Sunday, April 6, 2008

Snowglobes


It's a bright sunny spring day. My friend and I walk into Sharper Image. She makes a beeline to the massage chairs, deposits her bags unceremoniously on the floor next to the biggest, softest, black leather chair, collapses into its silky depths, and gives a sigh of relief that seems to be audible throughout the store. Smiling inwardly, I steer myself in the other direction, towards the shelves of small gadgets. No massage chairs for me. I won't waste my time now on stuff like that when there is tantalizingly uncharted territory to claim...

After the first few minutes of browsing mildly through the latest utility knives, alarm clocks, golf ball retrievers (?!), ipod speakers, 15 foot tree pruners, and the like, my eye ironically settles on something so unremarkable, I wonder why it has caught my attention. Curous, I walk closer to the corner shelf, crouch down, and inspect my find. It seems to be a snowglobe. A bit more oblong than the usual spherical shape, flat on the bottom where it rests on the shelf, filled with water and miniature items. But something is wrong. It isn't pretty. Far from, actually. Tiny particles of dust or debris hang suspended in the water, an algae covered, stiff, spiky plant is submerged in the flakes that cover the bottom of the globe, and the the off-colored flakes themselves are of the last things remimiscent of snow. Weird... In Sharper Image?..... There's gotta be some kind of shtick here...

I pick up the globe, relishing its weighted balance. In a smooth snowglobe-y motion, I swirl it upside down and rightside up. But...instead of the glidey swoosh of the flakes that usually happens in normal snowglobes, this snowglobe goes... CLUNK

Huh?

Apparently this is no snowglobe.

I put down the orb, and only then do I notice the modest, but quite noticeable (why hadn't I seen it before?...) note taped on the shelf just underneath my "snowglobe":

"Please Don't Disturb Our Ecosystem"

Oh my. And I had succeeded in doing just that, apparently.

I peer closer. The water is now quite full of particles, but now they are whirling tiredly instead of just suspended. The plant is askew, swaying slightly, tails of algae undulating in the swirling current. The things I had thought of as dirty flakes turn out to be gravel, and--goodness!--there are little living beings swimming here too! Teeny tiny shrimp-like fishy things, and seemingly terrified from the rate and direction they're swimming. Yikes. Disturb the ecosystem I definitely have just done.

Feeling oddly foolish and more than just a bit bad for my poor pertrified friends, I glance around to see if anyone has seen me and my blatant misdeed. Thankfully, most of the other patrons are enraptured by other, more exciting items than ecosystems. I breathe a sigh of relief quite a few decibel levels lower than my friend's, and glide away from the scene of the crime.

Over on the far side of the store, I rest my elbows on a shelf of electric toothbrushes and let my thougths swirl over me like dancing white flakes. But it's only when I come home much later and stand in front of the sink with my own (manual) toothbrush in hand, that the flurry seems to settle, and in doing so, bring thoughts into sharp relief suspended in the globe of my mind.
My life is chock-full of snowglobes.
We all have our own little orbs, neat little packages of plexiglass, filled with all kinds of interesting goodies. For the most part, our snowglobes have similar contents, but each individual's contains something--or multiple things--that makes it special and unique. Snowglobes are interesting. They're made to be. They're meant to attract attention, to call out to us, to beckon to us, for us to notice and take interest in and learn about and cherish......but they also come with neat little notices posted in plain sight right near them, warning us to be careful. And if you act like I did, being curious and trying to learn more and be helpful without remembering to have a careful look around first, you run the risk of missing the signs. And the stakes are quite high. Because it's more than just algae and fish that are disturbed when we're dealing thoughtlessly with the snowglobes in our lives...

Pay attention.
Look. See the sign? This is a whole world I'm touching now--a real, living, breathing, thriving ecosystem. Careful....
Neshamos beckon. Go, help.
But handle with care.

19 comments:

Bas~Melech said...

That was great. I'm still grinning about the image of you in Sharper Image... did that really happen? (you may be disappointed to hear that SI is closing many of their stores)

BTW, just a personal opinion: Your prose talks to me so much louder than the poems.

frummy said...

Great post! I could totally imagine that happening to me :), but of course I couldn't connect it as beautifully as you did.

Ezzie said...

That was great.

Sometimes our globes need a little shake, just to get things stirring. It lets you see what's buried underneath a little clearer, and it settles back in a way that might just fit a little better.

No? :)

Ezzie said...

[But always, do so with care.]

StillinShidduchim said...

Wow. That was a beautiful, albeit frightening, message, written so well, in such a palatable way. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Scraps said...

I'm always left a little breathless by your insights...deep, girl, deep. It's true, every person is an entire world--"kol hamekayem nefesh achat meYisrael, k'ilu kiyam olam malei." And some people's ecosystems are more easily upset than others'...

pobody's nerfect. said...

i like you.

sorry, that's all the response i could muster up right now.

but shokoyach. on the post, not on disturbing the ecosystem.

BEHIND A SMILE said...

Hmmm ... Makes me think! Love the way you bring the mandane experiences into a life lesson.

corner point said...

Bas--
Thanks :-)
Yes, it did. I used some extra details for effect (d'you think I really remember if I saw golf ball retrievers then? Of course not, I just wanted very Sharper Image-type goods...)

I hear your opinion, and I agree somewhat. I like writing in prose too, but sometimes its poems that come out. Can't be picky. But the poems are for venting mostly.

Frummy--
Welcome! New face! Come again, anytime! And thank you :-)

Ezzie--
That's the thing. These can go on forever. I could write about one parallel for days.
This world is COOL...
:-)

SIS--
My pleasure. That's why I write...to reach out and help who I can...

Scraps--
Agreed...
But...deep? Barely scratched the surface there...
:-P
Seriously...

Po--
"Shkoyach, they already used this one!"

Smile--
Thank you
:-)

David_on_the_Lake said...

oh gosh
you know..in billions of years these creatures will be talking about this incident....abou the event that shook up the world and made hundreds of creatures extinct..
lol

G said...

While the overall message is very nice i can't help but see the flow as being slightly flawed.

You made a switch from non-globe globes, back to regular globes, onto personal "globes".
The problem is that snow globes are supposed to be shaken up. Ecosystems...not so much.

--again the message is well taken.
--I see we're back to looking for meaning in strange places :-)

corner point said...

David--
LOL!
Seriously...Wonder if that's how the Great Flood came to pass...

G--
What's a non-globe globe...?

You're right, snowglobes are supposed to be shaken up and ecosystems are not. My point was that everyone's personal "globe" is an unknown, uncharted thing that should be approached with care. And you gotta read the label next to each one. Some ppl are tough and you can do what you want with 'em, but others (most ppl, actually) are more delicate and you have to be more sensitive. They're meant to be interesting and fascinating and reach out to you so you can interact with them, but the amount and level of interaction depends on what the signs say...

The meaning of the post is obvious. The nitpicks are issues of semantics, my friend...

(And..."back to looking for meaning in strange places"? I've never left :-P)

G said...

What's a non-globe globe...?
--My bad, the non-snow eco-globe.

The meaning of the post is obvious.
--True, said as such in my comment.

The nitpicks are issues of semantics, my friend...
--Well...yes and no. Would like it if someone in a position of athourity tried to convince you of something in such a manner? To some (not all, this is true) how you get there is as important as where you are going.

(And..."back to looking for meaning in strange places"? I've never left :-P)
--You need to get out more d-:

Shprintza Yenta said...

The problem is- that we, mere people, have no way of knowing which one will turn out to be the eco-system until we wreck the whole thing. In the "mashal" the wreck was your fault, because you hadn't looked properly, in life-the wreck isn't. So, you have two choices: keep getting to know people-with the chance that you might make a mistake, or lose the pleasure of examining and marveling at all the other snow globes out there.

Fish said...

Oh, so you were the one who rattled us around like that. At least you could have said sorry!

Anonymous said...

not coming up with some profound poems or insights anymore?

corner point said...

Shprintza--
Interesting point. But I still think that there are ways of searching properly for clues as to which ecosystems tolerate shaking and which don't...

Fish--
I did apologize!! Maybe you were too frazzled at the time to hear me
:-P

Anon--
Don't worry, I'm thinking and planning :-)

halfshared said...

How are you doing? I miss your great insights..

Anonymous said...

I miss your posts