“My thoughts are an ocean, they wash woefully up against their limits.” ~ Nescio, Amsterdam Stories

Hot Air Balloon Sunset by alwyncooper (FCC)

                   

“The earth splits open under our feet, and above our heads there is an infinite abyss. I no longer know who we are, nor what awaits us.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, from The Mandarins

Wednesday evening. Overcast, pending storms, dropping temperatures.

Well, I finally got the invitations printed and mailed. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Setting up the invitations was easy as they came with an online template; however, there was no template for the envelope, so that was a bit of trial and error. Still, no worries . . . right?

Wrong.

Hot Air Balloon, Utah, by ricketyus (FCC)

Print cartridges arrived on Friday evening. Test envelopes printed just fine. Real envelopes, not so much. Paper jam. And with this printer a paper jam can only be cleared by unplugging, deleting the printer, reinstalling . . . Who knew? Certainly not me? I never dreamt that there wasn’t a reset button on the printer. This was Saturday.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, my day of planned reading and resting? Decided to try again. More begging and pleading of the inanimate object that was ruling my life. Finally decided to print addresses on clear mailing labels and skip trying to send the envelopes through the printer, especially as I had no extras.

On Monday everything looked like a go. Print properties set up correctly. Just a matter of feeding the invitations into the printer. Then the printer decided to stop accepting the invitation stock. This after it had printed about eight of them. Then no more. Not. Another. One. Reset, reboot, begging and pleading, all to no avail. I walked away. Played a little Spider Solitaire. Then got a brainstorm: Why not use the extra printer that Brett’s dad had given him. Got ready to go, only to discover that a) could not download drivers, and b) it’s a photo printer.

Finally I decided to use the copy function to get the text onto the invitations, which didn’t need any drivers. Luckily I had a good template from my test runs. Situated it on the scanner bed, and ran color copies. Unfortunately, as I was home by myself I had to get on my hands and knees to unplug old dysfunctional printer to plug in new/used photo printer. Nothing should be this hard.

“nothing can be taken back,
not the leaves by the trees, the rain
by the clouds.” ~ Dean Young, from “Poem Without Forgiveness”

Hot Air Balloon, Latvia, by Dainis Matisons (FCC)

Took those suckers to the post office yesterday and sent them off. I never even made it out of my pajamas yesterday. Good thing I didn’t get stopped on the way to the post office, but at that point, I did not care. I just wanted the invitations out of my house, out of my sight. (By the way, the poets stamps that I had wanted to use? No one has them. Apparently, they did not sell well in this area. Phht. Talk about your unwashed masses.)

So today Brett and I helped Alexis to transport the gifts that she received from her first shower to my mother’s house as Alexis has no storage space. I threw on some shorts and a workout top, put my hair in a ponytail, didn’t take a shower as I knew that I would be grungy by the time we finished. The first thing my mother says when I get out of the car? “What in the world is she wearing? What in the world is that?” (My mom’s a what-in-the-world person. Uses it as her standby modifier)

Sorry. Didn’t know that I needed real clothes to move stuff. Next time I’ll remember . . .

And you wonder why I have such a crappy self-image . Again with the phht.

“I hadn’t gotten old enough yet to realize that living sends a person not into the future but back into the past, to childhood and before birth, finally, to commune with the dead. You get older . . . and then before you know it you’re time-traveling. In this life we grow backwards.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

The stress from four days of trying to execute a project that should have taken a couple of hours at the most has taken its toll. The night before last I didn’t get to sleep until 4 a.m., and last night was 2 a.m., which means backsliding on my goal of 1 a.m. at the latest. Oh well. Couldn’t be helped. We won’t discuss the massive muscle knot between my shoulder blades. What’s the point?

16th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta by ricky_artigas (FCC)

So I brought home the newborn and three-month sizes of clothes to wash for Alexis. She really got some cute clothes, and probably enough so that le bébé can wear a different outfit each day for the next six months. I remember with Alexis that I didn’t buy her any clothes for the first year. I never had to, between my mom and my m-in-law, she was outfitted quite well. In fact, the woman who watched her while I was at work asked me if I could please not dress Alexis in such nice clothes when I brought her for the day. I had to explain that all she had were nice clothes.

Of course my mom had to comment that Alexis got entirely too many clothes for the baby, and that it was “ridiculous.” It’s not like the clothes are going to waste, and I’m certain that they’ll be recycled along the way among all of the friends that she has.

