Green.

September 27, 2012 § 6 Comments

In one of my earliest memories, I see a crowd of hostas beside a squat brick stoop in Pearl River, New York.

Sunlight streams through their variegated green and white leaves, making them glow as if from within.

Awed by their vivid aliveness, I do the only thing I can think of.

I tear off a leaf and eat it.

I still remember thinking, this is what green tastes like.

Although I no longer taste green so literally, green is what I turn to when my life force feels dim.

My mother and I had a long-standing debate about God’s finest work. She contended it was us, human beings. My vote always went to the trees. To me they possessed a deeper wisdom, a steadfastness, that made us seem shoddy by comparison; the paper cup of creation.

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A million snowflakes.

September 20, 2012 § 12 Comments

We all remember moments when life turned a sharp corner.

We walked out a door, and when it closed behind us we knew we’d heard that sound for the last time.

We left a place called home, never to return.

We said a goodbye that was never followed by a hello.

Last times, first times. Those are the moments we remember as we look back over our lives.

But there is another kind of time that shapes us. It gathers quietly, imperceptibly, like dust on a windowsill.

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Something real.

September 13, 2012 § 7 Comments

In some of my clearest memories of my father he is seated at a desk, poring over a ledger illuminated by the circle of light from a desk lamp.

In addition to being a chemical engineer, my dad was an investor.

Diligent, conservative, patient. He kept an eye on his investments day after day, year after year.

He didn’t take the gains to buy a fancier house, although he could have. Instead he reinvested, sometimes in his kids–my sister, brother and I all went through college without student loans–but most often he plowed his money right back into the market.

I’m sure, he had some kind of talk with my brother and sister about his will, but it was probably not quite the same as the one he had with me. My career choices have always favored the interesting over the profitable.

I remember him looking at me over his glasses and saying, “Use this to keep yourself safe.” Safe meant, don’t blow this on a fancy car or a world cruise. Use it as a fallback when you’re too old to work. When disaster strikes, it will be there.

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The geometry of self.

September 8, 2012 § 12 Comments

I was terrible at algebra, but not so bad at geometry.

Geometry came with pictures.

Each geometric shape seemed to possess a personality, an attitude.

As I walked the neighborhood this morning, thinking about that most personal of possessions, the self, geometric shapes began to appear in my mind, each an illustration of a particular self.

Sometimes the self is a sphere. Round, fully inflated, it rolls along, self-contained and confident. The sphere, with its ability to move with little resistance, looks ambitious.

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