December Sparkles

When I was really little — probably three or so — I vaguely remember my family parked outside of town, watching the Fourth of July fireworks. My mother said the sprawl of lights in the darkness was Santa Fe. That’s how little I was — I didn’t even realize that magic was city lights. We lived on a dirt road then, out of town, and my guess is I hadn’t seen much of those bright city lights.

Oddly enough, I remembered that as I was taking out the compost the other night, just around 5 o’clock. The sun had sunk, leaving not even a smear of pale pink.

In the darkness, later, the dishes washed, my daughter and I walked around town, our jackets unzipped.

Nothing ever begins when you think it does. You think you can trace something back to its roots but roots by definition never end. There’s always something that came before: soil and water and seeds that were born of trees that were born of yet more seeds.

Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion

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Cat Joy

When I returned from a school board meeting last night, so tired I might actually have been sleepwalking, the kids had taken the trusty yardstick, swept out the toy mice from under the couch, and the cats were ecstatic. Our house was reveling in utter joy.

I write this, because I admire those cats so much, epitomizing the be here now bliss of existence. But, bless them, these are cats.

After Vicki wrote in about the fires in Australia, my older daughter and I kept reading and reading about these fires. Our globe is literally in flames. Like just about everyone else on the planet, I’m lacking an answer, a real solution. I know just how privileged I am to live in what often seems like the Shire of Vermont, this particularly sweet spot.

When I was a young woman in the 1980s and 90s, the sentiment I was given was pretty much an all for yourself one. But for my kids, that’s not even an option. I didn’t think adults were particularly bright when I was young, but they were just adults, neither more nor less. Now, listening to my daughters and their friends, I know they’re thinking what a mess you’ve left us.

If only there was a yardstick solution to this…

Maybe learning how to be out in the big world isn’t the epic journey everyone thinks it is. Maybe that’s actually the easy part. The hard part is what’s right in front of you. The hard part is learning how to hold the title to your very existence, to own not only property, but also your life.

Meghan Daum

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