Tell Me Your Story

Teresa fills in this week while I’m on sabbatical, but I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, consider this…

Have you ever played the favorite storytelling game “Remember When?” Seems I’ve played it for generations. Playing the game with grandmother, I learned about turn-of-the-nineteenth-century life and changes the twentieth brought to the world. I queried her about everything, and she answered in stories told against the background of those times.

I’ve played the game with our children and now our grandchildren. The age before technology fascinates younger folks, who cannot imagine life before cell phones, social media, and computers. Technology fills me with a sense of wonder when instantly reaching family across the globe. I thrill to see the cosmic wonders of our universe from NASA satellites. I appreciate the advancements of science and technology as well as the world of simple pleasures.

I was born when television, was a “new” invention. I was five before we had one. I remember a small black and white screen in a huge box, the size of a chest-of drawers, with only three channels and an hour of cartoons on Saturday morning. I’m equally amazed by the great archaeological discoveries, and relics of our ancient past.

The grocery store sold story books, a weekly wonder, and mother bought one for each of us every week. Sharing our books and recounting our latest story to each other fired our imaginations. As we grew older, for those of us not sandlot inclined, libraries became the go-to meeting places. It was books and never-ending pages, with stories about everything. Reading gave us a sense of human experience, opened unknown worlds far larger than ourselves to explore.

I love feeling the sense of new beginnings, with changes that herald the arrival of a new season. I delight seeing colorful crocus blooms push through the snow, and the birds scurrying to build nests. I long to run through fragrant fields of sun-drenched wildflowers swaying in warm summer breezes, and to watch red squirrels foraging in golden fall leaves that rustle in crisp autumn air. Tree rings reveal the story of the tree. Ponds and lakes tell their story too. Every bird, bug and flower have a story. All of nature is an open book, waiting for us to explore.

Next time you look out of the window, ask about what you see. Ask why the mountains rose and the rain falls. What makes the clouds change? Why does the corn grow tall?

A pause in our hectic lives, gives us a rare opportunity to reach back to a simpler time of wonder and enjoy the open book of creation. Let yourself ask “Why…? What is…?” and “How come…?” of the natural world. Ask the older generation (or someone different than you) about the life they’ve lived. They’re open books, firsthand witnesses to history, with a uniquely personal perspective. The simple art of conversation is free, and enlightening. Exploring the past helps us more fully engage the present. Life comes in cycles, like the seasons of the year. Simplicity and wonder, with a dash of curiosity, makes even the most challenging times richly rewarding.

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