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.
The world is always on the verge of being something else. Call it the temple/missile effect. I think the world’s drawn double, like an optical illusion.
Ahead in the dimness, I heard bells. A belly dancer was jingling my way, still costumed and ringing from wrist to ankle. She smiled as she passed, enjoying the sleigh-bell sound of her own trot, I think.
My legs were pumping at a rate that suggested the Rabbit’s “I’m late, I’m late!” more than the dreamy, psychedelically mellowed Caterpillar. Every time I noticed how fast I was going, I slowed down. That’s all you can really do: notice, and let your grip go.
More reliably than memory, writing holds the trace of who you were and are. Often this is talked about in terms of measuring the distance between the two.