It was funny though, while we were at my mom’s house, Alexis said under her breath, “Boy, she doesn’t even give you room to breathe, does she?” Which is so true. I knew that mom would have to pick up each item of clothing and comment on it, so we went over there with a schedule—I couldn’t stay for hours and hours because I needed to take Brett to school. Still, I know that in spite of her running commentary that my mom is just excited. Don’t think that I don’t understand, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bitch about it any more than my mother wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t have several negative things to say.

Family dynamics . . . oi.

“The medicine of words—medicina verbi. ~ Anna Kamienska, from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”

Hot Air Balloon, Wyoming, by carolynconner (FCC)

Since I first began this post, two storms have rolled through, which has really helped the humidity. I feel as though I spend half of my day wiping my face—things you don’t realize about getting older. I mean, I never used to sweat. Just didn’t do it. Never had to worry about my makeup running (when I wore it on a regular basis), never really worried about wet underarms (well, that still is true).

But this constant facial sweat? What is this? Where did it come from? I wonder if this happens to all Filipina women as they get older. These days I’m not around any so that I can ask.

But all of these things you really don’t think about when you’re in your twenties or even thirties: inconvenient sweating, putting on moisturizer only to have it run in your eyes, being unable to find your glasses without your glasses (actually, that’s always been true for very nearsighted me). This aging crap is, well, crap. I don’t want to be the person that I was along with all of the incumbent short-sightedness (not vision), but then again, I’m not entirely certain that I want to be this person either.

“It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.” ~ Billy Collins, from “Litany”

So all is quiet. Eamonn is at his girlfriend’s house. Brett is at school until 9 p.m. (summer school started this week). The dogs are asleep. The laundry is going.

Hot Air Balloons, Arizona, by D Guisinger (FCC)

I cannot believe that it’s midweek already. The past few days have really run together because of the invitation fiasco. I hate it when that happens, when I just lose days. I mean, I have a hard enough time keeping my tenuous grip on reality without brutal reality rearing its ugly head.

I’ll tell you what, though. I’m finding comfort in the following: Milkshakes are half price at Sonic after 8 p.m.

Yep. I’m going there, figuratively and literally. After all of this crap, and especially after my mother’s assessment of my wardrobe, I’m going to have a milkshake. I figure if that’s my dinner, then it’s a fair calorie exchange. No, it’s not healthy. No, it goes against my whole no sugar regimen. But I’m not telling anyone, and neither are you.

More later. Peace.

Music by Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”

                   

Tag (part one)

THIS

Insatiable April, trees in place,
in their scraped-out place,
their standing.
Standing way.
Their red branch areas,
green shoot areas (shock),
river, that one.
I surprised a goose and she hissed.
I walk and walk with cold hands.
Back at the house it is filled with longing,
nothing to carry longing away.
I look back over my life.
I try to find analogies.
There are none.
I have longed for people before, I have loved people before.
Not like this.
It was not this.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

~ Anne Carson

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” ~ Carl Jung

                   

“The universe is like a dome; it vibrates to that which you say in it, and answers the same back to you; so also is the law of action; we reap what we sow.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and mild, mid 60’s. Absolutely beautiful outside.

Well, yesterday I sat down to post, but then I got distracted by a phone call from my mother, and as a result, I was never able to regain my concentration long enough to post. My mother has that effect on me: She is able to completely disconcert me with just a conversation. What happens, actually, is that she starts to use that unassailable logic that is hers alone, and I usually lose my temper, and everything just degenerates.

Yesterday was so bad that I actually considered banging my head on my desk while she was talking to see if I could make my head feel better . . .

I know that I should be more patient with her, and I realize that age is taking its toll. She forgets more than she remembers, and I suppose if I were a good daughter, I would take all of this in stride, but I just can’t. I really can’t. The things that she says just blow my mind as they are so bizarre. For example, because she has decided that she will have no pets once her cat and dog die, then that means that I cannot have any more pets. When I tell her that I will always have at least one dog, she says things like, “Well, that just doesn’t make any sense,” and then I feel like an idiot for trying to justify something that really needs no justification.

This dance between mothers and daughters—does it ever end?

“What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner  solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours—that is  what you must be able to attain.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet

For the last two nights, I’ve gone up to the prescribed dosage on my Seroquel. I had hesitated to do this because taking 75 mg in the past left me feeling so tired the next day, but I couldn’t take this not sleeping, and obviously the 50 mg wasn’t doing it for me. Each night, I’ve gone to sleep one hour earlier than the night before, which is progress. Last night, I actually fell asleep at 2 a.m., only to be awakened by Alfie who wanted to go out.

