it’s hard to know exactly what you’re made of
but I am somehow connected to frost on the mailbox
and dozens of library receipts
airplane turbulence and philosophy lectures
the jump to the heart when a deer blows in the woods
and christmas lights
twenty-one years and still I am barely acquainted with wisdom
but the key (one key) is this:
the key is to stalk the planet like it’s a celebrity and you’re the paparazzi.
the key is to live as though you are begging the universe for an autograph.
and in the indian drum thunder or the blue cedar berries dripping dew
the question of a God-breathed child and the gravity that brings you back around
the universe takes up the pen
Well, it may not exactly be a true story, but it’s a sweet story. Watch the clip below and tell me you didn’t feel at least a tinge of emotion.
(Make sure to turn on captions by clicking the “CC” button in the bottom right corner of the video)
If you stop to think about the clip rationally it’s actually rather corporate. I mean, the product Google is selling is simply their search engine which has been around for 15 years. It’s bits and bytes of data.
But instead of highlighting the billions of terms and websites that are indexed, the algorithms that power the searches, and the incredible data centers that serve results globally at the blink of any eye the Google marketing team instead chose to highlight a simple and sweet story.
The result is the beautiful clip that can be seen above. The public agrees as well and YouTube reports that over 4 million people have watched the clip.
Then watch this real story about a 5-year-old boy who was separated from his family by an accident but then was able to find his way home 27 years later using the power of Google Maps.
To my adopted extended family,
It’s funny, because you’re sort of my real extended family because Michael married Emily. So since he’s my brother-in-law and you’re his family, it’s like we’re family-tied. I have the hardest time trying to explain that to people. But my heart really gets it.
I guess it’s kind of weird that I’m almost 21 and yet today I was playing leapfrog with you. It’s a weird I can live with, though. Because you are some of the best things in my life. And when I say “my life” I don’t mean right now. I mean ever. Always. You are the best. I never could have imagined our current situation- you and me and Michael and Emily all living on the same property, two minutes’ drive or 6 minutes’ walk away. It’s just one example of how God takes things that scare me (moving to the country) and turns them into things I adore.
I’m so sore right now. When someone suggested we play football on our knees, I had this thought that I probably shouldn’t ruin my jeans. But I played anyway. Because I can buy new jeans and my sore knees will be back to normal tomorrow. But this? This absurd experience of scooting across a sandy field on our knees and looking laughably stunted as we tackle each other is going down in the venerated book of Good Times.
When we played Red Rover (my first time since age 8ish), I squeezed your hands tight- partially to keep our chain together, and partially because you are my favourite kids and I love feeling like your sister.
When we made hot chocolate from scratch, I sang Pompeii with you and was glad of the cold weather and warm friendship.
I’m just so thankful for you. My family and your family and the joining of us through Michael and Emily. Thanksgiving isn’t for few weeks yet, but I find myself feeling this way all the time. When you hold my sister close, Michael. When you show me how itunes works, Josh. When you break the line of scrimmage to run and keep Caleb from shutting his fingers in the car door, Andrew. When you half-hug me whenever we pass, Sam. When you quote the same phrase 3 times in a row, Noah. When you show me sandcastles, Abby. When you say “Grace! You’re home!” when I get to your house, Caleb.
I love you. I don’t always tell you stuff like this because I guess I’m afraid you’ll think I’m sentimental. And I am. But I don’t care. I look at your dirty faces and I see your patchwork hearts and I love you with everything God has made me and all the ample love with which he has deluged my soul. I don’t know what time will do to us, but I hope to keep you close. You are my family now. You and your parents and the new baby who has yet to make an appearance. The Lord has done great things for us and I hope you notice even the tiny ones- the brightness of the day-moon in the afternoon sky and the sprinkling of leftover cocoa powder on the counter and the way people laugh when they feel secure. I notice them and I remember them and I keep them locked up inside me so that whatever happens, wherever we go, whatever we become, I will always have a piece of you with me.
Good times indeed.
Pardon me while I geek out about poetry for a minute.
Today I wrote a sestina. I’ve been meaning to for ages. The form has always allured me. It’s challenging- if you google “most difficult form of poetry”, the sestina comes up as the first result. The inhibitive structure forces a poet outside her comfort zone. Also, W.H. Auden wrote a sestina called “Paysage Moralise” which I greatly admire, so for all these reasons I finally researched the exact form and tried my hand.
Basically, the sestina is a fixed verse form comprised of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a three-line envoi, or half-stanza. The words that end each line of the first stanza have to be used to end the lines of all the following stanzas, but they follow a specific pattern. The pattern of repetition is too complicated to explain here, but you can probably figure it out by reading below. The established form of sestina developed by Dante and Petrarch, and incidentally used by Auden in Paysage, is in hendecasyllables, so that’s what I used, but variations of line length are relatively common. The oldest sestina was written around 1200 by the troubadour credited with its invention, Arnaut Daniel- and maybe mine is the newest, though I don’t expect to retain that distinction for long!
Recovered: A Sestina
It was looking up that marked him a stranger
Walking alone and happy on the highway
Lamposts and old women watched him, wondering
How his footsteps made the snow a red carpet
And why he kept peering around him, almost
As if he hadn’t heard of the suffering
But how could he not know of the suffering?
The branches hung bare, pointing at the stranger
Reaching up to prod his scarf, he almost
Looked as though he knew, pausing on the highway
His brown hiking boots melting the snow carpet
He watched the branches; allowed their wondering
A grandmother thought sadly, He’s wondering
Why we all stay in this place of suffering
But she started and spilled tea on the carpet
When his face turned skyward, and, what was stranger
He stepped, smiling, toward the town from the highway
Irreverence! Not quite laughing, but almost
The wind began to climb; the clouds were almost
Snowing now, and all who saw were wondering
Why he didn’t know to keep to the highway
How he didn’t know about the suffering
But on he walked, serenely came the stranger
As snow flecked down to straighten out the carpet
And as he left his footprints on snow carpet
A grandmother watched him; tea fallen almost
Unheeded. Running free, her thoughts grew stranger
Faces came to windows, watching, wondering
Perhaps he doesn’t care about the suffering
He walked on as the storm obscured the highway
She could still see him when snow blurred the highway
One old woman with tea stains on her carpet
Went to the door and called through the suffering
Come in, you’ll catch your death! The wild wind almost
Blew her words into an abyss of wondering
But he caught them; the irreverent stranger
Shall suffering decide? Wondering village,
The highway left a stranger unsatisfied
And the storm has almost finished your carpet