Saturday, July 3, 2010
Bits and Pieces
For years I’ve carried a pad of paper in the back seat of my car and a tiny notebook in my tote bag just in case I stumble upon a moment I want to remember. These moments are often so small and seemingly insignificant they risk getting lost in the clutter of my mind, yet they speak to a place inside of me that recognizes “special” even in its briefest form. I can only liken it to the sensation when a butterfly lands on my finger for a just a heartbeat, or a hummingbird stops inches from my face to stare me in the eyes and then is gone in a zip of wings.
Here are a few such moments:
Spider: The tires of my dusty orange VW Bug flatten dried oak leaves that carpet the parking lot. The leaves crackle and snap like blazing kindling. I park in the shade, turn off the engine, and roll the window down to capture a trickle of breeze. The scent in the air jogs a potpourri of olfactory memories from childhood, a mixture of the spray starch my mother used to use when ironing that made a scorched smell, and bubbling tar, and dust, and rhubarb snapped fresh from the garden.
Tumbling from an overhanging branch, a small brown spider drops with a soundless plop onto the hood of my car. Gathering herself together into a wobbly stance, she glares through the windshield at me with an “I meant to do that” stare, and staggers off on long spindly legs.
Ant: As I bend down to the water arcing from the fountain at the end of the trail, my eye fixes on a small cluster of twigs, the color of autumn wheat in Iowa, caught in the drain grid. There is a black spot on one twig that I imagine is a nothing more than a clump of dirt.
The cool water ripples over my dry lips and quenches my hiker’s thirst. Drawing back, I notice the speck of dirt move, showing itself to be an ant. I apologize to the ant for my mistake. It shrugs its minuscule black shoulder as if to suggest it is used to being mistaken for a bit of dirt, and slips quietly beneath the spongy end of a twig. I feel curiously saddened.
Flower Power: They sway in the breeze, three sisters sharing a communal terra cotta pot, Coral, Rose, and Angora Sweater Pink. Like wrong-colored daisies, they reach, bend toward the sun, and beckon a low-flying iridescent hummingbird, seducing her with their vibrancy.
Eyes closed, the neighbor’s tiger-striped cat bats gently with soft paws at dream birds in her sleep as she lies curled around the pot on the warm brick patio.