This Being Alive Thing

Just start to write.

Write something.

Yes, another cup of caffeine might help, but can you just sit down and write?

I want to say a perfect thing, a brilliant thing, a funny and/or insightful thing.

Write.  Just write.

Okay, I am writing.  I am doing it.  The words are appearing as my fingers hit the keys, nothing short of magic, really.  Nothing I understand, except loosely—something way down in the deep unknown of myself sparks a thought & language, then moves to a keyboard & electrical signals, and of course, the Internet, whatever that really is.  I don’t understand it, but I use it.  Like many things in my life: car, cellphone, refrigerator.  Loosely understood but often used.

I’d like to tell you about my day.  The walk down the hill to the coffee shop with my girls, passing the farm-stand along the way, the one overflowing with delicious summer garden abundance: cherry tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, & sunflowers.  I’d like to tell you about my day.  The song we were singing–or was it humming?–as we picked a few blackberry jewels off a neighbor’s rambling bush and crushed them in our mouths in jammy tart bursts.

We said hello to landscapers pulling weeds out of a half-hidden yard.  We said hello to two high school boys slouching in the bus shelter along the curb, or rather they said hello to us, loudly, which made me think it was a joke I am now too old to understand.  We picked pale purple flowers from the broken branch of a hydrangea, ate salty potatoes (which we sprinkled with extra salt) and drank a latte (me) and sparkling apple juice (them) under the almost sunny sky of the little waterfront village we call home.

I can try, but I can’t fully explain, the shape of my girl’s face as she sits across the table from me and tells me she wants to get her hair cut to her shoulders.  Her face, almost like a pear, sliced in half, so fresh and available and full of every ripe sweetness.  Her eyes could be the seeds, brown and shining, glinting with the thought of herself seated in a real salon chair, being pampered and shaped into another realm of beauty and grown-up-ness, a 6 and three-quarter year old queen.

And my little one, the light-bulb two-year old, flitting about the outdoor patio where we sit.  Skinning her knee here, on the gravely ground, then again there, on the stone pathway.  She melts into a whimper and a cry but after a quick scoop into my arms, and three tender kisses on each of her ouchies, she is off again– “my tay (I’m okay)”, she says–running, moving, an unstoppable force fueling her from an invisible source, like ocean waves or the orbit of the earth, just going, spinning, being.  Without explanation or self-awareness.  Existing as herself, fully and completely, she is mesmerizing.

We go to the bank, then the library, then make our way back up the hill.

We don’t pass anyone this time.  We just march up, the sun now streaming down, heading for home, pink lemonade popsicles, and nap time.

We live in luxury.  We are queens.  We have sun and blackberries, skinned knees and imagined haircuts.

We have ourselves, each other.  We have the invisible source/force holding us to this planet, fueling us down and up the hill of our town.

I can’t pretend to understand it fully, but I use it.  Often.  All the time.  This being alive thing.  This fuel, this source/force.  It creeps into everything we are and everything we do.  It uses us and we use it, inseparable.  The world shines of it, in broken flowering branches, in trips and falls, in the hot hike up the hill home, to more salty potatoes and cold, ripe figs for lunch.


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