Oh, how curves have changed my life! As a child my rigid, Germanic father indoctrinated me into the universal truth that straight lines ruled.
Mowing the lawn was a two-way, straight-lined affair, and if any wayward grass clippings remained, the rake was required to be used in the same direction as the cutting. (Those darn April showers caused me to hate raking).
Of course, the only way to insure a proper garden was to stake each end, run a string across and edge to the proper perfection.
Straight lines dominated me in other venues – I couldn’t throw a curve in Babe Ruth so I was relegated to the outfield. Why bother trying out for high school baseball … those bothersome curves were too hard to hit.
Then came geometry and the beauty of the straight axis and the proper shapes. But, oops, then came pi and those awful circles, ovals and ellipses.
Straightness was my middle name. Maybe my first lapse in my regulated life came in our high school play, “No Time for Sergeants.” I was the hillbilly (because I spent my summers in the hills of Kentucky where my mom was born). During performances, not just practices, Rick and I ad libbed our way through scenes that drove our director crazy.
Life really started changing as I matured. Lo and behold a beautiful left-handed woman threw me the most audacious curve our senior year in college. She said “yes” and my straightforward life started becoming inundated with curves.
Now, I didn’t have to work down my agenda list starting with number 1. In fact, it was OK to do something that was not on the list AND I didn’t have to finish everything on the list. (I didn’t tell her that if I did something not on the list I would add it later, then cross it off – sometimes proper order had to be maintained.)
Then in graduate school I learned of geometries that had curved axes and that Einstein and subsequent experimenters had proven that light travels along curved lines. What was happening to my world! My symbolic logic professor became my mentor and guide while I wrote about intuition – the incongruity didn’t strike me until later in life.
Of course, when we bought our first and only home, the gardens had straight edges. Then dear friends introduced us to the beauty of the curve and contour. Flowers could have a cacophony of colors and did not have to have the military regimentation that I so enjoyed when I served on a college drill team. As gardening became a greater hobby for me, so did the curves and contours of creativity.
When our youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and died 2½ years later, I learned a far more profound lesson about curves. Grief is not linear; it does not go through preset stages. Grieving is wavy and curvy – just like life. So now in my retirement years I relish the yin and yang of life: the curves and straight lines, the creative and the logical, the soft and the hard. Now that is real beauty.