Ever notice how truly bizarre English spelling can be? I’ve heard estimates that 15-20% of English words are exceptions to phonetic spelling rules. It makes me wonder why they’re called exceptions when they’re so common. There’s something so quirky and fun about silent letters, for instance. And then there’s the oddity of U.S. English using different spelling from the English used in the rest of the world, despite common origins.
Yet somehow we communicate despite all the flaws.
Today I noticed that some of our most important words, like “love” and “heart” are irregularly spelled. I find it a very comforting sign that perfection is not required for real communication and great relationships.
Today I passed by an office building proudly labeled “Kite’s End”. How odd and quirky to name a building, but it fired my imagination. At first I thought of Charlie Brown and his endless failure with his kite. In his case it was a particular tree that inevitably was his kite’s end.
Then my son informed me that there’s a bird called “kite” and he guessed that Kite’s End referred to a hidden refuge for kites. How cool to learn things from your kids?
Anyway, I love the way this building is surrounded by trees and even in its name inviting birds to share its space.
ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam shehecheyanu v’kiyimanu v’higyanu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
It’s spring! And right on time, the first buds are appearing on the trees. Even though it was an unusually mild winter, there’s still something wonderful about the official start of spring with the promise of new life and vibrant color.
The Shehecheyanu prayer acknowledges the newness with gratitude. And it’s not just for marking new seasons in the calendar year, it’s said at each new or rare experience, at the beginning of annual holidays, and to celebrate special occasions.
I love that it marks the moment of transition with gratitude for making it this far and for the opportunity to step forward into something new. And because I have been kept not only alive, but fully sustained and enabled, there’s the implication that I’m ready.
It’s amazing that even in the city with all the traffic sounds, it’s easy to hear the birds singing. It’s a joyous sound of nature going about its business. The birds are calling to each other, not to me. Yet even though I’m just an observer, I can enjoy it anyway. It’s beautiful.
If I don’t listen carefully, though, I can miss it. Like so many vital things, bird song isn’t loud and it won’t demand my attention. But if I heed its quiet call, it’s richly rewarding.
Balloons are another object that just equal fun. Who doesn’t like a balloon? They float and move so easily, they’re generally brightly colored, and they often carry celebratory messages . What I find particularly interesting is that balloons only remain part of the celebration while they’re tethered. They can bounce and sway, but when set entirely free, they’re pretty for a moment, but miss the rest of the party.
I think people are like that too. There’s joy and vitality in freedom, but it’s equally important to be connected. With the right mix, we can enjoy every part of the celebration.
“A foolish Consistency is the hobgoblins of little minds….”
——– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance“, 1841
I started the year determined to find joy and blog about it every day. Then I missed a day here or then, then this past week I just didn’t get to it at all. Had I fallen into a rut where even joy could be gloomy? Or is it just the reality of my life that I don’t readily fall into daily rhythms, that my strength is in the newness of each day and not in the routines from yesterday?
Sure, remaining true to yourself is a matter of values and big decisions. But it’s also a matter of practical daily activities, recognizing the rhythms, routines, relaxations, and balance that works best, and changing it up when whenever necessary.
And yes, this blog is continuing.
Ever think about the simple elegance of utensils? We have this awesome diversity of food, but it would be hard to enjoy it all without utensils. Sure finger food is great, but it would be very limiting if nobody had invented utensils. Whether it’s a fork or chopsticks, there’s awesome inventiveness supporting our dining experience.
I like the fact that there’s more than simple functionality in our utensils, too. There’s endless beauty and variety available. Shape, color, and decoration enable us to express ourselves even in these most functional of items.