Fandango’s One Word Challenge this week is the topic of risk.
Risk taking is a major consideration these days. With a coronavirus pandemic still raging, while the federal government chooses to ignore its continuation and many states “opening” – opening beaches, restaurants, other places where people gather in close quarters. Of course, one can take precautions to avoid the risk of being infected. But what if something is too important to stay at home and do nothing? When yet another black person was unnecessarily killed by the police, people all over the world took the risk of being in close contact with others to protest. And the protests, being so large and widespread, led many cities to reexamine their police departments to initiate radical reforms. So in this case, for those thousands of protesters, the risk was worth it. We may see a spike in Covid-19 cases within the next week or so that could be traced to the protests. Some of the people who marched and carried signs, even with masks on, may have contracted the virus, and some may die.
To risk one’s life for a cause – that was the choice these past two weeks. It is not a new phenomenon: people have risked their lives for causes they believed in throughout history. Those who work as doctors or nurses in hospitals overflowing with coronavirus cases without proper PPE risk their lives at work every day. Those who hid Jews or joined the resistance movements during the Nazi era in Europe risked their lives. The men and women who fight in wars risk their lives. Those who protested the disappearance of loved ones during the dictatorships in Latin America risked their lives. Young people in China in June, 1989 risked their lives by protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Refugees risk their lives crossing borders to flee war or persecution, travel in dangerous circumstances, and when they get to what they hope is a safe haven, there is the risk they will be sent back to their countries to certain death.
Yet courageous people continue to risk their lives in some way every day.
I do believe in it although I think there are people out there who fake it to cheat people. I would never go to one of those clairvoyants with (or without) a crystal ball. But I do think humans have a kind of tuition sometimes, perhaps inherited from our pre-human days that we suppressed once we had language and our brains got bigger. Something in the deep recesses of our mind that we generally have no use for. Animals use it all the time.
But it’s more than that. Some people do have the ability to anticipate happenings before they happen and without any clues about it. Perhaps certain individuals are more in tune with their subconscious mind or highly sensitive to the supernatural. I think it most often happens when it involves someone or something you care very much about. My single experience with precognitive ESP confirms my belief.
I was in a rocky marriage, living in northeastern Brazil. My husband taught at the local university. All my life, I had wanted at some point to have children. I had dreams about it – seeing myself talking or walking hand in hand with a girl. (I especially wanted a daughter.) But these were just dreams, with that sort of misty surrealism that dreams have, where you don’t really see the other people in the dream clearly, or things happen in them that cannot possibly happen in real life. Sleep is a time for your brain to rest and as it does that, I think it casts off all sorts of images and ideas that were swirling around in it and often puts things together in odd ways.
But my longing for a child led to my one ESP experience (unless you consider deja vu or out -of-body experiences to be ESP, which I don’t). One night I had a very vivid, clear dream. It was not dramatic, it was simple. But I knew where I was and who I was talking to.
I was sitting on a couch on the screened porch of my family’s summer home. I remember the couch – very firm, white faux leather, which had a bedspread thrown over it. Across the room from me was a toddler, a small boy rummaging in a box of plastic sandbox and lake toys. I called to him in Portuguese: “Jayme, vem cá.”
He stood up and turned around to look at me and I saw his face, clear as day. He had curly light brown hair, and one curl was particularly long and fell down over his forehead.
That was the entire dream! Just that simple scene. It was so realistic that when I woke up, I had goosebumps! I told my husband. He thought my dream was really cool and believed it too. We had discussed perhaps having a child, but he wanted to wait until we lived someplace with better health care facilities. His job at the university was only for two years.
That happened in 1980, five years before I gave birth to my one and only biological child. The summer home wasn’t in Brazil, it was in northern Wisconsin and everything in the scene was exactly as it was at the cottage at the time, even though I was living in a country and climate far away and different.
I forgot about the dream until I got pregnant. From the time I got pregnant, I knew I would have a boy because of that dream. I had an ultrasound at about 4 months and from the position of the fetus, the doctor was able to tell that it was a boy. (The image was fuzzy and the one thing I saw clearly was the backbone. But the doctor pointed out a dot on the screen and said, “That’s his penis.”) Before he told us, though, he asked us what we wanted.
“We want a girl, but we both think it will be a boy,” I said.
And it was. My son, at two years old, looked exactly like that little boy in the dream. The only thing I knew in 1980 was the name we would give to a child if it was a boy. Jayme was my husband’s grandfather, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro, whom everyone loved and respected, and we wanted to pay him homage.
I never had another vivid dream about a child. But that was what convinced me that occasionally, some people can see something in the future. I don’t think it is something they set out to do. It just happens. I am not an easy person to convince to believe in something I can’t see or prove. But I’ve heard other people’s stories of “seeing the future” or having a near-death experience, so I strongly believe that ESP, at least the precognition type, is absolutely real.
I found this challenge on Melanie B. Cee’s (sparksfromacombustiblemind) blog and it struck me as interesting. This challenge comes originally from Xandria, a blogger I didn’t know before. 10 favorite feelings? Could I really find so many favorite feelings? (That is, not feelings I have that I don’t like, but ones I love to have.) When I started writing them down, I found that I could name MORE than 10 and barely had room on the post-it note for them all to fit!
