Sand and Stories


I bought ten tulips, pink and yellow, at the market. The lady who sold them to me wrapped them expertly in rustly cellophane, gathered everything together at the bottom with a rubber band, and I carried them home proudly. I love carrying flowers!

At home, I unwrapped them and trimmed several inches off the stems in order to arrange them in a glass jar. My work space got gritty. Sand. Ah! The tulips came from Holland. Reclaimed sea. Hence the sand. I’ve been there. The tulip boxes at the market were marked “Alsmeer.” I know where that is in Holland, have walked through the tulip fields, got the sand on my shoes. The sand on the kitchen counter was Dutch sand. How exotic is that?

I’m reading Michael O”Brien’s A Father’s Tale. I’m hardly past the first sixth of the tome, but already it is delicious and deep and aching though not nearly as hard a read as his Island of the World. Today I read of Alex’s journey to Oxford in search of his son who was studying there. It takes me back several years when I was visiting a friend and she took me around Oxford for a day, and I fell in love with the place. I had fish and chips in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child. Even while I ate, I couldn’t believe I was there.

There are probably a million things that that play into what shapes a person. I believe that part of this shaping is a combination of all the books we’ve read and the places we’ve been to. Having been at Alsmeer and the Bodleian Library shaped my perception and understanding of the things I encountered this week.

In addition to books and travels, we are also a product of our own choices. I had opportunities to travel, and I chose to take them. I have other opportunities every day. Choosing to say ‘yes’ to something means saying ‘no’ to something else, and each decision affects the shape of my life.

Choices this week:

  • unsubscribed to good newsletters that talk about good things, but don’t address matters that I really need to focus on.
  • walked past used clothing stores even when I have time to shop, because I’m not buying clothes for myself for a year.
  • journaled extensively.
  • lowered my lecturing teacher voice, sat down, and laughed with my students.
  • read in the morning sun.
  • dreamed about travelling to see China’s stone mountains and India’s bougainvillea, saris, and elephants.

Because dreams shape us too, don’t you doubt it for a second.

Travelling, books, choices, dreams–some of the infinite amount of things that make me who I am. Which means that I’ll probably always have itchy feet but also that I’m always changing.

Which is a good thing.


Related posts: Oxford of the Dreaming Spires


6 thoughts on “Sand and Stories

  1. I really enjoyed this. I agree that our travels and the books we read shape us, as do our choices and our dreams. I loved your choices for this week, especially the last two. I think I’ll add them to my list too.

  2. Something triggered in my memory when you talked about dreams… something about Gary Smalley dragging his wife out of bed in the morning so they could have their “dreaming together session.” 🙂

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