(today's word is DOVE)
There was a time when the word dove would conjure images of a lovely white bird winging her way toward Noah’s great ark with a laurel leaf in her beak. That was before I spent two decades chasing pigeons out of my family room when they tumbled down my chimney. We finally put a new chimney cap on, with a heavy duty grate over top-. But that’s another story for another word.
Dove is the soap on the shelf of our shower, mild on my desert parched skin. Dove is the sign on the rear window of the car in front of me, an auto tattoo for born again Christians. But in truth, dove with a capital D is first and foremost medicinal in nature. Holistic medicine, really. Chocolate, to be exact. Dark chocolate, to be precise. The nice thing about Dove dark chocolate is that it’s affordable and still pretty yummy. Dave has a serious relationship with dark chocolate Dove ice cream bars, which is a problem because for some reason we can’t find them in Utah. Whoever made the executive decision to only supply milk chocolate Dove bars to Utahns probably also thinks all Mormons are Republicans.
The other day Annie brought home a treat and set it on the counter before me.: a bag of Dark Chocolate Dove candies, the kind with the sweet little sentiments inside the foil wrapping. The first one I opened said Pamper yourself today. OK, I thought, as I popped the whole nugget into my mouth and let it melt between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Actually, that only lasts so long. Inevitably I seize the morsel with violent passion and chomp it down, my teeth grinding back and forth, my eyes closed.
The second piece simply said All you need is love. I’ve been saying that a bit lately, so I thought it was a sign that the songwriter stars were aligning me with Sir Paul McArtney. I savored that morsel.
My third piece of Dove candy had these words written inside: Daydreaming is free.
I held the chocolate in front of my mouth while I thought about that one. Thinking, and I don’t know why I would think this, that if I did not agree with the sentiment I should not eat the chocolate. So I convinced myself that the person making up those little sayings was running out of ideas and was looking for life experiences that don’t cost money. I hurried and popped the chocolate into my mouth before I pondered any deeper. But immediately after I swallowed I knew it was a lie!
I am a little perturbed by cute sayings that sound all sweet and perfect and witty, but are lies dipped in deep dark chocolate. Like this one:
God couldn’t be everywhere so he gave us mothers.
Seriously? God couldn’t be everywhere? And mothers can?
Daydreaming, I know from experience, is NOT free! I have proof. I have report cards that show the natural consequence of excessive daydreaming. I have lethargic muscles that gave themselves to daydreaming rather than exercising. I have piles of dishes in the sink and piles of junk on my counters and bushels of ideas swirling in my head, all the cost of daydreaming. I know people whose jobs were the cost of daydreaming. No, Mr Dove Candy Sentiment Writer, Daydreaming is not free.
And, by the way, neither is eating handfuls of chocolate. Even if you didn’t buy it. I have hips to prove that.
I must say, in defense of daydreaming, that I do find it necessary for the human soul, and used in moderation it enhances just about everything. Even when its not used moderately, it can be pretty amazing. Dave and I spent a lovely evening at the U of U watching a live interview of Stephen Sondheim, the celebrated composer/lyricist/playwright who learned his craft at the knees of Leonard Bernstein. I am a big Sondheim fan, and I was thrilled to hear some of his trade secrets and personal practices.
Sondheim, according to Sondheim, does his creating on a comfy couch, with a pillow on the end, so he can lie down. He has a stack of yellow legal pads and flat sided Blackwing pencils that do not roll off the pad of paper when he nods off. He lays down, he said, because it is the most comfortable position in which to fall asleep. He finds that the best songs come just after one leaves the dream state. After the ideas are born and slapped to life on the virgin yellow paper, then he moves to the piano. Sondheim’s genius is accessed through his daydreams. I wonder how many Sondheims sit at desks in our schools and we slap our rulers on their desks and tell them to snap out of it and pay attention? I think I loved choir and my creative writing class so much, because no one ever literally or figuratively slapped my desk in those sacred spaces.
I identify with Stephen Sondheim, and I feel validated by his practices. Dave, bless his heart, scoured the internet to find me my own Blackwing pencils and a pile of legal pads for my birthday one year. It was his very thoughtful gesture of permission to spend any afternoon I wanted lying on our couch, knowing that once in a while a song might come of it. And even if no song came, he would be ok with it. I am one lucky girl, I know. And although I have had my share of single digit royalty checks, they do come with some regularity. Not that the royalty is why we write songs. Dave knows, as I know, as Sondheim knows, that while daydreaming may not be free, sometimes it does pay off.