Sunday, September 27, 2015

Woke up with a mosquito, two dogs and a moth. So much nature rattling around in my house. We all went outside and found the moon still up, the sun painting the bottom of the sky and the whistle-screech of a hawk echoing through my quiet neighborhood.

It was a lucky moment. The exact moment before the quiet of the night gives over to the buzz of the day. We live near the 5 Freeway and although we don't always notice the dull roar of traffic, it's hard not to notice it when it breaks the silence. I have this image of cars lined up to the south and to the north of my house. In each car, the drivers yawn and stretch before starting their engines.

On your mark, get set, go.

The car engines rev, the refrigerator starts to buzz, the cable box makes its muffled clunk and whir and the hawk flies higher and higher to escape it all.

Yesterday, my mom sent me a picture of a snake. She'd found the snake caught in a pile of things and had spent some time working to set it free. She felt guilty for the leaving the things that caught the snake.

I feel guilty for driving my car and for running my refrigerator. I don't water my lawn because I feel guilty for wasting water and then I do water it because I feel guilty for killing my plants.

Saving and setting free is a constant business.

The mosquito lives despite my attempts at destruction.
The moth has folded its wings for the day and the dogs have gone back to sleep.

I hear the rattle and thump of kid feet upstairs. Traffic outside the house and inside, too.

A helicopter has taken the place of the hawk.

As I make my way through a world filled with traffic, dogs, bugs and kids, I will try to remember that peaceful space between silence and sound. I will let that memory float me through the day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gathering around a table.

This morning, this message arrived in my email inbox:

I have hired Plycon Transportation Group to help me pick up and deliver the subject table. I noticed you are a published author and wonder if I can send you a check and have an autographed copy of your book "Leaving Tinkertown" . My grandmother who raised me when I was young suffered from Alzheimer and I could relate to your story. Besides, it’ll be nice that when my family comes to visit and sit at the table you sold me I can show them your book and tell them a little bit of history about the table they are sitting at.

What a small and wonderful world it is.

Here is the thing: this table has been sitting in my garage for months. It’s a nice table, one with what my interior designer friend calls “provenance,” but it’s too small for our family and our dining room. I’d researched what it was “worth,” but no one offered to pay that much and so it has stayed with us.

Yesterday morning, while on my morning dog walk, I happened to run into a friend. She was also walking her small dogs and while the small dogs sniffed each other and barked ferociously at larger dogs, we got to talking about all the concerns of middle age: insomnia, stifled creativity, clutter…

“I have these two chairs sitting in my painting studio…” she began. “They are worth a lot…”

“But no one is paying that much.” I finished.

“Someone offered half what I’m asking,” she said. “I should have taken it, right?”

What is more valuable: space or objects?

If she had more space, my friend could spread out her paints. She could work on a larger canvas and not worry about smudging the “valuable” chairs.

I told her about my table.

“I’m going to let it go,” I said.

When I got home from my walk, there was an email from the site where I had listed the table. Someone had made an offer. It was twenty-five percent lower than my already discounted asking price, but it was an offer. I countered with a 20% discount because although I am trying to purge, I am also working on creating firm boundaries. The buyer accepted my offer in a matter of minutes.

It was nice to feel like the universe was giving me an answer.

That would have been enough.

And then today, this email. A connection. The idea of a family coming together around my table. Our table. Sharing stories. Our stories.

What a small and wonderful world it is.