Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Logan of Red and The Shadow of Dread

And sail they did, through the night. Through the night by the moonlight.

And when the morning broke, and when the children awoke, it was Logan in Red, who first spoke.

“As you, my comrades, slept, I served my duty, and peace I kept. For in the night upon us fell a terrible fright. A monster, a goon, an alien of the moon, the worst sort of undelight; it was a villain of the most gruesome sight.

Where it came from, I cannot say, but the events unfolded in quite a peculiar way. It had begun in the dream, or so it seemed, for all was well, the sea sat calm, without the slightest swell. For we, the courageous four, had just set sail from the bay’s shore. Traveling for a time, slowly did we unwind, beneath the stars and moon, trusting danger did not loom.

It was I standing at the mast, when a shadow upon me was cast. I thought nothing of it, a shadow of the night; that was it. But then, as I stood by the sail, suddenly, in my right ear, I heard a piercing wail. So to my left I did turn, and a shadow I did discern. The shadow nearer towards me it crept, and into my ear, its voice slowly stepped.

‘Logan of Red, I have come for you, the boy of valor and fast stead. So stop your dreaming, child of red, and come away with me so we can start our scheming. Because this I know, that you my boy, have a powerful glow, and I can give you an arrow and bow, and your strength to the world you will show.

“Come boy. Come.” The shadow eeirily sung. “Now boy Now. Any more time, and you will surely fail.” And what was I to do, I thought. The shadow seemed to have me caught. Oh, the arrow and the bow, how I longed for it you can only know. The choice left me quite distraught, and inside myself I silently fought.

What was I to do? If only the future I could preview. So out to the sea, my eyes projected, and in the water the truth reflected, for suddenly I knew as my eyes perceived the slightest hint of blue what it was that I was meant to do.

The shadow had stood silent waiting for a while, as I, Logan of Red, remained my soul’s pilot, thinking how violent, how vile. What was this monster that came to distract me from my task, and doubt of myself how he had longed to cast.

He had come to destroy the bond of the Courageous Four, so I said to him, “I will hear your words, no more. For, only tonight, have we left the shore pursuing what is right, searching for a cure. A cure to save the baby in blue and to this I, Logan of Red will be true.”

The voice was dangerously quiet. Then the sea stirred, and I sensed the brewing of a riot. Then the voice yelled, I am a soul-less pirate!!!!

That was when I knew that a battle would ensue. So I closed my eyes and thought of the Baby in Blue. And strength he gave me, to defeat the soulless pirate of the sea.

“Now, here I stand, the morning after, thankful that we survived what could have been disaster if I had chosen to serve the selfish master. ”

“And thankful so, are we to you, Logan of Red, for the honor of what you do and the truth of your words said.” Replied Kylie of Pink as Logan let out a tired sigh.

“Now let us make you a bed, where you may rest your brave little head. And strength from respite may your mind find, after surviving such a daunting grind. For on our course, by way of boat, train, or horse, we shall continue, all in the name of the Baby in Blue.

And with that, William of Green gave Logan’s back a soft pat, and Ellis of Yellow tipped towards him the tip of his hat.

And together, for a moment, the Courageous Four silently sat looking out to the serene sea wondering what their destiny would come to be.

But they worried not, for if one thing in the night to them had been taught, it was that happiness, even from a soulless pirate could not be bought. Perhaps, instead, like a book unread, it should be a purpose sought.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Courageous Four

Four pairs of legs dangled over the dock, while the minds of four children were entranced by the ticking tock of the bays clock. Bored and tired these four children had become, because it seemed their great plan was slowly coming undone.

All day long, the four children had sat by the bay, patiently waiting for their ship to come so they could sail away. For today they had intended, to sail to world’s never known, and never pretended.

But the sun had slowly faded, and their eagerness, like month old milk, had become dated.

The youngest Ellis of Yellow leaned upon William of Green who sat nestled, as if in bed, beside Logan of Red. And all of them rested upon, Kylie of Pink who carried upon her shoulders the weight of the kitchen sink.

She thought, “How has this day become so long? I cannot remember when the sun last met the breaking dawn. Nearer now seems that the sun shall be set. And, oh no, oh no, the goal of our task is not yet met. What, now, shall we do? Will we be able to save the baby in blue?

The growing doubt made her pout. But the day had not always been this way. They had set upon their adventure with the eagerness of four children at play.

In the early hours before noon, they sang songs in the cheeriness of an inspired tune telling stories so true, of the little baby who had come wrapped in a blanket of blue.

