When I was a little girl I remember sitting down with my mother on the comfy charcoal coloured chair at our kitchen table and being shown a rather magical science experiment called the “levitating raisins,” trick. The levitating raisins trick involves placing five or so regular, run-of-the-mill raisins (I was a Sun-Maid girl myself; I liked the encouraging quotes on the packet) in the bottom of a drinking glass and filling up the tumbler with Sprite. As someone who enjoys the odd raisin, and as a child was pretty partial to any alternative to water, the possible leftovers for afternoon tea were already reason enough to trust another of mum’s wide-eyed ideas, and so as she placed the raisins in my palm, and I palmed the raisins into the glass I was enthused, if not a touch perplexed, as to what was about to happen.
Down came the lemonade, a tooth rotting waterfall on to the raisins and as I watched the thick fog of bubbles begin to clear beneath the warm sun of the kitchen light, I noticed one of the little brown specks of dried grape swim his way to the surface of the Sprite where he sat for a few moments at the top of the glass, no doubt catching his little raisin breath, before diving back down to play with his raisin friends (Joey, Chandler, Monica …) at the bottom; and just as he landed back at the base of the glass; up swam another.
I watched, transfixed as on and on they went, floating to the surface of the glass, pausing for a moment at the meniscus of the liquid, then descending back down to the depths of the Sprite until the fizzy drink slowly lost most of its fizz. I turned to mum in small-child astonishment (which I hope to never lose entirely) and demanded an explanation for her wizardry!
Mum explained, in that nonchalant tone of wisdom that only mothers seem to be able to muster, that the carbonated bubbles of the Sprite nestle into the folded grooves of the raisin’s skin carrying, or “levitating,” it to the surface. The raisin stops at the top as the bubbles pop and find their carbonated way out into the atmosphere then, once the raisin is de-bubbled enough; it sinks back down to the bottom.
Often times in my adult life when some areas seem to be “working,” and others “not working,” once the debris of frustration has settled, I think back to that afternoon (we’re about to take a left into Metaphors-ville, so hold on to your swivel chairs.)
I am someone who likes to have really good raisins in my life, I like to know that my glass is full of good things; good relationships, good work, good home life, good use of my passions, good adventures. However, I’m also learning that not all those things can be going “full bore,” as they say all of the time; that perhaps not all the metaphorical raisins in my life can be at the top of the glass all at once. That doesn’t mean they’ve gone away or disappeared, but it does mean they’re just waiting, collecting bubbles and energy somewhere at the bottom getting ready for its ascent.
Some people call this putting different things “on the back burner,” while others talk about “not having everything all at once,” but for me? I’ll probably always get the confused looks from friends when something’s not working and I just have to reply, thinking back to that charcoal chair, and the kitchen table that afternoon, that “I guess it’s just not the raisin at the top of the glass right now,” then sit back when something is working, and know it’s been the raisin that’s been sitting inconspicuously at the bottom of the glass slowly collecting energy, and bubbles, waiting for its effortless trip to the top.