collected thoughts, vi

One morning this past week, I spilled half a glass of chocolate milk on my father’s newspaper and my beloved copy of “Lila.” I censored my under-breath curse, snatched up a few stray paper towels to mop up the mess. If it had been coffee the incident would have struck me as being a pinnacle of success. Ah, yes, the coffee-drinking wannabe-butneverwillbe-intellectual has spilled dark liquid on a newspaper and a book. But, alas, chocolate milk only serves to be reminiscent of childhood fumblings that ended in tears and an “I promise I won’t do that again.”

*

Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell’s voice. Joni Mitchell’s lyrics. Joni Mitchell’s eerie croon. Thank you, Zadie Smith, for the recommendation. Of course the sun pours in like butterscotch. What else would it pour in as?

*

The neighbor’s cat is sitting under a bush to get out of the rain. Its sister is perched on the fence that runs around the field separating us from Bailey’s dairy farm.

*

Anna Kamienska wrote, “God is the present tense. That’s why it’s so hard to seize the moment. God is the eternal now. We either chase the past or escape into the future, place our whole hope in the future. Whereas faith, hope, and love must ripen in the present. That’s why we ignore time, waste it, kill it. We’re killing God.”

*

The buttercups are growing again. So are the skunk cabbages.

*

When my mother was my age she had a chestnut brown teddy bear with light cream and lavender paws, two fluffy pom-poms strung around his neck like a spring scarf. He’s sitting on my desk now, which was also my mother’s when she was in college. It strikes me as being a circle of love.

*

To return to the buttercups: I went for a long walk with my mother on a Tuesday. There were buttercups everywhere, and I couldn’t stop picking them. I gathered them into my eager hands, their bright yellow heads determined to usher joy back into my life. “You already have a lot,” my mother said as we rounded the corner and I squealed at the sight of a field covered with the little suns. “I’ll never have enough,” I said. And then, “This is a metaphor for idolatry.”

*

Does silence interrupt noise, or the other way around?

*

Everyone in my lyric workshop is writing about love. Maybe there is nothing else we could write about in times such as these — what is love, what does it look like, what does it feel like, what does it mean in times of separation?

Patience, perhaps. Love is patient.

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