February 25: My visit yesterday to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery continues to delight me. In a museum that rewards close looking, I was utterly enchanted by Larry Fuente’s Game Fish (1988). Imagine a leaping sailfish, with its dorsal fin fanning above shimmering scales and a protruding bone thrusting from its jaw. Now imagine fins made of hair combs topped by yo-yos and dominoes wedged between toy boats, planes and even a tiny stagecoach. See a conga line led by Cap’n Crunch and a parade of bowling trophy figurines and blue-chested action figures. Notice the fish scales made of tiny pinball games, dice and coins. Laugh as you spot dentures ornamenting the fish’s mouth and a dart resting in the doll’s hand.
Wait. A sailfish doesn’t have hands. I, however, applauded Fuente’s for his joyous creation.
February 26: I’m sitting at a sunny table in the library looking onto a field and a bit of lake. Beside me is an enormous tank with a diamondback terrapin called Luke and a steady stream of fascinated children. “Where’s Luke? Where’s Luke? There he is!” The tiny girl waved to Luke. And then she turned to wave to the little boy next to her. And then as she was leaving, she waved to me.
February 27: Even on TV shows we hear people humming the “Happy Birthday” song as they wash their hands in the lavatory. Yesterday, above the sink, the library offered me other choices for my 20-second timer: songs by The Killers, Fleetwood Mac, Beyoncé and — this is the one I’ve converted to — Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Kevin and I just watched the episode of “Ted Lasso” where the song figures prominently. The only challenge for me now — as I recall the scene and the song — is to stop washing my hands.
… And to get the song out of my head.
February 28: I wandered outside to fill the bird feeders and noticed perfect sunshine enlivening our backyard porch swing. So I grabbed my book and sat down. High overhead, the birds in the pines raised a din akin to last summer’s cicadas. Suddenly they quieted. I now could hear the splash of the fountain and the creaking of the swing as I glided back and forth. When the birds returned to their full-throated chorus, I wanted to call out joyfully with them.
March 1: I walked into my coffee shop and something seemed different. I found it: a shelf of ceramic cups and saucers ready for washing. We are tiptoeing back to — well, tiptoeing onward to a less disposable world.
March 2: Today, less than six weeks after I filed my application, my new passport arrived. (Way to go, public servants!) My brain is aflutter with a world of memories and possibilities. I wonder, oh I wonder, where I should go?
Bonus: Thanks to my wonderful bloggerfriends in New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Maine and Canada, I’m already whisking around the world.
- Enjoy an amazing Wellington, New Zealand, commute with Thistles and Kiwis
- Ju-Lyn in Singapore savors colorful, engaging art and orange yummies in Touring My Backyard
- Manja in Italy captures the view from her grandma’s window in Maribor (Slovenia’s second city) and a dozen other beautiful places in An Embarrassment of Riches
- Maine was a wonderland of ice and snow in Laurie’s Notes from the Hinterland and
- 100 Country Trek offers spectacular photos of winter in Canada.
Consider visiting them from your armchair.
March 3: Yesterday, while searching through an old file cabinet for my birth certificate I found a file labeled “emails” in my mother’s handwriting. Inside was a cache of correspondence between my Dad and me, written in the handful of years before his death.
Imagine an envelope of old photos capturing family vacations, school events, work triumphs (and disappointments), and just, well, the delights of living.
I thought I didn’t journal in those days. But maybe, actually, I did.
p.s. I needed my birth certificate yesterday because I didn’t have my passport. Had I procrastinated just one day on my substitute teaching forms, my passport would have landed in my lap and the creaky old file cabinet would have stayed permanently closed.
Bonus: I was chatting with a friend about asking for help. I believe most of us long for a chance to be kind — to do meaningful acts of kindness — but something stops us. Maybe we think our help is too small to matter. Maybe we think the other person (so tough, so independent) would resist. Maybe we (read: I) just don’t slow down enough to imagine how a tiny loving gesture might kindle a little bit of comfort.
As I thought of this, I had a vision of a community of saints waiting to be deployed. Waiting to be asked, waiting to be welcomed in, waiting. Cancer, for all of its horrors, gives people a chance to tell you they love you. Cancer jolts us out of our waiting.
I also know, from personal experience, that allowing ourselves to be loved is an act of great humility. When I had breast cancer, humility eventually seeped into me like chemo through an IV. And suddenly I was awash in love.
I also believe, in a world of war, sickness and fear, that every act of kindness to one of us is a tiny prayer for all of us. Be kind in some small way today. And tomorrow. And tomorrow again.
Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!
If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!