Amazing May 22: Telecommunication

I am a longtime fan of the telephone. Over decades it has allowed me to stay current with relationships that would not be the same without it. I have had a wealth of laughter, tears, comfort, sharing, and epiphanies with good company by phone.

Though I rarely get to cook with others, which I think is a natural way for humans to work, I often wear a headset and use that time to catch up with dear friends who I dearly wish lived closer, but don’t.

When I visited my grandfather across the country at age ninety-eight-years old, he delighted at my singing for him. I realized that I could continue to do that by phone, and I did.

As with several other topics this month, this is one that I can take for granted. Then I pause, and realize how amazing it is that we can hear not only words but tone and a unique, familiar voice from sometimes thousands of miles away, and usually instantaneously.

Today we have many other ways to communicate as well. Video phones are a particular blessing for families that are separated, especially when there are children to watch grow.

I sometimes think my friends in social media are the villagers I’d keep up with if modern life didn’t spread us all so far apart.

picture by Pbroks13

picture by Pbroks13

Thank you, Alexander Graham Bell and other inventors of telecommunication devices. Thank you, telephone.

Amazing May 21: Glasses

Periodically I marvel at how fortunate I, and so many others, are that glasses exist. Without them the world is quite blurry for me. I couldn’t see a person’s face when conversing with them. I’d have to read a few inches from my eyes. I couldn’t see stars at all.

I am grateful for all the inventions that support our bodies and senses–even the ones I don’t need because it is good to know they are there should the need arise.

photo taken by Karin Fisher-Golton (without even wearing her glasses!)

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton (possibly the first photo she has taken in decades without wearing corrective eyewear)

But there is something about glasses that is easy to take for granted. They are both simple and complex. They have been around hundreds of years. I find it comforting to see them appear in old family photos and know people could benefit from that invention at times when so many others we enjoy today did not yet exist.

I rarely think about what life would be like without glasses, but when I do, I find myself in awe of what they accomplish.

Thank you, inventors. Thank you, glasses.

Amazing May 20: Sunrises and Sunsets

Most every morning and evening a show of color and light appears in the sky—sometimes delicate, sometimes extravagant, and available to anyone who looks.

I’ve loved sunsets in places I’ve lived on the West Coast for the way the light shimmers on water and the reflections of colors. I’ve loved sunsets in the Midwest for the patterns the colors make through leafless trees. My favorite sunsets have clouds, made fancy.

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

Thank you, sunrises. Thank you, sunsets.

Amazing May 19: Our Place in the Universe

My world can get very small. Sometimes as small as this desk where I sit. Many days, my world is my house and the short walk to my son’s school. Sometimes we humans get consumed with issues that confront our cities, countries, and planet. Though I hope we do stay attentive to those things, every once it a while, it is good to get some perspective…

Our planet’s diameter is about 7,900 miles. Sometimes I picture my 5’3” self standing on a sphere shaped planet so large I can’t see the curve.

That lovely moon we often see is about 240,000 miles away—a distance more that 30 times the diameter of Earth.

 

 Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC. "This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites."


Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC. “This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites…” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=885

The distances go from there. Think of the models you’ve seen with the huge Sun making Earth look tiny. Remember that our Sun is just one of the many stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And our galaxy is just one of many galaxies—distances measured in the speed of light. The size of those huge stars is nothing next to the space between them. So much space. So much possibility.

Thank you, planets and stars. Thank you, space. Thank you, Universe.

Amazing May 18: Humor

My son had a friend over this morning. We were playing a game (Cosmic Encounter, for you gamers) where each person draws a role that gives them a special variation on the rules. Mine was guerrilla. Who could help making references to me being a gorilla? None of us. So I made my monkey face—a look crafted in my young adulthood that involves putting my tongue under my upper lip and sliding my lips down (try it in a mirror—scratch your head for extra ape-like goodness). Both boys had a good laugh.

I love hearing people laugh, really laugh. Not only is it delightful to hear and to do ourselves, but laughter is likely good for our health. It is definitely good for our spirits. What I find even more amazing is the way that the right dose of good-natured humor can take the tension out of a situation.

photo by StickyWikis

photo by StickyWikis

If you are in the mood for a laugh, here’s a link to some kid-friendly jokes: http://www.prongo.com/jokes/index.asp

Thank you, joke makers. Thank you, laughter.

