Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dusting off the Imagination

"Plant something. Feel the future."
-sign at Bert Driver Nursery, Smithville, TN

"I'm dusting off my imagination
-Stephanie Garner

The above quotes caught my attention in the past few days, the first while driving past the great Bert Driver nursery in Smithville and the second on my friend Stephanie's facebook page. Both reminded me immediately of a recent photo and story from my eighty something friend Russ.

Russ plants seeds as he dusts off his imagination daily by writing a poem something he's done for at least ten years. Prior to this, and still occasionally, he works with wood, making beautiful cutting boards, spreaders, and rattles. Russ patiently calls forth beauty from wood and words. (I personally know this takes patience. I drove to Russ' workshop for a brief period in the Nineties to try my hand at wood working. Wood was not my medium. I was impatient just as I had been with clay in the Eighties. Now I know its not the medium, it was patience I needed for I similarly get impatient with words although I keep at it with word working.)

Russ recently read poetry to a class of local elementary school children in his area. He read silly poems like Shel Silverstein's "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too" and told a story. He dusted off their young imaginations which I suspect were already collecting dust from our culture's focus on video games, tv and computer. Then as children delightfully do they began to ask questions like "What is that wire above your ear?" Russ told them about his cochlear implants for hearing.

As time came to a close.....well here are Russ' words as to what unfolded: "When the time was up one boy rose from the floor and came at me with a big hug. Then five more sorta charged at me, and then another until I think all of them had had their say. I was overwhelmed with this demonstration and wasn't sure what it was all about, but it made my day and probably my week and month - maybe even my year."

I immediately knew what it "was all about." These delightful kids were dusting off Russ' heart reminding him of the beauty of joy, love and appreciation. These children were captured by Russ and he obviously was captured by them because he returned home, to his wood shop, and made rhythm sticks for the children. He and his neighbor Rita then taught rhythm through songs of "old" to these kids. Remember "Twinkle, twinkle little star?"

Earlier this week at the school years end, these same children visited Russ and Merle's home for popsicles and a walk through their 'zoo' aka their yard filled with animal art made from rusty parts and assorted finds and a photo op standing on the bridge Russ made.

Here they stand, young seedlings on a bridge in the present heading into the future, their imaginations fertilized with curiosity and wonder through art, nature, song and popsicles of course. These seeds will grow into the future of next week when one of these children spies a star and this time hums a song or taps a rhythm inspired by the moon. These seeds will grow into the future of a thousand tomorrows when an artist opens shop to sell his wares and a drummer plays her first gig or becomes a vet.

The alchemists of old wrote of the Great Work. I think this is the great work, old inspiring young and young inspiring old while planting seeds in the present that will grow and be felt long into the future.

It is time. Dust off your imagination and start a love affair with life.

-Imagine the Shift! Dawn, The Good News Muse May, 28, 2010

* Enjoy Russ poems and see his work at www.russpeery.com

** A camera was not available when the original hug took place. The hug was reenacted when Russ and Rita taught rhythm to the class. I supsect the reenactment was ever bit as loving as the original 'charge' as Russ called it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story! I have one of Russ' cutting boards, now 30+ years old and going strong!. I need to dust off my imagination, too! -Bev P.