I swear that I think the dogs wait for my breathing patterns to change, and then make noise to wake me up . . . Breathing evenly? Yep? Okay, it’s time! And then they take turns waking me as going out together in the wee hours of the morning must be too taxing or something. I love my dogs, but by 5 a.m. I was having irate conversations with them.

Then I had to get up to drive Corey to work at 7. He’s working a 13 hour shift today, and boy was he surly. He’s so put out that he has to go back on the security schedule as there is no definite away date yet. I understand as he had already reconciled his mindset to being finished with that job. Going back on shifts must seem like a giant step backwards, even though it’s only a delay.

Anyway, I took him to work, came back home and slept for a few hours, took Eamonn to work, came home and slept for a few hours, and then took Brett to school and came home and slept for a few hours. Not ideal, but I did sleep, only to be awakened this afternoon by . . . you got it, a telephone call from my mother.

Geez. It just makes me want to go somewhere where there are no phones. I know. That’s selfish. Blame it on the sleep deprivation.

“Certain words now in our knowledge we will not use again, and we will never forget them. We need them. Like the back of the picture. Like our marrow, and the color in our veins. We shine the lantern of our sleep on them, to make sure, and there they are, trembling already for the day of witness. They will be buried with us, and rise with the rest.” ~ W.S. Merwin from Houses and Travellers

So yesterday, I had my telephone interview with my long-term disability provider. They are refiling my Social Security claim. The interesting thing is that since I was denied, my new date of disability becomes the date of my previous denial. Such a crock.

So we went over my medications, the doctors that I’m seeing, my conditions. Nothing new, really. Now they’ll file a claim, and then we do a lot of waiting only to be denied on the first round. Then we appeal again, and I get assigned a hearing date. I’m looking at about 12 months minimum to go through this process once again. Denial in the first phase is almost automatic. It’s as if this bureaucracy deliberately creates more work for itself and everyone else.

Let’s see, she has headaches everyday, debilitating migraines that she sees a neurologist for, chronic back pain, this, that, and the other . . . Denied.

I really don’t know how some people manage to go through the whole process and come out with benefits. I know of a couple of people who have actually been approved, and quite frankly, I am more disabled than they are. It’s not a bragging contest. Just a fact. But as with my mother, I am looking for inherent logic, and the fact is that there is none. There is nothing logical or efficient about the Social Security Administration.

This morning on the way to school Brett and I touched on a few political topics, and he told me that quite frankly, he doesn’t want to get distracted by political activism at the moment because he needs to concentrate on school. I understand, I really do. To give in to the desire to fight the system takes a lot of time and energy, and I just cannot go around mad at the things that Rick Santorum says 24 hours a day, or it would only add to my pain—physical, emotional, psychological. As it is, I’m sitting on a heating pad as I type this.

“I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions—not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know.” ~ Carl Jung, near the end of his life, in Memories, Dreams

Yes, two Jung quotes in the same post. Unusual for me, but they both seemed to fit, and I couldn’t choose one over the other.

I’ve never really studied Jung as I came of age at a time when Freud still held sway, all of that oral, anal fixation stuff. Oedipal and Electra complexes. Id, ego, and superego. My first psychology teacher was a kook. She would mention oral fixations and then make sucking motions with her mouth like she was sucking on a pacifier. Strange the things you remember. But I find now that I really appreciate Jung more, especially after I learned what a misogynist Freud was.

By the way, just as an aside, orange slices (the candy) and Pepsi really do not go well together. Just found that out.

So, where am I? Corey is unsettled. Politics is the same old bullshit. I’m getting ready to take on another battle with the SSA. I still need to do taxes and the FAFSA forms for Brett and Corey. My computer is still dead. My dogs both delight and aggravate me. My mother . . . well, nothing new there either.

As for myself: I really cannot “add up the sum,” as the quote says. I have ideas constantly about plots for stories, literally, all the time. I wonder if I get my hands on an IBM Selectric what excuse I’ll use after that. I could do this, you know? I really could, but I am so caught up in defining my worth, in trying to define my convictions that I never seem to stop long enough to get anything done.

So what kind of person am I? I was born, and now, I exist, simply exist. Still waiting to start living.

More later. Peace.

                   

Today’s post features real ads for medicines/curatives that contained cocaine, amphetamines, and other interesting ingredients (such as heroin, cannabis, and morphine). Here is my favorite: Mabel is Unstable . . . so let’s tranquilize her with butabarbital . . .

