The culture of today is focused on aesthetics. To some it may be no more than just a word, but to others it is the air we breathe. It is what we are trying to achieve in the way we dress, the way our room is decorated, the angle of our selfie or the appearance of the food on our plate at lunch. To some, aesthetics is the goddess of acceptance.
I tried to express myself through scratches and
Bumps and bruises
A tangle of faded t shirts and
Ripped denim skirts
Proclaiming to the world
Hair in a ponytail I raced up the hill
Climbed the tree and
I grit my teeth
On my skin
Proving to my friends that I
I was blessed with two left feet
Trip over my own toes
But when I hear that bass-line beat
I feel like I should dance
Typically not a graceful girl
I have been known to fall
Sometimes get dizzy when I twirl
Yet still I want to dance
I feel the music in my bones
Calling across the floor
I rise and fall and sway with soul
While now I try to dance
On my toes, suspended I move
I reach, and leap with grace
Believing I have found my groove
Finally I can dance
By the end of my first day of teaching the following week, the ball seemed years ago, a distant memory buried under an avalanche of paperwork, schedules, lesson plans, grading, and assignments. Had it not been for Devorah Erren’s insufferable boasting to the other girls about the ball (she being the only one of the class whose parents had allowed her to attend) I might not have thought of it at all.
By the middle of the week, however, my thoughts had turned to the upcoming festival that I was to attend with Mira and her family.
Johann Sebastian Bach and Claud Debussy were two of the most influential musicians in the world. They published songs they wrote, played instruments, and were brilliant when it came to music. Yet both their lives and their styles differ vastly, from the wild life of one to the disciplined way of the other; from one’s greed and self-interest to the other’s humility and hope in God. How did both come to play such a big part in the development of music in such different ways?
I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Would they be nice? Would they speak English? What would they think of me? What would they think of our family?
My family and I were waiting near the last baggage claim, waiting for a long time, waiting for our Japanese relatives. Grandma Notsu would be there; Uncle Hiroo and Aunt Katsuko would accompany her. They were probably on the plane now…or off it, figuring out where to go.
In Echoing Halls
What is this room, replete with crucifixions,
Nativities, a dozen "Madonna-and-Child"'s?
The Renaissance. Who else shows Roman soldiers
In full knight's armor, Mary in Italian gown?
But note that sparkling reflection -
The gilded Bethlehem Star
Echoed in gilt embroidered dresses
And haloes framing faces, eyes cast down,
Or else lifted with hands towards heaven's heights.
Snow has fallen. It sparkles in the sunlight, gleaming like diamonds. It hides the yellow-brown grass and the dry ground, creating a clean, white sheet, covering the old, awaiting the new. A perfect greeting to the New Year.
School will start soon; work will return; but everything seems fresh and ready. Last year’s trials and hardships are past. This year lies before us, and we must begin anew.
Do you dread the inevitable onset of lines and wrinkles? Are you helplessly bemoaning the fading luster in your youthful skin? Do you look at your deflated, once-toned triceps and wonder why you can’t seem to return them to their youthful tightness? Are you tired after too many beauty treatments have failed you? Are you economically and emotionally bankrupt after trying cream after cream that promised - and failed - to restore youthful glow and beauty to your hair and skin?
The leader of the Dusks knew it would be easy to cause havoc in the paradisal scene, and that finding the Al-Izz boy would take no effort. Ten thousand rubies for a job well done.
The Yīnyǐng did nothing else better than an attack.
“Toula,” the leader said, his voice a maelstrom. “Over here.”
The Yīnyǐng turned and approached and pulled back her hood. Toula’s wavy black hair tumbled down her back and she stood at attention before Tai. “Yes, Father?” she said.