Tuesday, July 19, 2005

the fortune from the cookie

You find beauty in ordinary things. Do not lose this ability, the fortune from the cookie said.

What was beauty yesterday? Hot, worried yesterday? Beauty was still there. Beauty was white: a big spill of hard, raw rice on the sidewalk; miles away, a smashed bird egg—broken or born, I do not know. Beauty was why, filling in those mysteries.

I do not have a child yet, maybe ever. I do not have anyone to look at me and demand my time, my care, patience, and calm. In that stead, I try to remember the child I was. I found an old black and white picture. I am four or five. It was Halloween. I wore a leotard and sheer skirt my mother made. My mouth is open—my mouth was always open—missing some teeth, holding a wooden star wand. It was warm, the Georgia backyard my father fenced in to keep out the canyon (it didn’t work). I believed I saw bears, rode side saddle on my swing set horse, climbed trees, caught lizards, sang in the tire swing thinking a man would drive by and discover me, wrote in my book, badly misspelled (my mother had taught me letters): I am going to be famous.

I stuck a copy of that picture above my desk. I am trying not to let that girl down. I am trying to live my life to make her happy, make her proud.

Women who want to lead extraordinary lives already are, my friend Lauren says, miles away in New York, one year away from finishing school, going into the world. Half of life is intention.

You know I believe in signs. But more than that, I believe in the world, in earth, in the woods, in people, in beauty to be born from us, still.