SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS YOU CAN
WITH YOUR MOUTH SHUT
AND YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN
When I was in elementary school, a teacher said I was like a sponge, soaking in everything around me. Hmph. What young girl wants to be called a sponge? She wants to be a graceful gazelle or a strong lioness.
The fact that I was awkward and quiet and shy probably helped with this comparison. I did watch and I did listen but not so much for story material (I think that occurred naturally) as for just trying to figure out how to maneuver and exist in this pre-teen world. I thought if I paid attention, I could figure out the rules - the ones everyone else already seemed to know - of the game. Well, I sort of did, but by then I realized I didn't want to play that game anyway.
Turns out, I liked being a sponge. Still do. I look at it this way - the gazelle usually gets eaten, and while being a strong lioness would be pretty cool, she has to deal with the drama of other lions and hunters etc. I prefer to soak in all that's around me - the color of the sky today, the way Mrs. Larry lifts her head to look at me when I talk to her, the smell of stale garlic, the way Larry's shell feels when I run my fingers over it, the smile of the old man who waves at me as he walks his fluffy white dog on the other side of the street.
Today, be a sponge.