Saturday, February 14, 2015

Magic (and Cheering for you, Skillets)

My friends,

It's Saturday. Here we are.

This is something I have learned to say over the years because it's something I can always say truthfully. Here we are. Even if your burgeoning garden is overrun with weevils, or your jeans are so tight you can't zip them, or you accidentally poured orange juice into your bowl of cereal; and even if work was a disaster this week, or your best friendship is in shambles, or your finances are in ruins: we are here. We are here, and this is worth something, isn't it? Because even though "here" may be reverberating with dissonance and littered with disappointments, it is still teeming with little gifts. This what I discovered, for the ten thousandth time, when I took my camera with me on a walk a few days ago.

Cameras are magical things. They have a way have stripping the here and now of its dull familiarity to reveal unexpected bursts of color and patches of light, microcosms of intricate detail. If you ever tire of the world and feel your wonder at it waning, grab your camera and start snapping. Take pictures right where you are in the living room that is littered with toddler toys. Or, better yet, escape the stuffy house and go romping through the neighborhood. You'll be surprised what you notice.

You will notice, for example, a purple plant sitting in a patch of weeds. You will notice it because it looks like the plant your dad bought you a few years ago when you first tried your hand at gardening. You tenderly cared for that plant because it reminded you of your dad and it attracted dozens of beautiful butterflies. You remember how they'd sip the plant's nectar and then flutter off to tell their friends that you'd opened a neighborhood sweet shop just south of the rose bushes. Your purple sweet shop became the talk of the butterfly town.

You can't remember the plant's official name, but you remember it smells different to different people. Cherry, vanilla, and root beer, depending on who you are. It strikes you as the type of plant you'd find at the nursery at Hogwarts School of Magic, so you call it the Harry Potter Plant.

Upon sniffing the Harry Potter Plant you realize it does not smell like cherry, vanilla, or root beer, and must not be a Harry Potter Plant after all. It is the Not Harry Potter Plant. Just then, a bee photo bombs your shot.

You notice that his torso looks much more dangerous than his fuzzy wuzzy head. He's part teddy bear, part torpedo, and he is hungry. Better not bother him.

You watch him stick his head into a particularly nectarous cup and wonder if that is how you look when you eat Ben and Jerry's. Probably. Bless it.

You can't help but wonder what flavor that nectar is. Peanut butter cookie dough? Strawberry ripple? Whatever it is, it must be delicious.

Ah, look at those papery wings reflecting the light. They remind you of the time you were eight and you made paper human-sized wings. It was blustery outside and you connected them to your back and ran down the street as fast as you could, hoping for lift off. It never happened. Making paper wings that actually fly is very tricky.

Up the street from the not Harry Potter Plant, you find the most beautiful blossom tree.

You could take pictures of blossom trees until the cows come home, which is likely never, given the amount of schmacon in the Jackson family fridge.

Blossom trees remind you of your childhood. They also make you want to quote poetry, so you google this poem by E.E. Cummings:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Around the corner from the blossom tree you find a patch of daisies.

Their centers look like galaxies. Who knew. There's a patch of silent galaxies just down the street from you. You've driven past it a thousand times without noticing, and now it's making you exhale deep and slow. Woooooow. Wow. Wowowowowow.

Eventually, your grumbling stomach will alert you that it's time for lunch. You will sling your camera over your shoulder and walk back down the hill, which is a very short trek. You've only walked 300 feet in one hour.

As you walk, you will notice the sun shining on your back. You'll breathe in the sharp smell of freshly cut grass and you'll wonder what it would be like to take a bath in the breeze. And then you'll notice you are humming, quietly. Here you are, and you are here, and now you know why the birds are singing.

A friend texted me this last week: "Cheering for you, skillet." It is my new favorite closing greeting, and I will use it forever and ever, you home skillets of mine.

So here we go: Happy Valentine's Day AND Cheering for you, Skillets.

-Sarah J.

© by scj


  1. How delightful! Like reading Milne or Grahame . . . . This Skillet is cheering for you, too. :)

    1. Oh my goodness, what a lovely compliment, Julianna! Thank you for it and for your cheering.