August 22, 2010

The Power of Words

Let's talk words. Nothing is as powerful as the written or spoken word. Sure, you can end a physical life with the cut of a knife, but think of the devastation or the ecstasy the wrong or right word can bring. An innocent e-mail with a flippant remark, read the wrong way makes the recipient wonder about the sender's true intent. A well placed spoken jab can destroy an entire relationship beyond repair in a matter of seconds.

No matter the language, words have the ability to change lives, for the better or worse in an instant. How often have you said something and immediately wished you could take it back? How often have you said something and immediately been glad you did? A moment of intense feeling where the words, “I love you,” are uttered without thinking can move a relationship in a new direction, good and bad. A moment of intense feeling where the words, “I hate you,” are shouted without thinking can annihilate a relationship. That's all it takes. Three small words; so much power.

Then there are the words that sometimes take too long to come forth; the long overdue apologies or inquiries about a tough situation in someone's life. Why do we wait so long? Why are the healing words often harder to utter or write than the ones that bite? We dance around the subject and avoid the person completely, until we are to the point where the words must be said or written if there is any hope of the connection with the person surviving. Leave the words unstated, and watch the relationship unravel. Yes, words keep us connected with one another; whether spoken or written, they bind us. Even when not vocalizing their emotions, people are often described as “speaking” with their eyes or “saying volumes” with a look. Words are important.

In today's world we gravitate towards Facebook, Twitter, and texting. Shorthand forms of communicating, but all created to convey our feelings, actions, adventures, and life in words for the world to see, helping us connect to others over distance and years. Even when adding photos to our online pages, we often add captions, and wait to see if someone will respond with a comment. More words; just usually short and misspelled words.

Gone, for the most part, are the days when people would correspond; sending long missives to one another describing in detail the events of their life or the things on their mind. Now we're lucky if we see something in a mass posting on Facebook updating us on the latest happening. Is it just me who misses getting handwritten letters or cards that have more than just the person's signature inside? And as for e-mails, I like epic tomes from the right person, even if it's only about how they slept too long, cooked eggs for breakfast, cleaned house all day, and decided to go to a movie. I now have a written record of this person's life, their thoughts, how they were feeling on a given day, and know that they thought enough about me personally to sit down and write more than just a few quick lines in a 140 character Twitter blast to the world.  

Yes, words are powerful. They connect us, destroy us, help us feel loved, move us to tears, and can make us laugh out loud. No wonder I continue to have an ongoing love affair with words. They are what help us move beyond ourselves to include others in our lives. So how are you using your words today and with whom are you sharing them?

August 14, 2010

Going Solo at the Farmers Market

Tonight I stopped in to visit some friends, and it was brought to my attention that it's been two weeks since I last updated my blog. You have my apologies. I was temporarily sidetracked, but rest assured, it won't happen again. You, my dear readers, have my full blogging attention.

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook, you know I spent my morning at my local farmers market. These lovely sunflowers were my absolute favorite find. For weeks I had been looking forward to today's market because it was to be “The Pie Festival,” but in the days leading up to it, I haven't been feeling well (no worries, it's minor and I will live). Imagine how thrilled I was to wake up this morning feeling better than I had in days, and it was a bonus that the weather was near perfection. Looking out my bedroom window, I saw a gentle breeze stirring the leaves in the trees, so I slid the glass open and let the cool air flow over my face as I closed my eyes and savored the feeling of the warm sun. Yes, it was a good day to walk down to the market.

I've been there before with other people and have enjoyed myself immensely, but today was my first trip alone. It won't be the last. There really is something to be said for browsing through a farmers market solo. As I arrived they were beginning the first pie eating contest of the day. I would have stayed to watch the one man and several elderly women battle it out, but I was distracted by a display of lovely plants for only $5. Because I'm notorious for being the world's worst mother-figure ever to plants (they always die a slow, and I'm sure, painful death), I had an empty spot that needed to be filled outside my front door. Hmm, $5 seemed reasonable for a plant that would likely breathe its last within a month, if it was lucky. After quizzing the plant guy for what I'm sure seemed like an eternity to him, I settled on a hosta that I'm hoping will at least survive until winter. The plant guy was so optimistic about the plant's chances of survival, he pointed out there were actually two of them in the pot, and next spring I could move one to its own little pot, giving me two plant babies to try to maintain. Excellent!

My new found plant friends and I wandered along, soaking in the sights and smells, watching the people, and picking up the fresh fruits and vegetables to take in their amazing aromas. My next distraction was a booth that looked like a painting. Flowers. I adore flowers. If I could afford to fill my home and office with fresh flowers every day, I would. Note to any prospective suitors out there, flowers are one way to win my heart (just don't send me roses). I had seen this particular vendor before and knew exactly what I wanted (see the photo of my sunflowers), but they were missing. Disappointed, I decided to pick something else and began weighing my many options. Suddenly, I spotted them. There they were, in a lonely little bucket far behind the tables of flowers, near the vendor's travel trailer. My lovely sunflowers were waiting for me to find them. I'm sure the woman selling them must have thought I was a bit nutty because I was almost giddy when I asked if they were for sale and she confirmed they were. Fifty cents and two sunflowers later, I was once again meandering among the crowd, listening to the live band playing, and watching for my next conquest.

I stopped here and there, hearing stories from the vendors about their wares and telling them I was from Texas when they detected a slight accent and inquired about it (it tends to get stronger when I'm relaxed and engaging people in casual conversation). Then, I saw it; my final purchase destination. Tomorrow is a shared birthday for my mom and stepdad. I never know what to get him, but a pie is always a safe bet. Like a vision on the horizon, there it was, White Box Pies. After several minutes of debate, because choosing between huckleberry and apple is a major life decision, I made my purchase. It was only then that I realized I had only two hands to carry a plant, two sunflowers, a large pie, my keys, and a rather big purse. Because I'm determined and resourceful, I managed to make it home with all intact. Note to self: Next time take your little rolling cart to carry all your treasures.

If you've never been to a farmers market, you really must find one and go. You can't beat the fresh produce and local flavor. If you've been to one, but never alone, I highly recommend it. Going alone gives you time to truly browse the booths you're interested in, talk to vendors at leisure, and meet others shopping at the market. My little rolling cart and I will be making our way through my farmers market the next chance I get.