A New England Fortune

New England path, Walden PondBefore the snows begin, and the ice and sleet, I walk in my new neighborhood to become familiar with all of the dips and cracks in the sidewalks and the wooded paths nearby. On this chilly day, I wear a decades-old red LL Bean overcoat and even older soft black gloves that I didn’t need when living in the San Francisco bay area.

I grumble a bit, allowing some self-pity.

     At “home,” I’d still be wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

     At “home,” I’d need a baseball hat to protect my face from the gleaming sun.

As leaves crunch beneath my shoes, my gloved third finger discovers a small crunch in its tip. Is it a years-old crumb? A small pebble from long-ago? Continue reading

Never Ever Say Never

fall, New EnglandWhen my man and I left New England four years ago, I swallowed a huge lump in my throat – a lump of fear and relief, joy and dread, wonder and excitement. After ten years of incredible autumns, rejuvenating springs, god-awful winters and soul-satisfying summers, we were moving back to the land that I love – San Francisco Bay area.

And when our friends greeted us on the left coast, I blithely and ridiculously said, “I’ll never live on the East Coast again.” Continue reading

Napping into a Headstand

Sailing on the Bay by Pamela S. Wight“I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.” Bob Hope

Boy, I wish I could nap.

I watch my guy on a soft slow Saturday afternoon, slumped on the large armchair in front of the window. If his eyes were open, he’d survey the soft fluffy clouds floating over the azure blue waters, and he’d note the gentle movement of the white sailboats as they lazed across the Bay.

But his head is leaned back and his mouth is open, releasing a sonorous hum of a snore every 30 seconds. Continue reading

Early Morning Spirits

walking, San Francisco, San Francisco BayI’m walking the same paths that I did when Henry sniffed along with me. Days after he died, when I began walking alone, I realized how much of a fixture we had become those early morning walks. Half a dozen other early ramblers inquired, “where’s Henry?” or “where’s that bright-eyed, busy-tailed dog of yours?”

 

Now it’s almost five months later, and I still walk our same route. This morning, one of Henry’s biggest fans stops me on the path, the San Francisco Bay by our side, a tiny otter face peeking out in the foggy mist. Continue reading

It’s Just Your Imagination!

imagination, writing, thinkingFlash!

Scientists are trying to understand the creative brain.

Hmmm, some people in my family have been trying to understand my brain for decades. My dad used to shake his head at me and intone, “It’s just your imagination, Pammy.”

He never knew how angry that statement made me. What did he mean, JUST my imagination? Did that mean it didn’t count?

But now, wonderfully, neuroscientists and psychologists are claiming that “imagination is the cornerstone of creativity.”

Unfortunately, back when I was growing up in the “olden” days, creativity wasn’t so highly touted. But now a neuroscientist and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute of the University of Southern California says, “having original ideas is a process, not a place (within the brain).”

The implication is that it takes a lot of brain to pull off imagination and creativity.dragons, imagination, creativity, writing

So my capability to see tiny, dragon-like lizards on top of maple trees that suddenly glow purple, is not “just” my imagination.

It’s genius!

Researchers are now determining that imagination is only possible with the use of (1) memory (yes, it’s good news that you remember the smell of your 7th grade science teacher’s hair spray) and (2) emotions.

Carousel, Shirley Jones, Gordon McRae, imagination, emotion

Falling in love, in “Carousel.”

Here’s one of my good (emotional) memories: my brother sneaks down to the basement where I’m watching an old movie on TV – “Carousel” with Shirley Jones, in which the love of her life is killed. Little brother taunts me because I’m sobbing at the end, but my dad defends me, saying, “The world would be a better place if all people had the imagination to feel other people’s pain and joy.”

Which brings me to another point researchers are discovering. Some people are inherently more creative and imaginative than others.

I always knew that. Now, perhaps others will view creativity and imagination as immensely special and as a talent to strive for, not ignore.

In fact, a Harvard University researcher noted: “the brain is a creativity machine. You just need to know how to manipulate your software to make it work.”

whale, imagination

Hector

Yes, that’s what I do at 5:30 a.m. when I gently wake up, neurons firing, the vivid dream world slowly fading away as I locate Geminia and Frederica, my two soul soothers/imaginators who sit invisibly within my eardrums.

“Did you notice the large whale swimming in the Bay this morning?” Geminia whispers as I begin my early morning walk.

seal, sealife, imagination, San Francisco BayI see a hiccup of a splash in the middle of the bay, and then a seal slaps up, barking an explanation: “That’s Hector. He gets lost all the time. He’s supposed to be in Hawaii by now!”

Ah, Pammy, there’s your imagination again….