Sweet Mysteries of Life

Do you ever wonder where the birds go when it rains?

It's a question I've mulled over for years.  Bring on the wind and rain, and I'll be peering into hedges, peeking under fallen leaves, but never seeing a single bird.  Birders say they seek shelter in trees, or under eaves in urban areas.  But I still can't see them.

Naturally, it's this type of mystery that intrigues me.   And birds aren't the only thing.  I wonder what happens to worms when the ground freezes, why mould grows in my cheese keeper and how exactly does frost make those pretty designs on window panes.

And here's a biggie -- I stand at the precipice of Table Rock in Niagara Falls and wonder where all the water comes from.  The amazing thing is, it never stops flowing.  The sheer volume of water dropping over that ledge both baffles and hypnotizes me.

Naturally, there are explanations for everything, but you know what? It's just so much more amusing to marvel at the mystery than try to solve it.

So I found it particularly satisfying to watch Tim and Richard Smucker on a TV commercial recently trying to figure out how Grandpa Smucker got all those strawberries to fit into a jam jar.  The purity of Richard's  childish curiosity is heartwarming and refreshing.  His brother Tim's reassurance -- "You'll figure it out" -- is the perfect response.  He seems to infer that it's not critical to solve the puzzle immediately, but to just enjoy the magic.

Curiosity and inquiring minds.  Fascinating stuff.  Now, if I could just spot those birds.

The Dirt on Dancing

Line dancing is harder than it looks, believe me.

Each morning, at fitness class, our instructor Cissy begins the session with a couple of line dances.  She says it's a good way to warm up before our aerobic workout and a good mental exercise to stimulate our brain and improve our memory. 

She's right -- but there's just one problem.  My mental hardware was manufactured back in the 1950's and sometimes my hard drive freezes up at the most inopportune moments.  Plainly stated, I can easily lose my focus.

Line dancing has been popular for many years and for many reasons.  It provides a healthy physical activity for all ages and body types.  It encourages us to memorize a sequence of steps, facing a different wall for each sequence.  It doesn't require a partner -- and best of all, it heightens our feeling of well-being by listening and moving to some good old country tunes, as well as many modern pop songs. 

On top of all that, our instructor is excellent. You might say that Cissy is the line-dancing queen of our county.  She's been teaching it for years and makes it  seem as smooth as butter and just as appealing.

But here's the rub.  The trick in line dancing is keeping one's focus.  While you're dancing, you can't be thinking about what you're going to make for supper tonight, or whether hubby will remember to bring home milk this afternoon, like you told him to.  Two seconds into these random thoughts and you're facing the wrong wall. 

Right from the get-go, we ladies must pay attention, concentrate and think quickly. I rivet my eyes on Cissy's feet, straining to engrave her words on the  blackboard of my mind.

"Vine right and touch, vine left and touch, four steps forward and shimmy on the spot," Cissy instructs.  A few more moves and she declares, "And that's the dance."  I scratch my head.  Sounds simple.  The music starts -- and bingo.  My mind has drifted to the supper question. I'm vining left, missing the next beat and wind up shimmying when every one else is facing the other way.  Darn.

There is a glimmer of hope for me, though.  My classmate Rose says that in line-dancing, it's okay to fake it if you don't get it.  I'm so relieved I feel like hugging her.  Thanks, Rose.

If all else fails, I'll just try to sashay in the same general direction as everyone else and hope no one notices.

Maybe we could call it "the novice two-step."