Amazing May 17: Rainbows

by Karin Fisher-Golton

Though I may be creating a reputation for myself otherwise, I certainly have my moments of being jaded. So I admit, I had a good laugh when I thought of today’s topic. Rainbows are maybe a touch cliché. But then I paused—and perhaps the only difference between being jaded and being amazed is a pause.

Think about it: when there’s sunshine and a bit of rain, the light does this thing that creates a gigantic, perfect arc of the whole range of colors. If it weren’t true, it would be hard to believe.

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

In my experience, when someone spots a rainbow, everybody pauses.

Thank you, rainbows.

Amazing May 16: Children’s Books

I have loved children’s books longer than I remember. My mother, who also loves books, began teaching me to read at fifteen months. I am told that I read a book on my own for the first time at age twenty months. That book was Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins—a book that epitomizes the quality of picture books where both the words and the pictures tell the story.

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

Children’s books introduce us to new ideas. They take us to places we haven’t yet been and places that don’t exist. They give us opportunities to empathize. They inspire us.

In honor of Children’s Book Week (May 12-18), Powell’s Books asked their fans what children’s books changed their lives. Here is a link to a compilation of the answers—a great list, which includes many of my cherished books and series, and maybe some of yours too: http://www.buzzfeed.com/powellsbooks/37-childrens-books-that-changed-your-life-ohuo

I asked myself which children’s book changed my life, and my answer surprised me. There are many children’s books that I have read over and over again. But a book on Powell’s Books’ list that I have only read once decades ago struck me as “the one.” Harriet, the Spy gave me the idea that I could enjoy my own company. That’s something I can always have with me, and often do. (Time to read that one again!)

Which children’s books have changed your lives?

Thank you, books. Thank you, writers. Thank you, illustrators. Thank you, reading teachers.

Amazing May 15: Becoming Friends

Earlier this year those of us in my children’s poets group were experimenting with Fibonacci poems. These short poems have syllable counts in successive lines following the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, where the next number is the sum of the previous two: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. We noticed that because of the increasing numbers of syllables per line, Fibonacci poems have a cascading feel. We looked for topics that cascade. I thought of how friendships begin.

That experience of going from being strangers or acquaintances to being buddies can happen so fast. What a sweet ride.

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

No Going Back

We
meet,
sit down,
politely
begin to converse.
Soon a common experience
sparks thoughts, ideas, sharing—a connection begins.
Now, it’s like we never were strangers but two who can’t help seeing each other as friends. 

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2014

Thank you, old friends. Thank you, new friends.

poetry fridayEnjoy more poems for Poetry Friday at Liz Steinglass’s blog, including her own wonderful speaking bookmark poem, which she’s raffling off on a bookmark: http://elizabethsteinglass.com/2014/05/welcome/

 

Amazing May 14: Smell—The Time Traveling Sense

Have you ever walked into a room and realized that someone you know has been there recently because a scent they wear has been left behind? Or walked into a home and had a good idea of what someone recently cooked?

Sight, hearing, taste, and touch all give us information about things that are present, but our sense of smell can also tell us things that are no longer there.

Perhaps, like I have, you have determined what someone in your family just ate by smell. I feel a bit like I have superhero powers when I do these things, but really we humans possess only a fraction of the olfactory ability of dogs and other animals.

You’ve probably seen a dog running around what looks like an empty lawn or patch of dirt sniffing like crazy. Because they can pick up on smells of different species and even individual animals, they are putting together whole stories with their noses.

photo © Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

photo © Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

Pay attention and see what you can notice with a few sniffs.

Thank you, noses.

Amazing May 13: Yogurt

I love creamy, tangy yogurt. That nutritious food is tasty in so many ways—with fruit or granola, in smoothies, on soups. We have a multitude of foods available to us today, but it is amazing to think about people discovering they can eat something like yogurt. Long ago, someone, or probably more likely multiple people in multiple locations, left some milk for hours in a warm place. When they returned the milk had solidified, but it smelled good. So they tasted it and discovered a new food.

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

Thank you, dairy animals. Thank you probiotics. Thank you, food pioneers.