One of the reasons I love reading Kent Nerburn’s stories ( Small Graces) is Kent Nerburn himself. When we talk about embracing life or seizing the moment or grabbing an opportunity… we all pale in comparison to Nerburn’s life.
Nerburn has a Ph.D in Religion and Art. He is an accomplished sculptor ( Peace Museum in Hiroshima, Japan) lived in a monastery for six months while working on a sculpture and following the daily rituals of the monks, for years he worked with the Ojibwa tribe of Minnesota helping collect the memories of the tribal elders.
In this true account he recalls driving a cab for a living and there was a blind woman he used to pick up at one of the universities. She was very proper with a British accent and quite reserved. But over time the taciturn lady and Nerburn became friends.
One day Nerburn asked her if she could see again, for only one minute… be given a 60 second gift of sight-what would she want to see?
Her reply surprised him. ” Clouds.”
” Why clouds?” he asked.
” Because I can’t imagine them… people have tried to explain them to me… telling me they are like cotton, they tell me they look like fog feels, they spray whipped cream in my hand, they move my fingers over paintings of skies and let me feel the shapes of clouds painted on canvas. But I am no closer to an understanding. Yes… it would be clouds.”
Nerburn slowed down and started staring at the clouds…the clouds were moving stately and triumphant in majestic procession across the sky. He pondered her words. Suddenly he realized the significance of her choice.
The epiphany hit… ” Clouds” -Nerburn thought… of course… what else in this great universe eludes description, yet fills the spirit with wonder.. a reminder of the majesty of an unseen God?
He realized that he spent his ” seeing” eyes searching for a place, a person, some prize of life he hoped to win. But his friend who valued sight the most-one to whom it was denied-knew the greatest gift her eyesight could bestow was right before him-unnoticed and un-appreciated at that very moment.
” Now, let me ask you” ” What is a cloud like?” His friend’s voice was soft but determined as the question hung in the air.
Above him … and the noise of the rush-hour traffic… the clouds were moving slowly, like elephants holding each other’s tails.
” They’re like God’s dreams” Nerburn said.
” Thank you” she responded.
She did not speak again. But her still, small smile filled the cab with the eloquence of peace.
So until tomorrow… Let’s remember to take time to lie down in the grass and stare up at the clouds like we did as children … finding different animals in our imagination. ( Actually I remember finding teapots in the clouds… the short, round ones… like in the Disney animated movies that talked and sang!)
Apparently I am not alone-one designer took her teapot cloud formation and turned it into a popular piece of teapot nostalgia.
Spirea and azaleas-a luscious combination!
I spent a part of yesterday hauling in pots and hanging baskets of spring flowers -we are expecting high winds, rain and frigid temperatures back in the 20’s Sunday night-Old Man Winter is getting one more jab in… as daylight savings time is upon us again.
Praying the flowers Jeff planted earlier this week can hang in there for a few hours Sunday night!!!
Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh