“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Preserving magic

Something else that sits on my desk.

The corner of a creamy blank Polaroid - I had to work hard to keep it unexposed and shoot out of the camera; an SX-70, I think, or maybe the 600 that came later. I just remember there was something I had to do to keep it from turning black, or maybe I'm wrong, maybe it was easy. It's been a million years ago & truthfully all I recall is that I had to something to keep it this way. To preserve that lovely piece of blankness. The phrase is cut from a magazine, and together they anchor a calendar page that says Dare to be naive. I forget the author - Buckminster Fuller, I think - but I love the advice, so I keep it right there where I can see it all the time. Coming from the kitchen, right there in full view, sitting at the computer, right there in full view - anywhere you move around in my teeny little house, pretty much right there in full view. Dare to be naive. Hard to do, really, in this age of being oh-so-cool. Nobody wants to be naive - I'm in the school photography business, I can swear to this. Kids hit a certain age, boys especially, and suddenly smiles are just not the thing - heads have to be cocked to the side, chins thrust a bit forward, eyes attempting to be hard. Attempting, but not really succeeding, so in a hurry to be rid of childish things, things they'll later wish they'd preserved.

Such an introspective mood I'm in these last few days. It's the winter, I think, that makes me so - later, I'll blame it on the heat of summer, but right now, I'm blaming the cool air & the gray skies, the need for shoes & socks when I'd rather be barefoot. But you can't force seasons, or people, or even events - they have their own time, and their own pace, and, really, they have their own loveliness, their own magic, their own beauty. I have a leftover image from this past summer - a blue flower from Mary's yard - I was going to post it, a bit of brightness for this melancholy week, but it was too much. Too garish, too bold. We have to ease into those colors, and remember that this is the time of almost-there, almost-gone. We have to preserve these moments, this time, and not hurry. If I look back at this week, I see all the heartbreak - the days seem to be tinted with heartbreak - but there are moments to be preserved. The pink tulips for Mary's birthday, wrapped in soft lavender ribbon; white camellia bushes that look like snow; Maggie on a bench, chasing her tail around & around & around, the first time in months she's felt that playful; the sound of sleet hitting the windows, but only for a few moments; black gloves trimmed in lime green feathers, tickling my arms; Katie not wanting to open the birthday present I gave her because she loved the wrapping so much - she saved it for days. These are the images I will remember later. I will remember hugging Mary yesterday, I will remember that she managed a goodbye as I was almost out the door, I will remember the owl returned, I will remember smiling as I passed by Katie's staircase & flipped on her blue lights, thinking I needed to send her this video.

I never did - it was cold & I hurried in & I forgot.
For shame.
. . . your clock is tickin' on the wrong time . . .


  1. You are so introspective. More than anyone I read. (And I read a lot!) Seems like your mind is its own point and shoot camera. Pointing, flashing, recalling to memory banks. Needing to keep moving, as though time is counting down too fast for preservation purposes. Images flitting behind eyelids heavy with weariness.

  2. Dare to be naive reminds me of the Shaker song:

    It's a gift to be simple,
    It's a gift to be free,
    It's a gift to come down where you want to be,
    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    'Til by turning, turning, we come 'round right.

    My mother was able to do that. Be naive. Which is amazing for all the tragedy that laced her life.

  3. You are so Inspiring! Seriously honey, your writing is getting better and better. I am feeling for you guys right now, waiting for the expiration date. Glad to hear Maggie is better. I can picture Mary with those flowers in her arms. I'm sure it brought her much joy, she knows she's loved and that is the most important thing. Love you!

  4. you're so right about being here in this time, right now. thank you for writing it so poetically...now i need to go out and get some spring bulb flowers to ease us towards the coming light of spring...

  5. Brenda - Oh, I am and I try so not to be, to only think 2ce about things, and not 3 times. I take time to still my mind, to sit and not think, to keep an even keel, to keep some equanimity in my life. it doesn't always work. :)

    Paula - I love that Shaker song. Thank you!

    Christy - If only Mary had held those flowers in her arms, if only she had grasped the significance. We are past that point, and I was just grateful she seemed to know who I was.

    Julie - The tulip trees are budding here, and paperwhites are blooming, and while we are still in the 20s at night, the next few days will see temperatures in the 60s. 68 tomorrow. It is lighter when I leave work - spring is coming.

    :) Debi

  6. The world is full
    of forgotten dreams
    & hurried shames.

  7. Siiiggghhhhhh.

    I will wake up tomorrow a little bit more aware of the smaller but no less significant moments that might have gone unnoticed if it hadn't been for this post.

    Thank you xo


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