1.For years, I swore that I couldn’t memorize things. It appears that what I really meant was I’d never tried.
In February I learned to exercise my brain.
2.We told each other our grocery store track record wasn’t good. We knew the grocery cart was too full. ..
3. I never would have thought it, but sometimes when you fear the worst, you can only be surprised by happy. For there they all are, with dinner invitations, sonnets on your pillow, and notes in the inbox.
This February, I learned how very good and cheery it can be to stand where I am.
4. I take it as a challenge to make kiddies smile.
What I didn’t know, was that underneath a seven year old’s skull, there is enough funny to make me laugh out loud – taken by surprise at his clever turn of phrase.
This month, I learned that babies grow up to have a sense of humour.
5. I also learned how deeply devoted a certain niece is to country music. Who knew?
6. As if the pain in my hamstrings weren't proof enough...did you know that two strings of bowling equals one mile of walking?
In February, I learned that science facts on the wall of a retro-esque bowling alley are probably not accurate, but somehow reassuring. "This is exercise. Don't feel bad that you can barely limp back to the snack machine."
7. And also, this.
To present a kindly face to world, the Nazis set up Terezin, Czechoslovakia as a ghetto for the more ‘desirable’ Jews, in 1941. It was supposedly intended for the war heroes from WW1, the artists, the poets, the part Aryan. A place for them to live - to spend the war in confinement, but safety.
Instead, it became a temporary holding place for those destined for death camps of the East.
Of the 15, 000 children who passed through Terezin, only roughly 100 survived. 100.One of the inhabitants was Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, an artist who brought what art materials she could to Terezin. She taught the children art during her stay there…using office forms, scrap paper, cardboard and wrapping paper to help them create collages, drawings and watercolours. Pictures of flowers, butterflies, trees ...and on other pages - the hospital bunks, the barbed wire, the guards.
They wrote poems too, and plays and told stories – and in everything these young people said, and all the things they didn't say…you realize how brutal this world is. And how strong hope can be.
In February, I discovered this poem.
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone….
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
Kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
In the ghetto.