Posted by: MC | August 5, 2012

XXX Olympiad — Blog readership plummets

Not that the number was that sky-high to begin with – although of late there have been readers from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Israel and Brazil – even one reader from Sierra Leon.  I don’t know if all of the countries represented by readers on this little blog are also represented at the Olympics.  I can’t because of a lot of things.  A lot of work, for starters; and then there’s the super problematic combination of tech-les-ness (i.e. no TV) and internet illiteracy.

I miss the Olympics – the delight in the stories of the athletes, the awe at their completely inspiring mix of skill with vast and generous HEART.  I did see a photo of the unspeakably graceful purple torso aloft above that perfect crescent of legs – wow.  And I heard that a man from Salem did well in track events. I’ve read of Afghani and Saudi women competing in Olympic events in hijab.  And I’ve celebrated at the word that each and every participating county’s team has a woman on it this year.

My daughter and her partner sent a photo via facebook as they watched women’s water polo IN PERSON at the Olympic Park in London.  They saw the opening ceremonies, too.  I remember her saying in 2009 when I thought for certain she’d be coming home soon, that she was determined to stay through the Olympics.  I was quietly horrified, but she’s done it, and I’ve lived not only to tell about it, but to be honestly thrilled with her joy in the expat UK life.

But, before I begin to ramble, let me note that perhaps with the exception of the Olympics or perhaps because of the exceptionality of the participants therein the things I’m about to write in this blog almost always make for drops in readership.  They’re the good things, the heart and soul things – the everyday things that happen to everyday people.  Things that happen in the life of a diligent young woman, for example, before Gabrielle Douglas becomes a name you overhear in lilting chatter on the bus or in check-out lines at the grocery.

Here are a few things that also happened this week of the XXX Olympiad. 

“Reach out for people’s shoulders, or for their hands,” the gossamer voice said.  The seated and very gray-haired woman was speaking as loudly as she could to the wobbly gray-haired woman making her way to the front of the bus.  “They don’t mind.  They like to help,” she continued.  “And it’s so much better than falling and getting hurt.”  The seated woman was smiling, reaching for her peer.  The wobbly woman was wobbling, both shy and resistant to the breach of transit anonymity until she leaned left into the speaker’s outstretched hand and reached with her right arm for the large man in the next seat.  Righted again, she smiled.  The bus stopped and she stepped serenely onto the sidewalk.  “We forget that there is help all around,” the very gray-haired woman said looking at me.  “I want all of us to start remembering that.”  She nodded her head.  She was still smiling.

Later I waited for the Max train downtown.  I noticed a younger woman to my right as I got to the stop.  When the doors opened, I was aware of her almost elbowing her way in front to be the first to enter.  A whiff of “brat” attribution crossed my thoughts as I watched her take a prime seat while I took my place standing for the next few stops.  She was grinning, her eyes shiny with anticipation as she reached into her bag and pulled out a small gift box.  I watched as she shoved it toward the large-bodied woman who was already seated on the train when it came to our stop.  I watched the woman open the box to reveal large teardrop earrings – silver-colored metal framing the turquoise-colored shapes at their centers.  The woman took each earring and hooked it into one of her ear lobes.  They were perfect – really striking as adornment for her blushing cheeks and the dark curls of her hair.  “Brat” transformed with ease and vicarious delight into “finest of friends.”  Sometimes the first story isn’t the story.

Then there was this beyond Olympic moment of the birth of Grace Rose.  Any birth is beyond Olympic.  Each one is a miracle (all 7 billion +).  And as with every entry into a lifetime, Grace Rose arrived in her own way.

Grace is tiny by newborn standards – an early born at 1 lb, 3 oz.  Word came early in the week that preeclampsia had taken up sufficient residence in her mother’s body to begin shutting down organs.  Grace’s mother had only a few days to live.  The emergency delivery was scheduled.  Grace’s father, my friend, wished as mightily as a new father can that the lives of his wife and baby be spared.  He was entirely willing to exchange his for theirs.  Only days later, it was the quality of unobstructed love radiating from his eyes and his smiling face that told as much as the story of his first born girl and his healing wife.  “Grace,” the new mother had said.  “She is here by grace.”  And thus the baby girl’s name – fragile and courageous in her birth, vulnerable and strong – breathing on her own in spite of the requirement that she live her first earthly months in an incubator until her late October due date.

Grace, like the older women on the bus, like the younger women on the Max train, like the women and men of the 2012 Olympic Games.  Each one is a miracle of star dust and circumstances.  Each one living the moments of this time like the bee I saw busying itself in the artichoke flower.  The action is practical, the expression is stunning.

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Responses

  1. Changing direction – careers exploration, nursing the tears of a growing 20 year old. She is so much today like the 2 year old she was. Holding me tight with a hug in tears just before leaving to set up her first apartment and starting her junior year in university. Never before has the her dream of becoming Research Science Barbie been more real… The childhood play seeing the childhood play evaporating into reality.

  2. Readership is likely to rise and fall and rise and fall. Doesn’t matter. Here’s to Grace Rose and family!

    • Isn’t that the way of things, Michael — And I’ll pass the wishes on to Grace and her parents. Thanks~


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