August 3, 2018 § 4 Comments
God stood by the side of the road holding a cardboard sign. HUNGRY, it said.
He’d written the word with the marker he’d put in his own pocket by conceiving of one…Let There Be a Marker. How solid it had felt in his just-as-solid hand. In use, the marker had squeaked across the cardboard; the ink was running out.
The marker was the only dry thing by this twilit strip of asphalt. Rain was pelting down. God’s hair dripped, and the rain ran its cold fingers down his neck soaking his T-shirt.
The last time he had come here clothed in flesh it had been hot and dusty, but like this, it had been vibrant in a way omnipresence could never match. Omnipresence was existence spread thin.
Being everywhere and nowhere had a lot in common. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 7, 2018 § 2 Comments
I want to be so new my own hands are a foreign land.
So new that light is a stunning surprise.
So new that the temperature of the world shocks me till I bawl—and then the sound of my own voice shocks me again.
I want a body that is still growing up, not down, one that takes me places I have forgotten about as an adult, or have come to take for granted.
I want to sit under the table surrounded by grownups’ knees, unnoticed as those grownups speak adult and pay no attention to their own shoes–but I will, in my secret cave under the table.
I want the line between what is real, and what is not, to blur, so that the imagined is so possible it tingles my spine, even if it puts that scary thing that huffs in the night back under my bed.
I want to be the kid, the junior partner, the one who sits in the back seat and whines.
June 18, 2018 § 4 Comments
Full-grown, we are generally in the 5’-6’ range.
We do not fly, so human eye level is our perpetual vantage point.
Those living things that are larger than we are, and there aren’t many, are viewed at that eye level. We see the trunk, but have to make a conscious effort to lean back and peer up into the crown of a tree.
Sure, we see full trees as distance brings them down to eye level, but distance obscures, generalizes.
To see, really see a tree…well…I suppose you would have to climb it, get up to tree-eye level. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2018 § 5 Comments
We live in a constant state of wonder.
The discovery we have hands, that water can splash, that sand yields to toes, that faces that vanish come back in response to the magic word “peekaboo,” that grasshoppers hop, all amaze us.
In our early years wonder has our full attention.
Time passes and the kid gets cool. Wonder, as available as ever, is often met with a shrug, a quick glance. Wonder requires us to stop. Stare. Forget everything else.
Frankly, we are too busy for wonder. We’ve seen it all before. Unless it comes with huge pyrotechnics we put any potential source of wonder on the slag heap of been-there-done-that.
As if it were an illness, we have built up an immunity to wonder.
But as we get old wonder comes slowly back. It catches our eye, briefly at first, but over time our attention turns inexorably toward it, until wonder pervades almost everything we do, see, hear, taste, feel, think. My husband says it is as if wonder invites us back in. Or maybe we are the ones who issue that invitation.
All I know is that sometimes wonder is so present I can almost fly on its wings.
March 2, 2018 § 4 Comments
As the physical therapist was teaching me an exercise to relieve the weird pains in my upper back I mentioned that years ago a surgeon had offered to fuse three vertebrae.
“Of course you won’t be able to raise and lower your head,” he’d said. “And you could be paralyzed from the neck down, but the chance is very slim.”
I thanked him and got out of his office fast.
“You know why he recommended surgery?” asked the physical therapist.
“Because he’s a surgeon.”
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The physical therapist, a man who wielded a different hammer, offered me a simple stretching exercise to fix the same problem. And it has.
December 30, 2017 § 7 Comments
Growing up, New Year’s Eve meant eating chili on the couch, watching the ball drop, and each of us declaring to my mother (the family scribe) our New Year’s resolutions.
All were recorded in an innocuous notebook with a cover the color of dried peas.
If we didn’t make them for ourselves, she did. My father’s made-for-him resolution every year? Lose ten pounds.
Looking at that book I see one made in high school, definitely by me: to sing as well as Judy Collins.
No one in the family lived up to those vows, no matter who had made them. From the get-go I knew this was a system that broke down somewhere between plan and execution.
But after leaving home I still made resolutions in a notebook of my own:
Write 25 songs, paint the living room, finish the novel.
The resolutions are numbered and everything.
December 21, 2017 § Leave a comment
Welcome to the blessed season of the universal excuse:
“I won’t be able to __________ because it’s Christmas.”
We fabricate and tender excuses all year long. I won’t be able to _________ because I am getting married.
I have the flu.
My car broke down.
My kid is sick.
Even when our excuse is legitimate, we feel as if we are shirking, because all around us the hum of busy people doing busy things reminds us that we are not keeping up!
Except at Christmas.
If we can resist the urge to wrap everything in sight in shiny paper, resist the premise that love requires lavish gift giving. If we can recognize the act of kindness on the part of the calendar and a long ago birth, we can, all of us together…
take a deep breath…
and look around as if we have just awakened from a relentless, whirring dream.
Because we have. « Read the rest of this entry »