechanical and I wish I could just throw a white noise filter over it all and let the solitude invade this space. It won’t be long before the first of three sets of footsteps come pounding down the stairs for the morning ritual. Time is precious in these first waking hours and I am at my most clear, most creative, most attentive to the purposes of my life as a writer.
Years ago, in youthful ignorance, I would sleep during this early morning time. My life was in full slumber. No longer. Either it is age getting to me, or my mind working overtime at night and willing my body awake, I come to my senses in almost full alert each morning. I feel alive. If I am writing a song, the lyrics dance in my head and I must reach for paper before they are lost. If I am working on a story, the characters move in front of me. I understand them in ways I had not the day before.
This morning, the white coat of snow from yesterday’s storm still lingers on the yard outside and as the sun comes up, the neighborhood is peaceful. The sky is red and orange as the Earth twists itself into place for sunlight gathering. It is a time of potential, I feel, and I am part of that. Sometimes, here and at this hour, we see bears and deer walking through. One time, later in the morning hours, my sons and I even came upon two moose strolling through our streets and we were as surprised as they were. We wondered where they lived and where they would go but they galloped off at such surprising speeds for their size. They were gone before we knew it, before we could wonder if we really had seen moose.
And so, this morning, I look out my window and I wonder at the surprises that today might hold for us. And, as always, I write.
Peace (in slices of life),
(Note: I stumbled upon this Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers and I decided to venture forth. I’m not really sure what I need to be doing but that never stopped me before.)
My three year old sits on the left and the seven year old, on the right, and I am smack dab in the middle, with Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax open on my lap. The ten year old hovers, near enough to be part of the action but not right in the thick of it. The Lorax is a favorite of ours and today, I have brought out my digital voice recorder. I am trying to capture some of my sons’ voices in time, for memory’s sake, and I know the youngest loves to shout out “The Lorax” and “Brown Barbaloots” and other strange Seussian language.
We begin to read and the two youngest boys listen and join me like a chorus when prompted. The Lorax “speaks for the trees.” The Oncler is creating “gloppity glop.” We move through the story, snuggled close, and it reminds me of how special this kind of reading is and how connected a book can make us as a family. Even the older boy, still just beyond reach, is emotionally there with us. He remembers when it was just he and I reading this same book and he was the one shouting out “Swamee Swans” and “Truffula Trees” when given the chance. Is ten years old the age when they start pulling away? I hope not, I think, as the book continues to unfold.
At the end of the story, we pause, and the little one — three years old but wise beyond his years — makes the comment: “Where did all the Truffula Trees go? Why did they cut them down?”
Before I can answer, he comes up the answer: “For thneeds. Which nobody needs.”
The Lorax may never come back but he lives in our hearts at least.
Peace (in life),
PS — interested in The Lorax?
[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=6650219631867189375" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]