Thursday, October 30, 2008

A list of moments of beauty and delight

I keep a journal. Kept one since March 19, 1981, which is about 2/3rds of my life – wow, that astounds me. It’s roughly over 2,500 pages of description, opinion, lament, self-examination and rant. There’s a lot of rant in it. Well, I was 15 when I started.

I know this sounds self-absorbed but periodically I will sit down and reread portions of it. Sometimes I meet my former self across a page or take some pride in a line well written. Mostly I relive a moment in time I temporarily forgot. A day out with friends. A particularly good meal. Seeing something funny or ironic, poignant or pungent that I alone experienced. After that Fire in 2000 that upended my life, I was so traumatized and so grateful to be alive that I recorded long lists of moments of beauty and delight I kept catching in the off moments. It was as if something had to prove to me just how wonderful and worthwhile the world truly was.

Here’s the list:
• Stopped at a light and watching a flock of wind borne leaves flow, stop, turn and fly off like a gang of ducklings chasing each other across the street
• The taste of tender fresh mango slices at a Korean deli
• Walking outside in what first appeared to be large snowflakes but were actually large glops of sleet clumped together
• Finding random poems that instantly spoke to me of my situation (John Donne’s A Burt Ship, William Blake’s “Terror in the house does roar/But Pity stands before the door.”)
• Fog on a road so thick that when I stopped at a double light, it looked like a solid mass – a big monstrous thing with two green eyes set to swallow my car whole
• The glimpse of a large beautiful doe by the roadside fearlessly eyeing me drive by
• Tripping over coincidence after coincidence after coincidence
• Drifts of rime ice piled on cars making them look like they were covered in cotton balls
• Rediscovering a poem I wrote years before on a bookmark in Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
• The taste of tender chicken
• The pleasure of watching The Third Man and The Passion of Joan of Arc on dvd.
• On a cold night, watching TV in bed, dressed in sweats, wrapped in blankets and not caring if I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. or not. (I did)
• Biting into a lemon slice and feeling it spray
• A woman with amazing grey colored eyes
• How on a clear night the snow covered landscape made the world look like it was made of white moonlight
• The tracks left in the soft powdery snow by our ancient cat food stealing possum.
• Wrapping Christmas presents and letting myself enjoy the holiday season.
• Good wine on New Years Eve.
• My mother, father and I laughing ourselves into hysterics over some stupid joke
• The softness of my mother’s hair
• My father’s laugh
• How good an 8 hour sleep felt after a 5 day about of insomnia
• Standing at dusk on a street corner in NYC and seeing a pink cloud, reminding me of the Crab Nebula, slide behind a skyscraper as David Sylvian sang on my headphones.
• How my godson Colin always dives into the books I bring him
• How Emmy Lou Harris’s album Red Dirt Girl grew on me
• How happy I get when I hear David Gray’s Babylon or U2’s It’s A Beautiful Day on the musak at work.
• Accidentally getting Van Morrison’s joyous Domino on the car radio when I needed to relax
• Reading Diane’s ever inappropriate boob joke from an email
• Being surprised by finding the things I bought after the Fire and forgot and stored in the garage.
• The first breeze of spring blowing on the hairs of my bare arms.
• Memory of a forgotten dance and a kiss by candlelight
• Liking the people I work with at my new job
• Hearing that I was missed at my old job
• A meal of salmon with capers, mashed potatoes and garlic broccoli at a new restaurant I discovered
• Crepes on Shrove Tuesday
• Remembering I still owned a favorite book
• Re-reading the reissued Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll
• How silent the house was when everyone was gone
• Seeing the moon and Venus together so unusually close in the sky that they looked to be heading for a collision