But for a while, the singing had stopped. And all they heard was the ticking of the clock.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The dock rocked. The children lulled. Their spirits dulled. From each other and the task, they were pulled. Away. Away. Away. With what reason had they started the day?

Then all of a sudden, the voice of the youngest started budding. And like a young flower the voice grew, and the attention of the elders, it drew.

Slowly, the sound became profound. And little Ellis of yellow, with a voice deep and loud, both loud and proud, sang about the quest they knew, the quest to save the baby in blue.

“Oh little baby, strong, strong, strong, in this world may you play, long long long. For it is the quest of the Courageous Four to find the healing cure that will give you strength to endure, dure, dure.

We, the Courageous Four, are sure, that life, for the baby in blue, has tons more in store. So baby of blue, we, the Courageous Four have come to save you.

It is I, Ellis of Yellow, an interesting and artsy fellow, the son of sunshine, who must keep the spirit high in low tide.

And Logan of Red, a boy bold of heart, who has become the protector of peace, defending us from danger right from our journeys start.

And William of Green, a boy curious, wise and smart, is our man of mind, the scientist who will guide us with reason through the duration of our journey’s time.

And last of the four, is Kylie, the lady of pink, a girl bold enough to think without the slightest eye’s blink that we four children can achieve our mission so long as we believe that what we do will save the Baby in Blue.

So trust, trust is a must, as we sit on the cure’s cusp. Little baby in blue, this we ask, stay strong, strong, strong, so long, long, long that we are on our task. For we dream of a day when the Four will become Five. And that means, Baby in Blue, that you are still alive. ”

Ellis of Yellow had uttered the final word, and the silence of night was the only sound left to be heard. And in the silence, the four children found relief, for they found a renewed sense of belief.

So the Courageous four let go of the day, the day they sat by the bay waiting for the ship that had never come to take them away.

And letting go was for the best, because now, quite at peace, on the dock, the children came to rest.

And as they rested, high up in the sky, the moon was shining bright, shining its light down upon four dreaming children sailing away in the night.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day and Night: The Looking Glass Perspective

The reflection in the looking glass - it is a contradiction of sorts, for how can a thing appear to be completely itself while being the complete opposite of itself.

The looking glass creates, what appears to be, an illusion. The illusion is created by the looking glass’s reflexive, almost magic, properties that enable a person to perceive a clear image of self.

In life, sometimes, we encounter people whose presence provides us with this reflexive perspective. A contradictory perspective, so to speak – of something being the opposite and the same.

If our lives were Shakespearan plays, we would call these people our character foils - a person who is quintessentially different yet remarkably the same as the other. And because of these contrasts and parallels, foils provide a lens for creating a more definitive image of a person.

It was 5 am Tuesday May 11. Sleepy-eyed, and sleep deprived, a mob of blue-Asic clad zombies (also known as Hockey players) slowly trickled their way to the American Airlines check-in desk at the San Diego Airport.

At 5:05 am, the elevator doors open.

In walk, Day and Night. Both stand a little over 5 feet tall. Day’s shoulder length, sandy brown hair is pulled back into a tight, perfect, ponytail. Her shirt is pressed, the collar folded over and the edge tucked into her dark blue jeans.

Night stands beside her. Her long bleach blond hair lies in a tousled mess of a side bun. Her shirt, wrinkly fresh, looks as though it came right out of her travel bag; the collar, like Night’s hair, goes in every direction. I was unable to see if Night’s shirt was tucked in, because I was distracted by her jeans - fade-washed, zipped, frayed, black Joan-Jett skinny jeans.

I look back to Day and her dark blue, simple, jeans. Day and Night are polar opposites, I thought.

Or are they?

At 6:20pm Thursday May 13th, as the USA plays Argentina, two players substitute into the game for their first international cap for the Red, White and Blue.

Onto the field run Day and Night.

Onto the field run Marta Malmberg and Kelsey Kolojejchijck. Only now, their differences aren’t as pronounced.

And it is not because of the uniform.

It is because of the look in their eyes.

It’s the look of determination. The look of pure, relentless determination to succeed. Whether that means defending Luciana Aymar, the reigning best player in the world, or running a fifty yard tackle back to break up a dangerous counter attack.

The same raw fuel burns inside Day and Night. The raw passion to fight – to scratch, to sprint, to dive – the passion to do whatever it takes in order to prove that they belong.

Marta Malmberg and Kelsey Kolejejchijck, Day and Night, on the surface appear to be opposites, but if you take a deeper looker, maybe they are more alike than then they appear.

