The other day, my younger daughter asked me what I would choose if I could I pick two talents. Talents? I thought, wondering at the unusual use of the word. She told me, What I would choose is to make clouds and to fly. I want to be a bird, she said.
I love this in my child: she didn’t stop where I would have – imagining a bird’s flight. In the book I’m writing, turkey vultures come and go, and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time metaphorically transporting myself into that wide wingspanned flight. But never have I imagined making the clouds, creating the literal landscape of sky around those creatures. In so many ways, I see my child’s life as fuller than mine, not diminished by the pieces I’ve outlined: chores and work and writing and pleasure. For this child, her life is still all one unfolding tapestry of landscape, and her longing to fly is just one woven element of the mystery’s enchantment.
… we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hardest movement…
At most we’re allowed a few months
of simply listening to the simple line
of a woman’s voice singing a child
against her heart. Everything else is too soon,
too sudden, the wrenching apart, that woman’s heartbeat
heard ever after from a distance,
the loss of that ground-note echoing
whenever we are happy, or in despair.
Adrienne Rich, “Transcendental Etude”