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My childhood home was in a very windy city. There was a wind chime outside my window, and I hated it. It seemed like it never stopped ringing, and never made a song.
But I haven’t lived in that house for over three years now, and I think we took the wind chime down a little while before I moved out, so it has been a while. Today, I was walking to work, when the wind blew just enough for some wind chimes to make themselves known. In the midst of distant engine noises, a few notes sounded out, and it was beautiful.
The head of my bed is against my window. My window looks out over a fairly busy intersection. From my bed, I can see the cars stop and the lights change.
My eyes are bad. I usually wear glasses, but not when I go to bed. I go to bed, I take off my glasses, I rest my head on my pillow, and I watch the cars stop and the lights change.
When I watch the cars stop and the lights change, I see headlights, brake lights, and stop lights. While everything else fades together, the lights become four times their actual size. They aren’t solid anymore, either. When I look at the cars stopping and the lights changing, it looks like one of those artsy, out-of-focus pictures of lights.
This impediment, this disability of sorts, this insufficiency, this failure of my eyes to do as they should, it turns what I see every night as I fall asleep into artwork. And it’s something I cannot share with anyone else, because only my eyes do exactly this to those brake lights and those stop lights. I cannot capture it just as it is by taking a photograph. It is art that only I get to see.
Being me, no holds barred.
Whether it be the result of three years or three minutes, there is something wonderful about being comfortable with a person. Knowing that you can say what you want to say and do what you want to do and they will love you. They may laugh at you, they may give you one of those looks, or they may join you, but they know it is a result of you being you, and they embrace it. When they are so comfortable with who you are that you can’t help being comfortable with yourself, too.
Tonight, at a poetry reading, I sat behind a child sitting between his parents. Shortly after I sat down, he reached both arms up above his head to his parents’ heads. He ran his fingers through their hair. He held his mother’s hair up to his face, feeling it in a different way. This simple motion – touching of hair – was love.
The way a door with the little doohickey (that thing that keeps them from closing too quickly or opening too easily. I never have been sure what they’re called or what they’re for.) closes – slowly, with resistance, then shutting resolutely – always gets me. Sometimes those doors test my patience, but they usually make me smile. The noise they make seems to personify a struggle. The weight of the door fights against the resistance of the doohickey until it is finally overcome, at which moment the door sighs with relief and relaxes, feeling accomplished.
That clunk makes me proud of the door.
Rain drops on window panes. Whether there are three or three thousand, the world looks more beautiful when there are tiny drops of water clinging to the glass you’re looking through. Something about the distortion of shapes. Something about the rain lingering when it has stopped falling. Something about light and water and the elements right on the other side of that pane of glass.
I babysat for a new family tonight. When I got there, the oldest boy was over at a friend’s. The mother had informed him that I would be babysitting tonight, so she left, knowing he’d come back in a little while.
As I was putting dinner on the table, he stormed into the house. I said hello, he responded, and I could see he was crying. I followed him into his room, where I asked him what was wrong and he told me. His friend had been mean to him, and he shared the details as he cried and told me exactly how he felt.
We didn’t even introduce ourselves. He was hurting and he told me, point blank. His willingness to trust is a beautiful thing. We lose it as we grow older, understandably, when the brokenness of the world shows itself. But children, they know what it is like to be in unbroken relationships.
My journal goes with me almost everywhere. I throw it in whatever bag I’m taking with me, just in case I need to stop and process something by writing it down. I’ve had it for slightly more than two years now, and today, I decided to look through it.
Each page is covered in a different color ink, and I remember which pens held most of that ink. The ink makes up sketches from when I decided to attempt to be an artist. Brainstorming about a paper on King Lear. Cues for Torrey Theater lights. Notes from a lecture or two. Quotes and thoughts from three weeks in England. Battles with myself and battles with God. Despair and utter joy. Praise, contemplation, thoughts. Lyrics and Bible verses.
Two years of my life in a green and brown plaid book, purchased at Target on a whim. Writing and looking back on what I wrote create a rhythm in my life, and I am glad.
The two of you don’t say many words properly. You drop letters everywhere, add letters where they don’t belong, and try to explain yourself using words that are most definitely not English. But your words stay with me. Hours later, instead of a song stuck in my head, there are your words. I remember your voices better than anyone else’s. There is more love in your “Rahrin” than anyone else’s “Robynne,” and I’d much rather hear you ramble on in words I can’t understand than listen to someone I do understand. I love your words; I can hear your smiles in every one.
A small room in a small campus in a small town.
A semester of work, or maybe longer, for one, two, three, four students. One week in that small room.
I take a minute or two, five, ten, to look. Various projections of various perspectives of various people.
I so often make a point of finding beauty in the everyday, but sometimes beauty is there, produced, intentional, just waiting for me to walk in.