Or maybe not. Kelsey will continue to wear her Joan-Jett jeans and Marta her Gap-esque ones.

But somewhere, in the counters of their reflection, you see the image of the unyielding, competitive fire burning inside both of them.

Congratulations Kelsey and Marta.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Voice

This is my first draft of a video submission to become the next Nike Field Reporter for Nike Women dot com. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What I Learned in the Land of Orange

For one night, and one day, the world turned orange. The people gathered in the small cobble-stoned streets of the city by the sea to hail the queen of the little land. And they all wore her color. The color of her passion, red, combined with the color of her lightness, yellow, to create the symbolic Dutch color of the Royal House of Orange.

And so, on this night, April 30th, as they do every year, the army of orange amassed in the streets of the Queen’s city, Den Haag, smiling and dancing, embracing their freedom.

And for what purpose did the people dance?

Well, in anticipation of the birthday of the Queen’s mother. For, in a time not too long ago, the former Queen Julianna (mother of the current Queen Beatrix) on her “verjaardag” gave her people a gift - she gave them the gift of celebration. And by sharing the celebration of her birthday with the people of her land, she broke the barrier between the Royals and the common man.

And now, as this holiday known as Queen’s Night and Day has become embedded in the vibrant tradition of the Dutch, it seems to have evolved – for there seems to be nothing to celebrate other than celebration itself.

And celebrate, the Dutch do. My own eyes have beheld their spectacular celebration as they swarm the small, cultured, historic streets of their nation with the wreckless, happy, abandon of people content to be alive.

I have seen how, in the backyard of Van Gogh, and before the steps of the Rijks treasure chest, the people cluster to hear the trumpeting beats of a modern day music master; not Bach or Beethoven, but DJ Tiesto. I saw how, as the bass boosted sounds vibrated the ground, the people of orange floated happily through the air.

It was as my body perceived the sensation of the celebration, as my ears trembled to the beat of the dance and as my hues of red and yellow melted into orange, that I realized the people of this little land by the North Sea have let me in on a secret.

The secret of life. The secret of pushing its boundaries by living freely for oneself while sharing the celebration of oneself with others.

For this world, turned orange, is the world that made me become myself.

It’s interesting that one of the most common mistakes Dutch people make when speaking English is in the use of the verbs “to learn” and “to teach.” For example, if I were to teach someone something, they may say, “Rachel learned me that,” instead of “Rachel taught me that.”

On one occasion, I asked the reason, and I was told that there is no equivalent in the Dutch language for the English verb “to teach.” At the time, I took this answer for what it was, and questioned no further.

Now though, as I reflect back on my two year experience in Holland, I find the absence of the verb, “to teach” very significant. For nothing can be taught that cannot be learned. The act of teaching is meaningless unless what is being taught is learned, and only the receiver of the teaching is empowered to learn the lesson of the teaching.

So essentially, teaching is futile unless the individual learns the information. So the word to teach could be deemed meaningless.

(Sorry, if I have confused you with this brief exploration into the philosophy and logic of language, but I found this concept incredibly relevant to my Dutch experience.)

You see, I had been taught many lessons through out my life - wise nuggets of valuable information about how best to live - but since I had never learned these lessons for myself, I had never been able to live by them.

But, learning is a journey and in the past two years I have pursued that journey, knowing that I will never be, as long as I am alive, fully-wise. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t travel the course of becoming so.

In two years, I have learned a little bit more about life, and the importance of embracing it and sharing it. I learned that I had to get to know myself, so that I could live for myself and ultimately, share myself with others.

When I left America for the first time in September of 2008, I didn’t really know myself. And in order to learn who I was I had to explore the limits of who I could be. And that took time, courage, mistakes, openminded-ness, and persistence.

At first, in Holland everyone was a foreigner to me, as I was even a foreigner to myself.

Now, now, though, something is different. I trace back through the last two years. I have danced with them on the streets celebrating their royalty; I have eaten with them in their homes; Shared laughs with them over drinks; Embraced them with American hugs; I have allowed them to see me, at my finest, and my worst.

Yes indeed. Now, something has changed. I realize, I realize that these people who once were just foreigners to me; now, now, they are my friends.

Their friendship has changed me. Because neither them, nor I, had to open up. We didn’t have to become friends. But we did. We shared our lives, our thoughts, and most of all our laughter. It is the friendship I found here, in this little land by the sea, that has enabled me to grow into myself.

And in knowing myself, I have learned that we are enhanced not by our similarities but by our differences. So we must accept who we are, share it, and celebrate it. Whether we wear Orange or not.