Miracle. All of it.

When the first teeth appear, these little stones slowly pushed up through the child’s red gums, appearing at first like sharp little points, then standing there like miniature white towers in the mouth, it is hard not to be astonished, for where do they come from? Nothing that enters the baby, mostly milk but also a little mashed banana and potato, bears the slightest resemblance to teeth, which in contrast to the food are hard. Yet this must be what happens – that certain substances are extracted from this partly liquid, partly soft nourishment and transported to the jaws, where they are assembled into the material used to make teeth. But how? That skin and flesh, nerves and sinews are formed and grow is perhaps just as great a mystery, but it doesn’t feel that way. The tissue is soft and living, the cells stand open to each other and to the world in a relationship of exchange. Light, air and water pass through them in human beings and animals as well as in plants and trees. But teeth are entirely closed, impervious to everything, and seem nearer to the mineral world of mountains and rock, gravel and sand. So what really is the difference between rocks formed by hardening lava and then eroded by wind and weather over millions of years, or formed by infinitely slow processes of sedimentation, where something originally soft is compressed until it becomes hard as diamond, and these little enamelled stones, which at this very moment are pushing up through the jaws of my children as they lie asleep in the dark of their rooms? To the oldest two, growing and losing teeth has become routine. But the youngest one still finds it a source of great excitement. Losing your first tooth is an event, also your second and perhaps even your third, but then inflation sets in, and the teeth seem to just drop out, loosening in the evening in bed, so that next morning I have to ask why there are bloodstains on the pillow, or in the afternoon in the living room while eating an apple, and it’s no longer a big deal. ‘Here, Daddy,’ one of them might say, handing me the tooth.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “Teeth” in “Autumn


Notes:

  • Photo: Kymberly Orcholski with “new teeth
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

Swirl it around and find it

Set aside 10 minutes before you go to bed each night to write down three things that went really well that day. Next to each event answer the question, “Why did this good thing happen?”

Instead of focusing on life’s lows, which can increase the likelihood of depression, the exercise “turns your attention to the good things in life, so it changes what you attend to,” Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman said. “Consciousness is like your tongue: It swirls around in the mouth looking for a cavity, and when it finds it, you focus on it. Imagine if your tongue went looking for a beautiful, healthy tooth.” Polish it.

~ Julie Scelfo, excerpt from Get Happy: Four Well-Being Workouts (NY Times, April 5, 2017)


Photo: Pinterest

Wheels on the Bus. Are Coming Off.

Strawberry Hard Candy

It was a mid-afternoon meeting.
On a quiet day.
We’re sequestered for 90 minutes.
I’m in a listening role.
I sit back and settle.
And look forward to taking it all in,
in my mid-day sabbatical.

I eye the candy dish.
Do I need this? Of course not.
My eyes take inventory.
Butterscotch.
Red and White Mints. The Swirly type.
Two Orange Ovals with form fitted plastic wrappers.
One of something dark, odd shaped and foreign. How long you been sitting there?
Then my eyes land on the prize.
One diamond sporting a shiny, green carrot top. Yellow dots.
A Hard Strawberry Candy.

My hands greedily ferret to the bottom of the dish.
I remove the wrapper under the table to keep noise down.
And pop it into my mouth.
The strawberry sugars drip down my throat.
I swirl it to coat my mouth.
I continue to slowly chew and savor.
The candy loses its shape. It becomes gooey.

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