“Feelings” can be interpreted in different ways, as I saw reading some of the participants’ posts for this challenge. I am going to use emotions as my basis for writing this. My blog’s name, Wanderlust and Wonderment, are two of the feelings I love most! But I will name 10 more here.
1. gratitude: I feel grateful for all I have – a good family, a nice place to live, the opportunity to travel and explore my interests. I try to stop for a moment every day, at least once, to appreciate the good things in my life.
2. anticipation: Whenever we decide to go on a trip – planning, envisioning what it will be like, the places we’ll go, packing, on the airplane taking us to our destination. One of the best things about traveling is anticipating it before it happens!
3. fascination: I am fascinated by many things, sometimes things I never thought I would have any interest in. When I travel, many things fascinate me: the swans who swim close to the cruise ship, the distinctive architecture of a place, the way wines are made, the meaning of hieroglyphics, etc. There is so much to learn and absorb in this world!
4. awe: I enjoy reveling in the miracle of things large and small. I feel awe standing in the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, and I also feel awe watching nature unfold in my garden – watching the shoots of the first leaves push up out of the ground, the growth – getting taller and fuller, the buds that appear, and then the flower that opens up to the world. I feel awe at how that flower propagates, the delicate wings of a butterfly, how nature always repeats its cycle, no matter what humans are doing in the meantime. Awe at the animals – so close – on safari. Twice I have visited places where my ancestors lived – I mean, the actual land or the actual house they lived in. I felt awe to be standing in the same place my 3-greats grandmother stood.
5.relief: The feeling that washes over me after I’ve been worried about something or someone, when it turns out to be okay. I worry especially about my son, who struggles with many things in life. I call him, he doesn’t answer, so I leave a message which he doesn’t reply to; I send him a text to find out if he is all right…and finally I receive a reply, “Don’t worry, Mom! I’m okay!”
6.love: I fall in love all the time – not just with a romantic partner. I love my cat, and feel this love whenever I look at her sweet, beautiful face staring at me. I love places I visit. I fall in love with countries. Also, yes, the “new love” feeling I had when I met my husband-to-be and realized he’s the one! When you’re in love, the whole world seems beautiful!
7. saudade: This is a Portuguese word that means “sweet sorrow” (when you have to leave someone or some place that you know you will miss dearly), longing, sort of nostalgia, but also the feeling you have when you look at someone or something that you’ve been waiting to see and here it is in front of you. Saudade is often translated as nostalgia, but it’s more than that. I think “sweet sorrow” is a better translation. The word comes from the time of slavery in Brazil, when the slaves were brought over to that country and what they felt when they thought about their homeland. It’s what anyone feels when they are forced to leave the place they belong and the longing for home. It’s not just nostalgia because you can feel saudade for a person, a place, a thing, even when you are with them!
8.accomplishment: I think there is no better way to feel good about yourself as when you have a feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment upon finishing a really well-written term paper; or admiring a drawing I just completed and it looks exactly as I want it to be; accomplishment when finally understanding a difficult concept. Anyone can say to you, “you are wonderful, you are smart” or whatever, but when you accomplish something yourself, then you know you can be proud of yourself.
9.absorption: What I feel when I am totally engrossed in a book that I really like. I don’t want anyone to tear me away from it! I also get absorbed in writing my blog, making a photo album, drawing an intricate picture. I feel kind of dizzy and disoriented when I have to leave whatever I’m absorbed in!
10.excitement: the rush I feel when I am traveling and come to the realization, for example, OMG, I’m really in PARIS! Or, excitement while looking at ancient Egyptian monuments that have survived for 3500+ years!
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie has a writing challenge called Rhyme Time. Here are the rules: This week we are “writing away, and having a play, with rhyming words for you today” with Rhyme Time. ‘Rhyme Time’ focuses on the use of rhyme to build your writing piece. You will be given six rhyming words* and need to use all of them (but not limited to these) in your response, which should be a poetry form of your choice. *Homophones can be used as alternatives to the challenge words. Our rhyming words this week are: flame frame game blame same claim
Examples of Rhyme in Poetry A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounding words, occurring at the end of lines in poems or songs. A rhyme is a tool utilizing repeating patterns that bring rhythm or musicality to poems. This differentiates them from prose, which is plain. A rhyme is employed for the specific purpose of rendering a pleasing effect to a poem, which makes its recital an enjoyable experience. Classification of rhymes may be based on their positions in the poem.
I do not consider myself a poet, though I have occasionally written poetry. Most of it is either free verse or haiku. But as I looked at the list of words, a poem started to form in my head, (not great really, but it was fun), and here it is:
The photo in the frame
Is of my old flame.
We were too much the same
Or that’s what he’d claim
It all became a game –
We were both to blame.
What happened I cannot name
But him I could not tame.
We both, I guess, were the same
In playing the blame game!
*Image downloaded from Google Images and can be found here.