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Jewels

August 21, 2007

It’s early. Pearl screamed for an hour in her crib while I lay plastered, sweaty and sandwiched, between Aviva & Greg, both of whom were sleeping peacefully. The past few nights ushered in cooler temperatures, and I took out the down comforter we use in the winter, but it was way too heavy and I’m a hot sleeper anyway. Pearl is down to nursing once in the mornings, but I have a feeling that one’s about to go, too – it is making her wake up at 4:30am: Naaa-Na! Where’s My Boob???

As always, my time here at the computer is limited. I haven’t written anything in a while – do I ever sit down to write without those words? We were in Amherst for almost a full week. Each morning, I got up with Pearl around 5:00am and nursed her, then headed out into the cool dark to go running. My sister’s house is exactly three miles from town, so I would run, make a bee line to Henion Bakery, get a muffin straight from the oven (“Hey David, whaddya got back there today?”), then walk up the hill to my parents’ place for a cup of coffee and a ride back to South Amherst. It was a nice little routine, which is not to say I wasn’t ready for a day to sleep in when Greg showed up late in the week.

Themes? Ah, this is why a regular writing practice matters. So much gets lost without one. So many moments, funny or evocative or upsetting or insightful, occur every single day. (Each day is a life.) When I don’t write them down, they join that grey matter of daily life; they become like dreams vaguely remembered but essentially gone, fragments down the river. That might be just as well for the most part, but I know that some jewels go by, too, that would be better caught in a sieve of words.

At Noyes Camp, where my sisters and I grew up dancing in the summers, there was a wide gravel path where we would search for garnets. We would walk slowly, straining to distinguish the gems from the pebbles, but the effort repaid us when we brushed off rocks to glean that slight ruddy gleaming. Same with daily moments. Lots of pebbles, gravel, rocks, dirt and debris – and some jewels, some gems that require a little work on our part. For me, writing is the act of slowly walking the path, walking the daily path of paying attention. Or maybe living is that act, and writing is what happens after I pick up the garnet, slip it in my pocket to bring home, then later, when I’m finally alone, take it out to examine it, to polish it, to rub it between my fingers like a talisman.

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