Saturday, April 5, 2014

Catching up - Word of Last Week - 4

Cut off from the internet and unable to meet my own deadlines for nearly a week, I will eventually catch up.  Or close to it.

Word of Last Week:  UNMATCHED

“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”
Mary Oliver
Illustration by Sarah S. Stillwell.
For me it was occasionally socks of two almost matching colors, there is more than one shade of brown, or the skirt and sweater in differing, incompatible shades of blue, or so Sandy Lansdale told me in the 7th grade.  She didn't use the word outre which would have been my mother's choice but her vehemence kept me from ever again wearing those two garments together.  Thinking then of unmatched, it never suggested without peer, special,  rare, stand-alone.  In sets of paper dolls, girlfriends who looked to be the same age but not related each came with a plaid dress.  As I mentally wrote the dialogue for their imaginary conversations, they once agreed that all would wear a plaid dress to school on the same day.   They viewed this as a unifying statement, proof of a superior sameness.  They stood in for the real girls, born around 1944 or 1945 who owned at least two plaid dresses each, replaced when outgrown but often kept as the hem and waistline crept up and up  until perhaps the fourth grade when, for me, clothing from the children's department no longer fit.

Even in my Brownie or Scout uniform, I felt the moved-off-to-the-side separation of the overbaked Cheerio or ill-formed animal cracker.  The cheese stands alone.  I suspect it is the rare child who finds true, deep comfort in being the only one to see how much Aunt Dorothea resembles the actress on the magazine cover when everyone tells her, in so many words, that she's crazy, there is nothing the same about them.  An ability to see or know beyond is not welcomed in most families.  Time and its grace change that, replacing isolation with attachment to what is unmatched or unequaled within its own sphere.  There is such majesty in being the only one of us that will ever exist, a singleton, not relegated to the small table near the door to the kitchen but a presence, embodiment of grandeur, beaming with unique yet universal light without which the world, the galaxy would be too dim and cold to bear.

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