charms

When I say that while I was meditating today, the best thing happened, I mean it.

I was seated on the anti-fatigue mat that occupies the floorspace just in front of the kitchen sink, my back tall against the lower kitchen cabinets, facing the dresser we use as a butcher block. My attention was tuned to to Andy’s voice reminding that meditation is a benefit for all sentient beings. That’s when M crept up to tape her homemade question box to the Julia-Child style pegboard that holds all of our pots and pans.

A question box is, in our case, a small box (one formerly holding sticks of butter), turned inside out and taped back together, with a small slit cut into the top. From what I understand, you’re supposed to write a question on a piece of paper, then put it inside the box, and await the answer. 

She Scotch-taped the box to the wall with a single piece of tape, using the purple handle she’d fashioned, and then ran off, skipping. I settled back in for a moment. She came back within the same minute, bringing with her another small piece of tape to reinforce the first, and didn’t stop there. Trotting off to grab one more piece for the tape triptych, I peeked with one eye and watched her smooth it all down to make sure it was secure. She reached over to tap my shoulder and framed the question box with both hands, smiling. Then, she placed her head near the front of the small box where she’d glued a small piece of pink felt, and brushed her cheek along it’s softness, sharing this with me as one of the features of this new creation. I nodded in silence, smiling as I closed my eyes again.

This was my dream. I always wanted a house covered in treasures. Stickers on bunkbeds, jewels in doorjambs, masking tape in places that one wouldn’t expect. Little reminders someone was here. Secret messages not meant for me. This is everywhere and it is present now more than ever as we inhabit our home in this new way. There’s wear and heavy tread on every surface. The kitchen becomes a yoga studio, the girls’ bedroom a gym. Our limbs touch the walls when we reach out to stretch, we lift backpacks zipped tight around giant dictionaries. Tonight, the other three turned the bedroom into a wrestling ring. Mania ensued.

Before the question box moment, which was the second best of today, I was lost. I was inside my phone, looking for my feelings. I put my phone down, looking for different feelings. I went to the big kitchen window, looked outside for my feelings. I saw the pair of mourning doves, looking from side to side, seated atop the things that used to hold up the other sides of clotheslines. Partners. I looked at them, looking out maybe at me, maybe just looking.

Later, I got outside and looked closely at leaves, at rain being cradled in big fat drops on the top of them, total miracles. I took the side street that passes the garden that’s open on Saturday and Sunday mornings and I saw a hummingbird. I watched her zip, inky black with a yellow throat. How did I see this detail from 30 feet away? She hovered from flower to purple flower and then off again. I stood in stillness, waiting. I watched for her to return; I was that woman, standing in front of the locked gated garden, unable to wipe her tears because don’t touch your face, etc. She came around again, because a hummingbird gets hungry. She sipped and sipped and then she was gone.

Once, while breezing through the hospital halls in the Bronx, I pointed to a framed photo of a hummingbird. That’s me, I told Sarah. She agreed.

I am not always a hummingbird, but I am pollinating. I am trying to bring the stickiness of the flowers to you, deliver it to you quietly and without fanfare. I want to keep bringing you sugar, making more flowers, figure-eight wings beating fast, heart racing. Sometimes, I am flying.

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