It is interesting to me how complicated the Earth is and how you can know parts of something and still not know so much of it. I think I really began to pay close attention to the seasons and their effects on plants and animals about 6 or 7 years ago. I took note of which trees would drop leaves first, when leaves would fall and reemerge. What animals thrived in dry summers and falls and which ones made surprise appearances when there was more rain. I believe there are so many factors involved, we’ll never be able to completely predict something, but that’s not what is valuable to me about pealing back these layers anyway.
We had a weekend of storms and rain that lingered into the beginning of the week, and it wasn’t warm or sunny enough to completely get rid of all the water until about Thursday. Based on my observations over the past half decade, Fall should be a dry month with hardly any rain at all. When there are storms, they are quick and strong, but don’t drop a lot of precipitation. This week’s rain was different. Because of all this precipitation and the relative warm enough, but cool enough temperatures, these crazy mushrooms sprang up overnight in yards and fields all over town. Some of these mushrooms were nearly a foot tall, with all these levels of fungus. At their freshest, there’s something very pretty about this overnight architecture that will be gone as soon as it gets dry and sunny.
It’s crazy to me to think that the seeds of these little structures are there just below the grass, waiting for the right conditions. They will rise up, and be gone again in just a few days, waiting until the next day comes along that is just right. It’s there the whole time, though, right under our feet. And, I know from the mole hills and the ant holes that there is all this life just out of site that I hardly pay any attention to except for these small moments when we cross paths. Still, all these things and many others are doing work that affects the soil around my house along with the grass and trees in ways I don’t understand.
It seems cosmic forces are trying to tell me something–this week the topic of ocean shipping has come up in my life several times. I listened to an hour long podcast about ships, where a radio producer did a story where she rode on cargo ships all the way around the world. Plus the Cinema International movie at Murray State this week was a documentary about shipping containers and the global economy called The Forgotten Space. If you know me at all, you know I’m a nut for travel and don’t mind uncomfortable travel if it’s the right adventure. As I heard these stories about ships on the ocean carrying hundreds of these steel boxes, I began to think about how much a part of our world the oceans and ships are, but we don’t really think about them.
I played the game of wondering if in another life I could handle something like that. If I hadn’t met Allyson and hadn’t ended up at camp, if there was nothing for me here, could I make it at sea? Could I spend years out there on a giant steel ship, checked gauges, hosing off the deck, seeing nothing but blue for weeks at a time? Would it be worth it for the few days I’d get in the exotic places all over the world? Would I adjust to the sea-sickness I’d inevitably have. What other worlds would I discover? What would I think about home when I came back? What would be home?
I signed up for a free webinar with an NPR podcast celebrity Alex Blumberg, who was teaching a two day lesson on creative live audio storytelling, which is something I’m really wanting to experiment with. I’ve begun writing little stories that I will record and produce with sound. It is so cool that we’re in a time where I can watch this guy who I hear tell stories every week, telling me how I can also tell stories. I got to watch him diagram his scripts for stories I remember listening to and loving. He played different music choices for certain stories and talked about why he chose what he chose. While I was listening to him, I began to dream a little bigger. I could see my stories taking greater shape.
I’ve been wanting to record my mom and dad talking about their lives as a sort of gift to the family and a record I can keep and pass along for generations down the road to know where they came from. I’ve become so interested in knowing their stories before me, what they thought about big events, what were the big events for them, the untold stories I haven’t heard. Considering this, I think more and more about the people in my life, realizing there are so many layers that have been added that make them who they are. There are things that just sit inside us that we don’t talk about, but that make us into the person everyone knows.
I want to hear these stories. I want to go to the secret places that are there under my nose that I have not seen. I want to come back from them with a new story to tell everyone, so they will also know that there is more going on than we take time to look at on most days. Something far more exciting than some of the mundane things we chain ourselves to in life. I want to jump on that ship and sail around the world. There will be so much cargo to unload. And, we hardly even realize it’s there.