Bent Words

Bent Words

March 07, 2008

Today I learned that I cannot worry over their every step.

They’re old enough now to make the journey on their own without an inquiry from me every few hours. They don’t need to be told to drive slowly through the snow and they are likely, now, to take it easy over possibly frozen overpasses.

I should not scold them for the heavy loads of firewood they carry (they might hurt their backs), the prolonged hours they spend in the sun (they might get heat exhaustion) or their silly antics when they’ve had too much to drink (they might regret it in the morning).

I should not live in constant anticipation of their follies – fearing they might fall on a slippery pier in summer or on icy steps in winter. They could slip in the shower or trip over a pair of shoes or hit their heads on the low ceiling of the space under the house… But I should not have to fight at night to push these sudden flashes of their frailty from my head.

They will be fine.

They might be just out of my reach, they might stir the worry in my chest to irrational degrees and it might seem, sometimes, that they’re growing much too fast, but I know that at some point I’ll have to let them go.

Until then, I’ll have to learn to worry less and simply love those two crazy kids – my dearest Mom and Dad.

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Today I’ve learned that I have a grey hair…

Which, upon further inspection, is actually white.

Which isn’t really a lesson learned but rather a disturbing insight.

The fact that I taped the damn thing to my mirror and labeled it with a dry erase marker, “My First Gray – No White – Hair, by LEJ” is perhaps an insight worthy of greater disturbance but I felt the moment had to be noted somehow.

I am currently rethinking that decision.

Tomorrow might be the day that I pluck that baby off my mirror and erase the label and replaced the words with something more positive, more inspiring, more… unweird (Laura Land).

Tomorrow, then, I will have hopefully learned that one grey (or shockingly white) hair does not an old woman make.

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Today I learned that some books, no matter how good they seemed on the first go, should never be reread.

They’re almost better there, on the shelf, with their new purpose to collect years and dust or to be recommended to a friend "as a good read" while you wonder which sentences you underlined or which words you might have circled.

It's better that way.

After all they’ll never be as good as they once were – when nights grew longer and the pages could not help but to be turned, the climatic suspense thrilling the imagination, that perfect sentence pointing its brilliant finger in your face, making you wonder why you had not thought of it yourself.

"It's a great book!" you'll say and you'll never be able to sell it or give it away.

They certainly deserve to be hungrily read – but only once.

If you dare go it again, though the years that have passed may be many, you will remember. You won't be able to help it. You may guard against it but you will anticipate the next chapter. You will hope for the same inspiration of perfect prose and hold your breath for that infallible form and you'll be slightly elated to see what notes you might have written in the margin...

But then, somehow, you’ll wonder why you went back.

There are just some places special enough, rare enough, that can never be duplicated or revisited.

So it seems better to leave it there on the shelf, remember how it was and know that somewhere, within those pages, perfection lay.

Written at 10:16 p.m.