Monday, September 19, 2011


Recently, I sent my brother an email.  In that email, I mentioned that I was a little bit hashed.  He emailed me back, and asked what "hashed" meant.  This was my response:

Have you ever made hash browns? It's really easy, from my perspective, but let me tell you what it's like from the potato's perspective.

I opened my eyes blearily in the morning light. This was an interesting place I'd come to. I was used to the dark underground of my youth. I was happy there. Then, somebody had pulled me up out of the ground, brushed me off, and stuck me in a pile with a few of my friends and a lot of others I'd never met before. It was very bright, and I did my best to shield myself from the sunlight. Of course, without arms, or even any muscles, that was quite impossible. Eventually, I was buried under other potatoes. It was almost like being back underground. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

I woke to the sound of a rumbling that sounded much like the thunderstorms that had brought life-giving water. I eagerly awaited the rain, but soon realized that I was moving. I was being bounced and jiggled and felt the weight of many other potatoes on top of me. It was uncomfortable. I didn't know what was happening, and I went back to sleep in self-defense.

How much time had passed, I didn't know, but I woke to find myself in some sort of a box with other potatoes. It was open to the sky, but it was the strangest sky I'd ever seen. It was flat, and grey, and had ten suns that I could count. Occasionally, the creatures that had pulled me up from the ground would come and poke at my companions. One by one, the other potatoes in the box got picked up and taken away. Eventually, it was my turn. The fingers around my midsection felt strange. They picked me up and placed me in another container with a few of my companions. They were all asleep. I decided to join them.

When I woke up, it was morning. I could see the sky, the blue sky, out of a little square next to me. I saw the people that had picked me up earlier wandering around, making clashing noises with various instruments. It was a very interesting place. I decided to stay awake. Suddenly, I was picked up again. I was carried over something that was very very hot. Fortunately, the heat only lasted a moment. Then I was put under water. I'd never been completely underwater before... for the first couple of moments, it felt wonderful. Then, I started to feel as though I would drown. I was taken out of the water just in the nick of time and set on a hard surface. I caught my breath. This was too hard. I needed to go to sleep again. Just as I was closing my eyes, I was picked up again. This time, I was pushed hard against a surface. The pressure grew and grew until it was was too much to take. Just as I thought I was going to die, I began to slide. As I slid, I felt pain searing along my body in three different places. The pain was excruciating. Then the pressure let up, I was slid back to my original position, and the pressure began again. I tried desperately to go to sleep, but the sliding began again. This time, I realized that there was pain in the original places, plus a line of pain on either side of the first three. The fingers holding me started to pick up a rhythm. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Pressure, pain, pressure, pain, pressure, pain. I soon realized that I was getting smaller and smaller as pieces of me were shorn off by each new swipe of pain. There was nothing I could do. Finally, when I was too small to be held anymore, I was tossed into yet another container, atop the small pieces of myself and my previous companions. The container was moved, and I realized that we were going closer to the heat I had felt earlier. Suddenly we were dumped out and I landed in heat like I'd never felt before in my life. I heard a dreadful sizzling and popping sound around me, and I smelled the stench of burning flesh. As I closed my eyes for the last time, I heard a sound that I did not comprehend but that somehow was profoundly important, saying, "Mmmm... Nothin' like hash browns in the morning."

That's exaggerated, of course, but that's what the word "hashed" refers to.

I should probably be more careful how I use it. I don't actually feel like I'm being shredded and then drowned in hot oil.

I'll also never look at hash browns in quite the same way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fishing, Metaphorically


Have you ever gone fishing?  I've never done any true fishing.  I've gone to a fish farm where six people can catch ninety fish in half an hour.  It's exhilarating, but it's not real fishing.

No, the fishing I'm talking about is the type where you hunt out the perfect spot of land right next to a river, or stream, or lake, and cast your line, and wait.  Occasionally you have to cast your line again to try to get a fish's attention.  Most of it, though, is being quiet, and still, and watching the water flow by.  You hope to get a tug on your line.  You hope to have fresh fish for dinner.  You stand there, and you wait.  Eventually, you sink down and you sit and wait.  You can't make the fish bite; all you can do is be ready when they do.

I've realized, lately, that reading the scriptures is much like fishing for me.  I read the words, and I try to apply the teachings to my own life.  So much of it, though, is white noise, like the sound of rushing waters that lull me to sleep.

I remember in my younger days, going to church had the same effect.  Probably helpful, but ultimately mostly boring.  That changed in later years, and now I'm so excited to be around other adults that I get really excited to go to church.

Hubby said something interesting, though.  He mentioned that church is often boring for a lot of people.  Generally, when it's boring, it's because we're listening only to the people and not to the Spirit.  When the Spirit speaks, when we hear and understand it, it's exciting.  The Spirit can speak the things that we are ready to hear, and he not only speaks to our minds but also to our hearts, to our emotions.  And really, when you think about it, it's our emotions that keep us engaged in life, right?

And so, I've been trying to apply that same principle to reading the scriptures.  All too often it's still white noise; the language is archaic and I don't understand the cultures or geography to which they refer.  Still, if I am patient, I can muddle through the parts I don't understand and be ready for when the Spirit does speak to me.  I may never understand the scriptures in their entirety.  Hopefully, though, I can learn the important things of life that will help me to become better.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lost Friend

Here's something interesting:

A couple years ago, I happened to click on a link that led me to a blog that immediately captured my interest.  For several months, I followed The Chocolate Chip Waffle religiously.  The author, Theresa Wellborn, had such a way of weaving words together that I was entranced.  Then, as happens, the magic faded somewhat and other things got in the way.  I became too busy with my own life to be able to read about somebody else's.  Occasionally I would go back to visit her again and catch up on her recent exploits.  I went to do that today, and found that her blog had been discontinued.  It was a shock.  I went back to my blog and clicked the link again, only to find that, yes, it really was gone.

Of course I Googled her.  What else could I do?  I found multiple references to her poetry in various contests, but nothing from the woman herself.  I also Googled Chocolate Chip Waffles.  The results only served to make me hungry.  I couldn't even find her on Facebook.

It's sad... I have never seen this woman face to face.  She commented on my blog once, I on hers a couple of times.  It weirded me out a little, actually, because I still don't know how she found my blog...

She's gone.  No explanation.  No goodbyes.  I have no claim on her, yet I'm left with a sense of loss.

Isn't it interesting, how we affect the world around us?