Just when I thought it was safe to say I had never seen two shoes lost by the side of the road (as in last week's column), I saw a pair.
I was on a walk with my husband when he looked up and said, there they are. I said where, and he said up there.
Looking up, I saw two tennis shoes laced together, hanging from a power line. Hm-mm, the sight of those shoes struck me as a sardonically cute and nasty prank. Or, maybe they were a territorial gang sign used to mark boundaries as they do in big cities.
Further along on our walk that evening and nearing sunset, I spotted a rainbow of bed sheets with ends delicately lifting like sails in an autumn breeze. What an oddity in an apartment complex with coin-powered machines to wash and dry clothes.
I marveled at those sheets juxtaposed to our wi-fi world, where invisible networks, like the wind, download movies, television programs and other forms of entertainment directly to our living rooms with the click of a button.
To me, laundry hanging on the line is a picturesque display of both hope and economy. I love this so much that I took dozens of photos of laundry hanging from postage stamp verandas on countless high-rises in London, when I was there in May.
It was quite a paradoxical scene. London is the most global city in the world, where 300 languages are spoken. It's a place where some of the most sophisticated and complex business transaction take place every day, a city where Mideast oil titans spend not billions but "squillions" on the most luxurious homes in the world.
Yet, London is a place where people still hang out their laundry, counting on good old-fashioned fresh air to dry clothes, linens, blankets, towels and even pillows.
Speaking of old-fashioned ways of doing things, I still write in cursive. I print only when making a sign, such as "FREE" if I have something to give away at the end of my driveway.
Now, I'll bet you didn't know writing in cursive was outdated. Neither did I until this past week, when a 30-something person enlightened me. She told me that young people these days don't use cursive.
Aren't they teaching cursive in school? I asked. Yes, she replied, but we never use it. So why is that, I wondered out loud. Because printing is easier than cursive, she explained. This revelation caused me to have yet another "hm-mm" moment.
I beg to disagree, I countered. You see with printing, you lift your pen with every letter. But with marvelously supple ever-flowing cursive, one letter glides right into the next, creating a beautiful string of consonants and vowels.
My, how times have changed. More than 35 years ago, when we moved into our home, the highway noise was non-existent. But as the years have passed and economies have flourished, there is a constant throb of car and truck traffic in the backdrop of our otherwise serene setting on the edge of the South Dakota prairie. I used to abhor the traffic as unwanted noise.
However, I've gotten so used to it that it has become more of a purr to me, a scintillating crooning that tells me I am home. The traffic noise is now a pulsating almost rhythmic character that moves briskly, reminding me I am not alone and that life goes on around me.
2010 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took first-place awards statewide. To contact Paula, email firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.comand find her on Facebook.
2010© Paula Damon