This blog began, and continues to be, a catalog of my life’s most ordinary moments. Over the course of years, as I memorialized fragments of my everyday experiences, I realized that they were actually the most lambently beautiful of my life. I used to regularly write posts about these small moments, when I glimpsed the glitter of divinity, when I remembered, and powerfully, that life is beautiful.
I don’t know why I stopped, but it feels like time for another benediction of the little wonders that are all around me.
A Wrinkle in Time was my favorite childhood book. Grace read it last year and Whit just finished it. Watching my children fall in love with a story that I adored is among the most wonderful experiences of parenting. Whit in particular loved it and is working his way through the series now. I think he relates to Charles Wallace in a strong way.
A glorious sunrise from the sky en route to Chicago for the day.
A couple of weeks ago I played hooky for an hour to walk to school to get the kids in a blizzard. We walked home slowly, stopping to play in the rapidly accumulating snow. Both Grace and Whit were relaxed and joyful. I defiantly ignored my blinking blackberry and sank into their delight. There is so much magic here: we just have to let ourselves see it.
I love so many things about the organic geometry of bare branches against winter’s steel-gray sky, but most of all I love the way I can see birds’ nests that are hidden in other seasons. I am constantly struck by this metaphor: when things are stripped down to their most essential architecture the trust safe spots are revealed, these nests whose existence in a New England winter belies their apparent fragility. There is sturdy comfort in the most barren places.
We didn’t go away for President’s Day weekend as I had to work a lot, but we did do a Saturday day trip to our favorite mountain and skiied with some of our dearest friends. I took this picture at the top of a narrow, deserted glade as I watched my children, my husband, and two of the adults I love most ski down. I felt a powerful awareness of how incredibly fortunate I am.
In those moments, like at the top of the mountain or in the air watching the sun rise, I feel a soul-stirring sense of awe which I can express best with the inarticulate and inelegant “wow.”
In the last few months I’ve found this in the skyfire of sunset and in the glow of the moon rising, in the nests in bare trees, in the sudden, noisy song of dozens of sparrows even though I can’t see them, in the long shadows of my daughter’s eyelashes against her sleeping cheeks, in the words of poets and writers too numerous to mention.
Does this constant wow contradict the low note of lamentation that plays constantly in my life? I don’t actually think so. Maybe remaining open to the wow necessitates a permeability of spirit that means I’m also open to a certain sorrow. These are the two edges of the world’s beauty that Virginia Woolf described, anguish and laughter springing from the same single truth. I suspect I’m just joining my voice to an ancient chorus here, kneeling in supplication among a swirling sea of humanity. And we all whisper the same thing under our breath:
(I wrote parts of this in in April 2012, and every word is still true)
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