August August is coming to a close.We enter in the upper half of our planet the transition period into fall. To most of the US it’s a time of beautiful mixtures of color across our wooded vistas. To Californians it’s a season of wildfires. Ah, the contrasts.
I look forward to a celebration of love and commitment in the holy matrimony of my son and the sweet, astute, beautiful woman who wants to spend her life with him. They will marry in a few short weeks.
And so, there lives will deepen. They will grow. They will learn much about each other. God willing, they will learn patience and how to fight fair. In its shining moments, their marriage can be a glorious, life enriching experience in the hands of our loving God.
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein.
It was 12/7/89. I was 44 years old. My wife was pregnant with our son and I took a walk near midnight to pick up a pizza for the two of us. Before I knew it, a handgun was pointed at me.
The good Lord gave me enough peace not to panic. The gunman and his companion in a truck next to us took my pizza and the remaining seven dollars, leaving me shaken, alive, and still praying. That defined for me the pain of sudden change.
And so the NYT obituaries today included one entitled: “Lila Gleitman, Who Showed How Children Learn Language, Dies at 91.” She did essential research throughout her life to show us.
She affirmed some of her thinking with her two-year-old daughter: “One day when she was driving and Claire was in the car, Dr. Gleitman took a sharp turn and said, ‘Hold on tight.’ Her daughter immediately replied, ‘Isn’t that tightly?’” The utterance showed how even a toddler could understand linguistic nuances, without having been taught them.”
I am fascinated by our original language, which we seem to learn by osmosis, unlike other languages. The essay says about the incident with Claire, “Dr. Gleitman called the process “syntactic bootstrapping” — the use of an innate grasp of linguistic structure and its relationship to meaning to figure out new words.”
She describes the child as discovering what he or she already knows from a complicated code where language is hidden. Per the article, Dr. Gleitman opined “… that the structures, or syntax, of language were hard-wired into the brain from birth, and that children already have a sophisticated grasp of how they work.”
Wow. I think I get it. So glad she had the intellectual curiosity and perseverance once retired to keep on submitting papers working on the linguistics she so loved.
May God bless us with that kind of passion and the years to let it blossom to benefit the lives of others.
“Wood, sea, and hill were the intimacies of my childhood, and they have never lost their spell for me.” John Buchan, a Scottish novelist.
The hills of Dayton, Ohio, were a part of my childhood. Then, at ten years of age, the family moved to the flattest place I have ever lived, Miami, FL. It was so flat it had (has) a street system with numbers and letters that made MapQuest unnecessary. But oh how I missed those hills as a child, the views from them and towards them.
I suppose that is why I was enamored of California from the first time I saw the Rose Bowl, where the magnificent mountains covered the horizon. It is one of several reasons my wife and I have lived in Southern California these past 43 years.
However, Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean became my go-to places of serenity as a teen in Miami, now replaced in adulthood by the pacific Pacific. The majesty of those bodies of water, the variety of blues and greens across those waters, and the rare dead calm unstirred my soul.
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” Anne Lamott, renowned writer with whom I was lucky enough to take a writing lesson, virtually.
Just one life. It is the people closest to us who manage to forgive us, teaching us about ourselves. Some of it, that is oh so true, we don’t want to hear. But, they love us enough to tell us.
God, please grant each of us the wisdom to hear them.
H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a draft novelette in progress, and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon