Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rain Forest Butterflies

I have been intermittently bursting into sobs of joy for two days.  And even though I'm pretty sure now that some neighbor kid swiped that cash I still can't freakin' find, I feel happier than I have in a very long time.

I find myself pacing around with a lip quivering smile that makes me oddly aware of my teeth.  My arms are wrapped tightly around my waist but that doesn't stop shaking sobs of deep and tangled emotion from spilling out anyway.

I wish I could strip off this dress and run out into the yard in a yelling display of raw, naked feeling.  I would outstretch my arms and let loose a thousand Rain Forest butterflies into the world.  Giant, dog-sized butterflies that would fly right at you and scare you maybe but their huge, heavy wings are so vivid with saturated color brilliance they keep you from running away.

You would stand there awestruck and absently offer your arm so one could land.  You would consider it and wonder at all the splashing swirls of color that really shouldn't go together at all but somehow combine in a kaleidoscopic eclectic way that changes the reflection in your eyes for a few minutes.  Then it would fly away into the wide world not caring so much if it's invisible because it feels the weight of its own wings.  And that is enough.

But I can't do that because, y'know, neighbors and all.  So I pace around with words and feelings tumbling around in my head and I sit outside and write.

I went to the grand opening of the very first ever in the world of its kind handicapped accessible playground on.  the.  beach.  The boys and I stood in the VIP section because the outlaws are wicked connected and I said hi to the upper eschelon friends with whom I dabble sometimes.  And I basked in the irony of wearing a dress I bought for $14 on sale at Kmart while standing in the VIP section of anything.

And I wept openly at what this playground means and how it came into being.

A man I tangentially know stood on the Boardwalk one day and saw a child in a wheelchair look longingly out at the beach.  Because even though there were ramps going down there was no way to get that wheelchair through the sand.  No way this kid would ever know the aggravation of finding sand everywhere for days after a beach trip.  Or the reflective joy of pouring that warm sand from one hand to the other until it's all gone and you scoop up another handful and daydream out at the ocean.

This man was struck deeply by that because his own son has rapidly degenerating ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and it made him want to take action.  When you're one of the wealthiest, most powerful people in Pleasant Valley a fleeting thought can become a multi-million dollar reality in less than a year.

Maybe it was motivated by the desperate need to do something, anything for his son.  You can't buy a cure for a disease like that but you can give him back a day at the beach he loves so much.  And he proved that when you approach even the smallest idea with enough hope, love and passion you can create a groundswell of activity that will inspire thousands of people to get involved.  And that made my knees buckle on the beach yesterday as I cried behind huge sunglasses watching people who never could have before just sit in the sand getting bored.

I'm not going to get all soap boxey about diseases or causes or anything but for the purpose of sharing a mind blowing, inspiring experience of watching a wish come true...Pleasant Valley is Virginia Beach and the playground is called JT's Grommet Island Beach Park.  If you live someplace that has a beach, you should have one of these things because seeing something like that in reality will make you sob out loud with joy.

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