Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shooting Stars

I have a very vivid memory of laying next to the lake with you at night, hearing the small waves - really nothing more than ripples - lap just beyond our bare toes. We were whispering secrets to each other and counting shooting stars. We were exploring the wondrous souls of each other. I think at the time, I believed we were, on the one hand, causing the stars to fly across the sky, and, on the other hand, somehow being chosen to witness them. I felt we were powerful enough to move the stars, and entirely special enough to be seeing them in all their glory. There was magic within and around us.

The dew saturated our shirts, and I shivered from the brisk night air. We held hands. The counting and the searching and the waiting was like an addiction. I just wanted to stay for one more shooting star. That one, the next one, the one I had yet to see, would carry all my wishes across the night sky and land them in my lap. Of this I felt sure. Optimism? Superstition? Naivete?

That was a long long time ago, and now I sleep in the same bed with you every night. Though every once in a while (like, say, this afternoon) I feel that the magic that was so alive burned up in its flight to Earth, most days I feel certain that my wishes were truly granted. Because here we are together still.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The roots of the old maple in front of her happy yellow house rise right up from the ground and expose themselves. They render the sidewalk more dangerous than the street, causing great waves of cement to go spilling every which way. They bubble up from beneath the surface, claiming their space despite all efforts to conceal them.

Sometimes she'd stare at those roots from inside her home and curse them. "That sidewalk would be so pleasant if you weren't so damn stubborn," she'd think. "I could teach William to ride his bike." She'd imagine them slipping noiselessly back into the Earth, each crack sealing itself perfectly with the retreat. She'd think how nice and right it would be if only the tree were showing, and not those mounds of disturbed ground huddled at the base like anacondas. She hated the roots.

The tree rises up in great glory. It brings brilliant hues from emerald to crimson, it offers a hint of privacy from the curious passers by, and it offers the children shade for their lemonade stands. But the notion that roots are meant to be forever hidden below the surface is proven preposterous by that tree.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


When she was a little girl, trying to go to sleep in the log cabin became nothing short of torture. Her bedroom was cozy enough, with the Hansel and Gretel lamp by her bed, the ruffled curtains. She had a cup of water placed with care on her nightside table. She'd been tucked in sweetly by her parents, kissed lovingly on the top of the head. They whispered, "Pleasant dreams, honey..."

But as soon as she was alone in her room, the eyes in the wood began to watch her. Each log had several pairs of unfriendly, judging eyes looking right into her soul. They emerged from the knots in the pine. She'd slam her eyes shut and refuse to give them anything to see, anything to mock. But then, as if to prove her powerless, they'd crawl back in, this time in red from behind her tighly closed eyelids.

The eyes. They'd float as if on an ocean wave into her own mind's eye, and watch her. They were in the stars, under the blankets. They were in every passing car, imbedded in every tree branch, and they peered out from tiny babies. They saw her very soul, and she couldn't escape them.

Later, in her teens, she'd learn too late that the neighborhood boys had been peeking through the gap between her pink pull-down shade and her windowsill while she got ready for bed. She felt shame at the thought of them huddled outside in the darkening evening, eyes carefully watching her sing at her naked reflection in the full length mirror on her closet door. She'd been rehearsing for the moment when her fame might come to fruition, and she'd thought she was all alone with her big dreams. The eyes had come back for her though, only this time they had mouths and fist pumps and story-telling and laughing whole selves attached to them. They weren't just eyes in the knots in the pine this time.

Now as an adult, she sees eyes all around her, and she's begun to wonder at the possibility of all alone.