                   

Music by Charlie Winston, “She Went Quietly”

                    

Meditation at Lagunitas

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you
and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
Robert Hass, from Praise

“And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.” ~ Hermann Hesse

F. Scott Fitzgerald Handwritten Passage of The Great Gatsby

“The dream is too often about myself. To correct this; and to forget one’s own sharp absurd little personality, reputation and the rest of it, one should read; see outsiders; think more; write more logically; above all be full of work; and practise anonymity. Silence in company . . .” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 22 December 1927

Original Manuscript of Einstein's General Relativity

Well, it’s been a hell of a week. Nothing really specific. No, wait. That’s not true. Alexis. There was Alexis.

In July, we have two family birthdays here: Alexis on the 7th, and Brett on the 10th. So Alexis’s birthday was Thursday. Coincidentally, I also needed a ride to a doctor’s appointment because Corey had to work second shift. I texted Alexis on Wednesday evening to see if she could give me a ride. She got back to me a few hours later and said that she could.

She showed up with only 12 minutes to spare before my appointment time. I was already antsy by the time she arrived because I really wasn’t certain that she would show, which would have meant a $50 no-show appointment fee that I really cannot afford. On the way to the doctor, I tried to broach the subject of our relationship, or lack thereof. She wasn’t having it. I backed off as it was the only option available to me, but I have to admit that it left me stinging. Consequently, my appointment with my therapist was a crying appointment.

Dr. K. said that obviously Alexis is in a deep hole and that there really isn’t anything that I can do about it. She suggested that I propose to Alexis that we try to meet regularly for coffee or something, and I would agree that we didn’t have to talk of anything of consequence.

After the appointment when I got back in the car, that’s exactly what I proposed. Alexis wasn’t too interested in doing that either. I let it go, just let it go. I have to admit that this letting go stuff is getting easier, and I wonder if it’s a factor of age, experience, self-preservation, or perhaps, a little of all three.

“We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seeded refusal of that which others have made of us.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

W. B. Yeats, "Wild Swans at Coole" Manuscript

Other annoyances this week include a new pain in both of my hands (no idea what’s going on there), ongoing computer problems (lots of freezing, which makes writing agonizingly slow), a house that really needs to be cleaned, and personal administrative stuff, like getting health claims refiled that were originally denied because of my continual problems with health insurance.

I love dealing with billing offices . . .

Also on the table for this week were extended errands of the bureaucratic kind: social security administration, banking, other stuff. I am doing these things with/for the young woman who has come under our care.

What absolutely stymies the imagination is that I have been told that this young woman used to be unable to make eye contact, never spoke above a mumble, and was completely incapable of taking care of herself.

To the contrary, the young woman who I see laughs easily and frequently, loves to engage in thoughtful conversation, and is eager to do things for herself. Would I be too clichéd in comparing her to a moth in a cocoon who is finally emerging? Left to her own devices and desires, she is in the process of becoming.

As to my role in this, it is minimal. I am merely standing back and watching her grow. That I am being allowed to participate even passively is an affirming experience.

“All things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of an Ariadne’s thread leading thought into its own labyrinth.” ~ George Bataille

T. S. Eliot's Book Signing to Virginia Woolf

So with all of the different things going on in my life right now, I have been thinking about Ariadne’s Thread (quick mythology summary): You may recall that Daedalus (wing-man) built a labyrinth to house the Minotaur (bull-man). According to a summary on the Georgetown University site, “Theseus, an Athenian, volunteered to accompany one of these groups of victims to deliver his country from the tribute to Minos. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and gave him a thread which he let unwind through the Labyrinth so that he was able to kill the Minotaur and find his way back out again.”

On the web, The Labyrinth project allows users to make an Ariadne’s thread through the maze of information available on the Internet. Users can find their way back by choosing the “Return to Labyrinth Home Page” link at the end of each Labyrinth document.

In logic, Ariadne’s Thread is not, as many believe, trial and error because trial and error implies attempts to find the one true solution. Rather Ariadne’s Thread works more like a flow chart with decision points: if a choice needs to be made, make one arbitrarily from those not marked as failures, and follow it logically as far as possible. If a contradiction results, back up to the last decision made, mark it as a failure, and try another decision at the same point. Repeat until a solution can be found or no solution can be found, which means that no solution exists. Conversely, multiple solutions may be sought by returning to successful decision points and attempting other solutions.

The main things to remember in an Ariadne’s Thread are that records must be kept and more than one solution can be sought and found. So what does this mean in the real world?

