Poetry & Food 11/1/2012
Saw this picture of a skinny-dipping teacup set online, and it made me laugh. I found it charming—even magical, so I wanted to order right away. But instead, sitting at my desk at work, I entertained a reverie in which I imagined I had already purchased these sassy cups and was hosting a dinner soiree where I surprised my guests with them. I pictured them making jokes while they sipped tea. And then I wondered what it would say about me, to be the kind of woman who serves tea in such a thing? Would they find it immature or silly? Would they think it ridiculous? After all, I am the woman who keeps a Christmas snow globe on her bookshelf all year long, even in July. Once a week, I shake it upside down to watch the flakes twirl round and round before they disappear. When friends ask me why I have a snow globe on display in my apartment, I don’t have a logical explanation for them. “It makes me feel happy,” is all I say. “It somehow keeps me company.”
This past month I’ve been indulging in random daydreams about my future as though I were still a child. I’ve been realizing that aging isn’t so bad, and it doesn’t mean one can’t play the fool—willingly. Being silly takes me out of my head and into my heart, so I’m thinking from this feeling place and judging myself less. I thought about this last night as I took my evening walk through the neighborhood. I was feeling vulnerable, you know—a bit tired and restless after a busy day. So much so, I even cried a bit, and then I stopped to look at this elementary school near my apartment building and sort of stared into the playground as though I were a character in a romantic comedy, about to have an epiphany. But I had no major epiphany. Still standing there, doing nothing, and staring at the swings and slides, it felt sort of comforting to let myself feel. And then suddenly I saw that the playground was actually glowing a little, and my eyes widened a bit. I kind of wanted to hug someone right there and share the moment, but the woman passing me by with a dog on her leash seemed to be in a hurry.
Some days I walk the planet forgetting how magical everything is. Some nights I sit on my balcony and stare up at the big dipper and wonder if it’s watching me too. Often, I sit at my desk at work and wonder about the unexpected trajectory of my life, and how I’ve somehow arrived at this unconventional existence—a quiet life where I take imaginative leaps, lighting thoughts on fire. I teach and write and surf the web seeking inspiration. I keep a snow globe on my desk all summer long. I write poems in lavender ink, believing my life is a surreal painting where umbrellas tumble out of the sky, and the clouds drift pink.
Here’s what I’m getting at: intuition over logic. Thinking with the heart as a worthy place to be. Each time I forget how luminous everything is, my sense of things falls apart. I don’t find it satisfying to be a realist. For someone of my ilk, realism seems too proud. Last week while I was eating lunch on campus, a butterfly landed on my neck. This startled me at first, but later I realized that my fair-winged friend was only giving me a hug. I wish I’d hugged back, not shooed it pridefully away. For better or worse, I like to think I’m a character in some post-modern fairytale, the setting a virtual forest. I walk barefoot in a white dress, chatting with the wizards who suddenly appear from behind the trees of websites. I order skinny-dipping teacups. I keep a snow globe on my desk. Hug butterflies, then blog about it.