The magic comes
in the form of gifts
I don’t know how to accept.
A blue jay clings to my office window,
a remarkable feather lays in my path,
the writing comes so easily.
I take them, apologize,
forget to show gratitude
until it’s probably too late.
Then the silence arrives.
No birds. No words.
I worry the magic is angry.
Right when hope fades,
the magic reappears.
The bird always returns.
Remember that blank canvas from several Fridays ago? Well, here’s what happens when someone who is incredibly talented, connected to nature, and beautiful inside and out gets her hands on it.
I was walking to my parked car the other day and looked up to see this red balloon stuck in a red tree. It looked so beautiful, and I thought, “There’s a story there.” The kid with her balloon after the birthday party, so outraged that with just one slip of her fingers, the tree took her balloon and wouldn’t give it back. Or perhaps she gave it to the tree, said, “Catch!” When she let go, the tree actually did what she asked it to. Maybe every time she walks by now, she smiles.
This picture is how I remember my childhood. I don’t know who this girl or dog is, but I’m struck by how deeply this photo reaches into me. I remember escaping into sleep, finding bliss in the rhythm of a dog’s heartbeat. Welcoming the bug crawling up my arm, honoring her curiosity. I lay in the fields near our house daydreaming about other places, other people who would love me, who would tell me I was okay and that I could be beautiful.
This week I built an eight foot by three foot canvas with my dear friend who is an artist. She is going to paint a picture for me that means a lot to both of us, something beautiful and spiritual and sisterly.
The process of making the canvas with her was so rewarding. We had a saw, drill, staples, canvas stretcher, and countless brackets and screws. What started out as piles of materials was, within a few hours, transformed into a blank canvas.
After we were done, we stood back and admired our work. She quickly grabbed a pencil and started sketching the shapes. And I found myself overcome with excitement for her, for art, for the potential made by creating something out of nothing. No matter how the painting turns out (thought I am sure it will be in-cred-ible), that canvas will always have a bit of magic in it for me.
There are times my life gets overwhelming. This week it happened when my husband was out of town, both kids got sick, bills piled up, milk was gone, toys were strewn everywhere, and then it started raining. All moms out there know this story. This just happens. It’s life.
I find that after I’ve come through the other side of these times, I need rejuvenation. It’s as if my spirit needs to take a breath. For me, that usually means time alone outside with my dogs. Yesterday we walked a few miles off leash, and it was as if all three of us were, for once, untethered. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and we were free.
After two hours of roaming along the San Francisco bay, Ben (pictured left) walked up to me with his big butt wiggling, and I captured this perfect little moment. We were both so happy. With his body, his ears, his sweet happy smile, he told me that he felt as great as I did.
We can’t speak to each other, but still somehow we manage to say so very much.
Last night we had sixty people at our house for a fundraising house concert. The weatherman had been calling for clear skies all week until the day before the party, when he said, “Whoops! Looks like a torrential downpour will unleash its fury one hour before your party!” Much of the party was set to be outside: bonfire, marshmallows, the whole thing. After spewing many unmentionable words, we decided not to panic. We rented a tent, lit some candles, and made the most of it.
The rain came with a vengeance, but so did the friends. We were damp and laughing about it, inspired by it even. Drinks flowed, the food was awesome, and there was a moment in the middle of the concert when I was looking outside at the rain falling under the streetlight while listening to two incredibly talented musicians play in my living room, and I felt that elusive feeling: happiness.
This sweet little flyer was taped to the trash bin at the dog park today. The first thing I thought when I read it was that I was the kind of kid who would have done something like this. I used to contemplate life for the dogs at the pound, how awful those hard, cold cages must have been, how much those puppies missed the warmth of their moms and litter mates. I anthropomorphized so much that I even worried about the trees in the winter. I imagined that their tiny, high up branches were like frozen fingers forced to endure months of deep freeze.
I hope no one told the child who wrote this lovely note that there are actually hundreds of thousands of “puppys” that don’t have homes. I hope instead she went home and felt like she’d done her part. The dogs will get wonderful homes, and she can stop worrying now.