I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.
One of the things you first notice about working with pre-teenagers is, that in a crowded room full of them, you can detect that faint odor, that "smells like teen spirit." By the time they get to highschool, they are familiar with the whole deodorant routine, applying liberally, and adding a douse of cologne/perfume for good measure just in case. They become almost hyperaware of the whole, "Do I smell thing." What's fascinating is, it often is someone else telling us that we stink that makes us aware of it.
The question that begs to be asked is, can an aroma be something other than a smell, that is, can it be a sense one is aware of that "smells" pleasing to our demeanor? Do we give off an aroma others want to be next to, have rub off on them, and daresay, want to smell a bit like us after we have gone? One of my favorite aromas is the smell on some towels I have stored in a plastic bag in the closet that belonged to my great-grandmother. When I feel down trodden, insecure, or have that pining for nostalgic feeling, I open the bag ever so slightly just to sneak a whiff of what I associate with bravery, kindness, intelligence and humor. I want "that" smell to cling to me, stay with me and spur me on to better things, things she would be proud of, things that would make her smile had she not gone to her reward so many years ago.
So, where am I going with this and how can it possibly apply to making things and the business of making things? As a creative, is your "aroma" one that others would want to invest in, is your work something that inspires others to do and feel their best, are your creations things that people want to cling to them?
What would you consider worthy of giving your life for? For those of us not in active Military duty or in a profession that is life-threatening, perhaps the question changes a bit and becomes, what are you so passionate about that you would sacrifice everything you are for?
For most, this is the beginning of a 3 day weekend. Many people will take a trip, go somewhere to rejuvenate their minds and bodies, have a picnic, perhaps burn something out on the grill and relax with an adult beverage of sorts. It is hard to think of a vacation day as being one that commemorates those who died in battle serving others.
This weekend, please remember all the men and women who filled their days with purpose and dedicated their lives in service to a higher cause, who were passionate in their beliefs, and paid the ultimate price by leaving only their names on grave markers adorned with the flag.
One of my favorite events to attend is Maker Faire. Truth be told, it does not really matter in which city or what time of the year it is held, it is a concept not a square on the calendar in my world.
Maker Faire is an event that is difficult to explain or define because it is something different to each person. For some it is a geek convention, others, a hacker reunion, it is a Lego village while others see it as a concert with Tesla Coil sparks of pure energy. Maker Faire is a steampunk revolution, a Bizarre Bazaar, a lecture on innovation, a display of alternative energy possibilities or even a choreographed Mentos and Coke Zero wonder of science. It is experienced through make n takes, various foods on a stick, a lifesize mousetrap game or in a knitting circle sipping tea and talking about the weather. As varied as the ideas of what Maker Faire is, the commonality that binds each and every person that walks the grounds and interacts within the event is that we are all Makers. We are the doers of things and thinkers of thoughts, the curious, the child like wonder trapped in an aging birthday suit. We are the "what-if" askers and the grease smudged foreheads, we are the growers of gardens and the wearers of the fantastic and outlandish. We are the product of our own making wrapped up in a Providential design that embodies a creativity only the original Maker could create. It is a celebration of what could be possible when we choose to marinate on the impossibilities of the here and now.
You can tell an awful lot about a person in the way they handle their luggage being lost at the airport or a valuable package not arriving as intended in a postal delivery.
I suppose it comes down to the thought, "Hey, how could you be so flippant with my stuff as to lose it, or damage it, can't you see how important *this* is?" I guess being a person that travels a lot, I am always so intrigued by the stuff folks lug around with them versus the stuff they check in baggage claim (some grudgingly) and the stuff they just send ahead and even the stuff they leave behind. For me, the most "valuable stuff" goes with me yet, in the event of an emergency, like a crash landing in the Hudson, even my beloved iPhone would be water logged and that little sensor embedded in it would flash the "Sucks to be you, your warranty has just been void and all your contacts you were too lazy to back-up are gone forever...." It's really a matter of security and priorities and it has NOTHING to do with the physical luggage or even the box or art that just got mangled.
If our security was hinged on the stuff in our heads and our priorities were fixed on people, I believe, the perspective would change. At that moment, something truly profound happens, we see the value of the person... even the person who lost the bag or crushed the box; they were the person that taught you the best lesson you could have learned, you can live without the stuff.
There are some folks who make it their life's ambition to drive you bonkers. They are the people who cut you off on the highway, who take the parking spot that you had been waiting for, who steal your lunch from the freezer at work, who generally tick you off with their passive-aggressive ways and flawed logic. Let's face it, people can be totally nuts.
Today I was blessed to have had a run in with a real jerk. She had a bad attitude, was full of snarkiness, was unmotivated to be a team player, displayed temperamental angst to all those who were unfortunate enough to cross her path, and had an overall pessimism that seemed to pervade and bleed over into everyone around her. As I was standing in the bathroom washing my hands, she spoke about all the people who ticked her off today, who made her that way... looking in the mirror, I realized what everyone else had been seeing- a real nut in need of a change of heart. Moral of the story, do as I say, not as I did and, do not let your bad day wreck everyone else's