Greetings on the eve of a New Year.
(Unless you’re devoutly Jewish and celebrated the New Year of 5772 back in September).
Recently Rose was grating ginger—one hard-won sliver at a time—and she looked up proudly from her tiny pile of brown shards and said, “you might want to get your camera and take a picture, Mama.” And I laughed because it’s like that. Dan comes home from work and the kids giddily bum rush him at the door while I run the opposite way for my camera.
Sometimes I worry that in trying to record the moment, I miss the moment. When I began a writing practice in earnest 14 years ago, I started carrying a small pocket notebook to capture the details. One day, at the Durango Soup Kitchen, where I’d go for lunch and character study, my friend Alberta, who was 84 and routinely (and controversially) hauling home garbage bags bulging with donated baguettes for her alleyway pigeons, was telling me a story.
I frantically tried to record everything in my notebook: Alberta’s vernacular, how her eyes would crinkle up when she smiled, the way she always wore a knit hat even in June, how fellow soup-goer Phil would sit down next to her, remarking on something and Alberta would scowl, “WHAT DID HE SAY?” And it occurred to me that there was just the tiniest bit of irony in this frenzy to record The Now while it was being served, warm and fresh, like cookies from the oven.
And it’s still like that. Sometimes I’m driving and the kids are having the funniest, or most poignant, or sweetest conversation in the back seat and I want to etch it into my brain, to scan it in its entirety into my mental hard drive, because of course, of course Dad, I am not going to write it down while driving. And so I remind myself to just appreciate the humor, the poignancy, the sweetness of the moment. But, still, it tugs at me.
This blog is a repository of The Now – a place to store the details and the ordinary sweetness of our days. Writing this blog has been a tool to help slow the fast moving train of our lives long enough to see precisely how the morning sun glints off the sooty smokestack. Some days, most days, I need that.
So thank you readers for being here, for coming back, for participating. A most beautiful start of the new year to you all.