“In the cold, damp shelter of our primitive ancestors, lit only by the flickering of a campfire, at day’s end there was a time for recollection and stillness that would help to fuel the next day’s events. Since the beginning of human history, the still point has served as the birthplace of all our activity. Virtually every creature on this great earth practices the backward step of quieting down and entering this still point. Birds, beasts, bugs, and fish all seem to find time in their daily existence to relax and recreate—to bring forth the flower from what Whitman called “the seed of perfection.” ~ John Daido Loori, Editor’s Preface: The Art of Just Sitting

Letter from Vincent van Gogh to His Brother Theo

I have often alluded to my life as a tapestry, one in which different events and different people have contributed various threads to a pattern that has yet to take a final shape. In the tapestry metaphor, it’s all about collecting and assimilating.

In an Ariadne’s Thread approach to life, it’s more about trying and succeeding and trying and failing to reach a goal, and sometimes, even with the perceived failures, a solution is found. By that I mean that sometimes people arrive at ends for which they were not originally aiming, almost as if fate guided them to that point; when in fact, the decisions made took them to that point.

Does fate play a hand?

That’s the big question. In pure logic, the answer is definitely no. But as we all know, life does not work in terms of pure logic, no matter how much we try to make it so.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that we all arrive at certain points in our lives and wonder how we got here. If we were to deliberately trace things back to a certain starting point, I’m sure that the path that we would draw would not resemble anything we expected.  We are constantly reaching decision points in our lives: if yes, go here; if no, go here. But it’s never spelled out, and there are no directional markers.

I could no more trace back my own Ariadne’s Thread than I could unweave and then reweave my life’s tapestry. So many of my decisions have come from my gut, have taken me places I never dreamed of traveling, and when faced with critical life decision points, I have sometimes veered right or left when straight seemed the most logical path to take. But then, emotions are rarely logical.

I do sometimes contemplate how exactly I got to this point, and in so doing, I sometimes discern definite markers that led me. At other times, it’s too convoluted to discern, like a labyrinth. But the things about labyrinths, as I’ve mentioned before, is that there are two ways in and two ways out, which means that there are always possibilities.

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Philosopher

John Keats, First Page of "Lamia" Manuscript

In a larger sense, Ariadne’s Thread could be a logical approach to life in general, as in we should learn from our mistakes (the we being civilizations, governments, countries). But of course, we don’t.

What’s that maxim about those forgetting the past being doomed to repeat it? Well, we keep repeating our mistakes. That Cicero said this over two thousand years ago is telling indeed. Did not our own country’s fall into a great recession occur primarily because of greed, an unflinching belief in getting mine regardless of the fate of others? Is not the current force of the right greatly due to its determination to compel others to believe and live by their ethic?

Even at the most basic levels we are proving Cicero’s assertions to be true: Consider the elimination of cursive writing from many school curricula in favor of keyboarding. Yes, keyboarding skills are essential in any workplace today; however, should we not take a little time to teach our children the basics in communication: putting pen to paper?

I know that when I see script from a bygone era, it makes me heartsick that we do not write in this manner. I remember the beautiful script that even my parents used, the great care they took when signing their names. My sons have no identifiable signature. The letters are merely joined together.

I know. I know. Don’t talk to me about how pressed for time teachers in America already are without adding an additional burden. I’ve been there, and the fact is that teachers today must teach for tests. The whole idea of a classical education is passé. But I remember those sheets of paper with the two solid lines and the dotted lines in between in which my classmates and I practiced assiduously our capital F’s and our lower case z’s. Every perfect curve, every correctly executed loop—milestones for each of us. And then as we got older, we tailored our penmanship to our personalities. But first, we learned how to do it correctly.

I bemoan the death of education and the dearth of desire for betterment, and in this, I know that I am not alone.

More later. Peace.

Music by Grizzly Bear, “Slow Life”

                   

Sylt II

The wind that makes your hair grow faster
opens a child’s mouth full of strawberry and sand.
Slow and sure
on the scales of the ocean
the child’s head outweighs the sun.

Inside of the wind—

a blister of a church,
its walls thicker than the space from wall to wall
where the wind shifts shade and light
like two rival chess pieces
or two unmatched pieces of furniture.
Inside of the church—such a stillness
that when a feather floats down in a fist of dust
it becomes a rock by the time it hits the ground.

Organ pipes glint like a cold radiator,
contained in a case of a carved tree, its branches
tied up with a snake.
Organ pedals, golden and plump, are the tree’s only fruit.

It is all about the release of weight:
the player crushes the pedals like grapes underneath his feet.
My body, like an inaccurate cashier, adds your weight to itself.
Your name, called into the wind,
slows the wind down.

When a body is ripe, it falls and rots from the softest spot.

Only when a child slips and drops off a tree,
the tree suddenly learns that it is barren

~ Valzhyna Mort