Open Hearts

The cliché about a small town is you know everything and everyone. By far the simplest part of my day yesterday was the boy who walked into my library, returned books, and asked how many he could check out. He’s the hungriest kid reader in the library, and we mutually agree he needs to stock up on books for the Christmas break.

Maybe 7 years ago, I laughed with this boy’s mother at a friend’s birthday party. Shyly, the little boy and his even younger sister crawled beneath her long skirt. I wrote his father paychecks the summer he worked for my now ex renovating the large yellow inn in town.

How little we really know, though — of each other, of our own selves.

I jammed so much into that day — hours of solitary work; a doctor’s visit with my teenager where she used her voice, ringing with the righteous truth of adolescence; an hour at a selectboard meeting with people I’ve known in one way or another for years, together in one room, united in concern for the future of the school and the town. The future’s unknown path hovers above us.

Outside the town clerk’s office — a former one-room schoolhouse — the moon shone in the cold dark, caught in the bare branches of a maple tree.

How time moves on — and yet it doesn’t. For a moment, I stood talking with a friend on the moonlit snow. Then she went her way. I went mine, home to daughters and an algebra problem with a flipped sign and the cats sprawled on the rug.

More reading recommendations from my father:

It’s the same with the wound in our hearts. We need to give them our attention so that they can heal. Otherwise the wounds continue to cause us pain… But here’s the trick — they also serve an amazing purpose. When our hearts are wounded that’s when they open. We grow through pain. We grow through difficult situations. That’s why you have to embrace each and every difficult thing in your life.

James R. Doty, Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart


Summer memory!

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