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The Moment After Section :: Page 5
Are fresh starts really possible? Three weeks after the annual big one — the new door of Jan. 1 — the question seems urgent. This is the time of year when I teeter between hope and despair.
Snow is an artist of great attention. Overnight, it drew perfect circles on the rims of our empty flowerpots. It chalked a fat line across the pitchfork’s handle, and dusted every rusty tine.
Time, is that you knocking? At the door this time, Time, three sharp raps from the oldest knuckles in the world. Another year by, Time? Really? Why, I remember you at last year’s door.
Life feels fragile when it’s bundled into boxes, especially when it’s bundled into boxes marked “FRAGILE,” a poignant convergence of packing parlance and metaphor.
For me, though, the heron was the total heart-throb, the show-stopper, the bird of birds. His rosy neck and blue-grey shoulders rippled like water; he was water flying over water, an awesome feat of paint and metaphysics.
I love this painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, and last night — I saw it. Out in the world, I mean. Something better than it, even.
The best response, which isn’t actually a response, is to live as wisely and deeply as you know how. Each of us has one life, and it’s ours to live. The French have a phrase for this, naturally. It’s “vivre la vie,” living life.
What is it about space and death? Our human lives are so small, so brief. We’re mayflies born to live one day, or one second, or not even one, in cosmic time.
The first time I headed to the polls, I was six. It was 1980, a watershed year in national politics, and my elementary school held a mock-contest among the three candidates.
Finally, hunched over in supplication, I practically clawed at the next Docker-clad salesperson I saw and got the beautiful specificity of “aisle nine.” At that moment, no words in the English language were more splendid. Aisle nine. Possibly the world’s shortest, most perfect poem.