Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week in Seven Words #29

anachronistic
We're standing in George Washington's Headquarters in Valley Forge National Park, looking into the different rooms that have been laid out in such impeccable detail - tables covered in a carefully disordered array of documents, uniform jackets draped over open doorways, shelves with white porcelain dishes, a dining table laid out with potatoes, peas, and ham, small beds neatly made up with checkered blankets - and as we're poking our heads into one room after another he tells me (with his sharp eye for detail and his mischievous sense of humor), that these men really were ahead of their time: look, they had equipped the house with smoke detectors, and who knows how many times those had come in handy saving Washington's life.

backdrop
We're surprised by a plot of sunflowers. She tells me they seem depressed, and it's true, they're hanging their heads, but the rain diminishes some of their sadness I think. When it's sunny outside, a wilted sunflower really does look downcast, drooping away from the source of its light, as if the sun has failed it. But in the rain, it's a little spot of faded sunshine, and still looks determined to bring some cheer.

concentrated
Sometimes there's a feeling that the air is made up of more flower-scent than oxygen.

indulgence
In my daily planner I had written a list of studious, work-related tasks I intended to accomplish that evening, but as it turns out I spend most of the time watching a good sweet movie and eating a good sweet (generous) portion of rum raisin ice cream.

intensity
She asks me why I'm afraid to open the envelope - she uses the word afraid, instead of hesitant - and the reason for my hesitation becomes clear soon after as her temper erupts when she reads the contents. She calms down in a short while though, enough to at least deal in a more level-headed way with the problem. And the next day it's possible for her to be in high spirits; during one of the stops in our road trip in the afternoon she makes us laugh so hard our stomachs are convulsed and tears are leaking out of our eyes.

plink
Raindrops tapping on our shoulders and faces; we smile into the rain.

swaying
I expect a light-hearted night with dinner and a movie, but at one point the conversation takes an unexpectedly heavy turn. We talk about illness and death, terrible things happening to decent people, and how to explain these things (to children, adults, anyone) - and the people I'm talking to seem to want quick decisive responses (this goes against my plodding, ruminative way of sorting through thoughts, especially on topics like these). Yet there are moments, especially as the conversation progresses and my mind has had more time to consider these matters, when I can put words to some of my convictions and get a point across that I feel is important. Afterwards, as frustrated and humbled as I am by my meager understanding and struggle for eloquence, I'm also glad I have this conversation, not only because I've clarified certain thoughts that had stayed unvoiced in my head, thought of new things too since then, new angles to explore... but also because it's necessary to wrestle with these questions, to never stop asking.

5 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

I particularly enjoyed the sunflowers in this and you're right, its good to have difficult conversations now and then

John Hayes said...

This is a complex sequence--maybe it mirrors that difficult conversation in a way. Like Crafty Freen Poet, I loved your Sunflowers description, & I was quite drawn in to both "intensity" & "swaying." Also: "concentrated" can be very true!

Relyn said...

Your anachronistic he sounds like a treasure to travel with. Don't you love that? This summer my daughter got to eat an apple right of Lincoln's real apple tree. The national park guide was just wonderful.

Your backdrop reminds me of the miles and miles of sunflower fields in the Dakotas. Nothing, not even the Grand Canyon has ever taken my breath quite like that.

I haven't seen that one, but I do love Emma Thompson, I think I'll add it to my queue.

naida said...

You describe sunflowers so well in backdrop.
And I can relate to swaying, it's good to have those intense and thought provoking talks.

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

HKatz said...

I'm glad you've all enjoyed the sunflowers :)

Your backdrop reminds me of the miles and miles of sunflower fields in the Dakotas.
That sounds amazing. These sunflowers though were just doing their best in a little plot along a busy city road.

Your anachronistic he sounds like a treasure to travel with.
He is; and so is the other person who was traveling with us, who made us laugh so hard :)

And I can relate to swaying, it's good to have those intense and thought provoking talks.
It's part of living, I agree.

its good to have difficult conversations now and then
I love the 'now and then', because yes, they can be overwhelming (plus the brain needs time to breathe and ponder in between).

Also: "concentrated" can be very true!
It felt like a drug at the time, all that intense scent of grass and flowers.

I haven't seen that one, but I do love Emma Thompson, I think I'll add it to my queue.
I think you'll like it - it really is a sweet, gentle movie and gives some love and romance to older people for a change :) And I also like Emma Thompson's work.

Thanks all, for commenting!