Every little thing

Originally the fifth bedroom in this townhome served as a small nursery off of the master bedroom, but somewhere further along in history it was turned into a walk-in closet. Luckily, before moving in, I donated over half of my wardrobe. Instead of filling the room with more clothes and shoes, I’ve decided to store my yoga things and my zafu on my side of the closet, and bring them out here instead of in the living room as I would have done in our last home. Living with intention has started in earnest with a larger space with less objects occupying it. There is room to rest your eyes, there is room to sit on the floor and think of nothing for a while.


For a long time I wrote with the hopes that every syllable might bring about a creative epiphany, or at the very least, something that could be extracted and published. This is what writers are taught that matters most. If your heart has been broken, or if you meet someone caustic or eccentric, they can be fuel for that blue fire of creation and output.

I’m ready to just sit. I have other outlets to put my writing skills to good use that fulfills me. This is a relaxation space. I hope the only thing that comes out of it is me, more aware, more mindful, more compassionate.

We don’t have a dishwasher in this place, and what’s resulted has been a lesson in mindfulness for all of us. Xander helps more with the dishes; before he would load his own but now he helps us wash, dry, and put away. Sometimes we have a line of the three of us, one washing, one drying, one putting away. Even when I’m doing dishes by myself it’s been a calming experience. The soap smells nice, the water is warm, the porcelain plates are smooth and cool to the touch. They are here. So am I. That is enough.


The quote on the chalkboard is of course Bob Marley’s. We sing “Three Little Birds” every  night with Xander before he falls asleep. I hope he never grows out of this, as he grew out of clutching his little “stones” each night. For a few years he held a piece of smooth rose quartz in one hand, and another piece of jade or fluorite in the other. Before the “stones” he used to have George the monkey with him. There were actually two identical Georges. One was the main one and the other the backup, in case George #1 was lost. George #2 was called “Georgie” and he used to fuss if we tried to give him Georgie instead of George. he said he knew the difference, and he couldn’t sleep without the real George. Just a year or so ago he admitted that he himself couldn’t tell the difference between the two monkeys, he just liked having us search for the other one. The art of the bedtime stall is one of that kid’s best tricks.

Recently, I saw a news story about a man who spends his life making elaborate cairns in the Smoky Mountains. He balances huge river rocks to impossible heights and arrangements, finding balance in the space between rock, earth, air, and his hands. On Saturday I attempted a few myself, and although they’re small and a little silly, I felt a smoothing in my chest. It’s good to know that there are little things that add up to big things, and things that will stay little.


more about the fireflies

There was something else I wanted to say, before I forgot all about it and my brain filed it away To be opened & remembered on a rainy afternoon in May, 2020.

I wanted to remind myself of how they flew. How they flashed. How at first, only the common fireflies were out, the ones we see in our yard all summer. The ones that flash indiscriminately in neon green. The ones that smell like grass and humidity and ozone. They came out first, and danced for only a little bit. Some boys whose families had spread out by the riverbank tried to catch them, which bothered Xander quite a bit. The rangers said not to catch them. Can we swim after the fireflies are done?

Soon it grew darker, and quieter, and the fireflies that we knew went away. We wondered if the person who used his flash scared them off, if that was the end, if we had hiked all the way from our campsite to sit in a beautiful clearing in what used to the be front yard of a 1915 mountain resort cabin…and if that was the end.

Of course it wasn’t the end. A blue one came out first, and flashed and held his eerie blue light on for five seconds without pulsing. He was soon joined by a green one, then a gold one, then they showed up by the fives, tens, dozens, twenties. Xander said, It’s like a play, that’s all. The not rare ones like the ones at our house come out first and now the rare ones come out to do their show.

And then more happened, all pretty, all magical. The hundred or so people all grew quiet, even the loud kids who were trying to catch the first fireflies became still and awed. Babies who had been crying, red-faced and mad stopped fussing all together. The stars dimmed a little to let the fireflies shine brighter. We were sitting in a small copse of trees, and the moonlight pierced the tree canopy above. Fireflies danced in and out of our little thatch of moonlight.

But I have to go now. I’ll tell you more about it later.