Second Rite of Passage: place, space, and grace

Ginny rite of passage 226

The variety of abilities in a group of women can be astonishing. Gather up a group yourself and ask the question, what ten things can you teach me, from juggling to car repair and everything in between? Trust me, astonished, you will be.

Speaking of which . . . our next offering was from the teacher in our little group. We gathered once again around the fireplace. She offered up a quick writing exercise to warm us all up and then we began.

“I like to do this with my high school students. It gives us a way to understand where we come from. If everyone can do a first draft and then rewrite it to keep or to give it to Ginny  . . .”

A pause. We think. We write. We tell our stories. We are given a prompt that includes asking for a detail about where we come from, something that matters to us, and who we are. This is what we came up with:

“I am from every country in Europe through scratch farms in Oklahoma, one women general stores in Montana to California for the promised dream.”

“I am from pepper trees, flaming bouganvilla, and eucalyptus that peels off in three different colors.”

“I am from wallpapered halls, big wheels, basements with pipes you can swing from, and long days at the Little League field.”

“From a carousel of seasons, absorbed one minute in hot, sticky thunderstorms and the next in the frigid arms of sleet- the cruel child of a marriage between  snow and ice.” . . .

“I know that crystal clear nights matter as do the warm summer evenings . . . “

“I know that I am under the trees, performing rituals for the birds and playing a flute in a long white swing, hearing a voice in the wind.”

I think we done good. Don’t you?

What would you write?

Ginny rite of passage 141

Advertisements

Second Rite of Passage: sizzles and twists

Ginny rite of passage 169

That Saturday, so much juiciness was packed into that luscious recipe of a day, that we could barely hold more, but we did!

Behind the kitchen counter.  Maril held brown gift bags adorned with flames of purple and pink tissue paper flaring out. “Your mom asked me to give you the gifts of the stomach,” she said. Then out came a set of measuring cups and spoons. A cookbook with pockets.

“I’m going to teach you to make a meal that you can serve to all your friends!” And there it was: community in six courses. Rosemary lemon roasted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, mushroom gravy, sautéed yellow squash, and apple pie.

Ginny rite of passage 196

For an hour or so in the kitchen. Ginny was trailing her at every turn for worthwhile instruction in the arts of steam and butter. “Squeeze two lemons over the chickens, then stuff one of them inside, and leave one in the pan. Sprinkle rosemary, salt and pepper over them. Put them in the oven.”

Time ticks on quickly, then resounds a ring. “Ginny, present the meal!” The feast is laid. One more beginning cook starting out on her culinary journey.

The table is set around a collection of beautiful hand-collaged plaques. Wine, anyone? Not for you, Ginny . . . yet!

Ginny rite of passage 016

Second Rite of Passage: This One’s for the Girls!

IMG_0217

Now, you can’t leave a kid with only tunes from troubled teen-hood, can you? You’ve got to bring her up to date with your current “poems, prayers, and promises” (well, in a manner of speaking).

The next activity up for sharing was “a desired anthem”- the song we wish we could have heard in our late teens. As we shared our picks, we realized we were not only singing them to Ginny, but also to ourselves. It was salve to the heart . . . . Here’s a few tidbits from a few songs. Imagine getting to hear these lyrics sung to you as a young woman:

“Her face is a map of the world, is a map of the world. And you can see she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl. And everything around her is a silver pool of light. The people who surround her feel the benefit of it. It makes you calm. She holds you captivated in her palm. Suddenly I see, this is what I want to be . . .” from Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall.

“In the easy silence that you make for me, it’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me, and the peaceful quiet you create for me, and the way you keep the world at bay for me . . . the way you keep the world at bay . . .” from Easy Silence by the Dixie Chicks.

“So sit down and write that letter, sign up and join the fight, sink in to all that matters, step out into the light . . . so many years from now long after we are gone these trees will spread their branches out and bless the dawn . . .” from Planting Trees by Andrew Peterson.

“Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are, and I want to add to the beauty to tell a better story; I want to shine with the light that’s burning up inside . . .” from Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves.

“This one’s for the girls who’ve ever had a broken heart who’ve wished upon a shooting star; you’re beautiful the way you are; this one’s for the girls who love without holding back, who dream with everything they have all around the world; this one’s for the girls,

yeah, this one’s for the girls . . .” from This One’s for the Girls by Martina McBride.

You get the picture . . . . what song would you have wanted to hear at age 18?

Second Rite of Passage: face the music!

Ginny rite of passage 053

Of course, we needed to share our musical wisdom with my daughter at this second rite of passage event! So much to glean from The Cure, The Bangles, or Sting! I introduced this portion of the evening, bellies still interiorly stuck with pot pie, mashed potatoes and love:

“We’ve all picked songs that meant something to us when we were in the transition time between high school and college. When it’s your turn to share your song, describe why you chose it, the circumstances behind it, or what it meant to you without revealing the title or the artist.”

The women played their music and shared truly, madly, deeply:

” . . . was an early morning yesterday, I was up before the dawn . . .”

“I played this song over and over when I made the trip from Florida to South Carolina and back again. It represents freedom. It was a time in my life when I could feel the wind in my hair and was ready for a new adventure. I still love it. I just played it again on a trip just a few weeks ago.”

Bah, 2-3-4 bah, 2-3-4 bah, bump-bump-a! Bah . . . .

Elton John. “I’m Still Standing.” My song. “When I graduated high school, my boyfriend and I broke up. This song helped me bridge through the sorrow. It strengthened me through it.”

“I know this song sounds so trite. . .I was a cheerleader at my high school and it was a time in my life, in our lives, when we were trying to figure it all out:”

“I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment’s gone . . . dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind.”

“We had this whole album memorized.” John Denver’s Poems, Prayers, and Promises begins to play. “This song especially speaks to the things to me that life is all about. It reminded me of home.” The quiet folk guitar picking peters out.

“Now, going from one extreme to the next . . . as class president four years in a row, I had to invoke school spirit, so we had a routine to this song.”

Love Shack.

“Show us!”

“Do you see a little shack on the side of the road . . .?”

Yes, the whole shack shimmied. The whole shack shimmied.

And then, a rough-hewn voice and a twangy guitar:

“I never wanted to be better than my friends I just wanted to prove wrong the people in my head.” Ginny’s turn. “I chose this song because, for one thing, I can’t choose another that I wish I could have heard at 18, because I am 18, so this is the song I’m choosing now, at this time in my life.” “So I rode my bike like lightning and I made cappuccinos that would make the angels sing, took two showers a day and I dressed up like a princess, shook my fist in my own face and said I’ll show you who’s the best!”

Again, an opportunity to share, and to be shared with. Ginny glistened with awe and wonder (and a barely noticeable wry smile) as she watched us confess our teenage hearts . . . “lookin’ like a true survivor, feelin’ like a little kid . . .”

Ginny rite of passage 044