Monday, March 30, 2015

Found, Day 41

1. This picture is several weeks old. Last time I looked at it I saw what I didn’t capture, and it was worthless to me. Tonight I looked again and saw what I captured.

2. I know a girl, who, when she was very young, had trouble with her speech. Actually, her vowels, and the pitch and rhythm of her words, were perfect. The problem was consonants—many of them gave her trouble. She became good at substituting easier for harder: ds for js, for example. But she also learned to substitute whole words in order to avoid the ones she had trouble saying clearly. You could see her working, sometimes, around what she knew she couldn’t pronounce. Her language was richer for it. I miss it, sometimes, even while I’m thankful for how clearly and easily she now speaks.

These are forms of found I have fallen in love with.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Found, Day 40

I love the colors in this window so much—not just the colors, though, but the way they work together, the way they gather light and seep into a kind of unity. And bear with me—I couldn’t get a good picture, so I distorted my blurry picture even more to make it match, roughly, what the colors seem to do in real life. And do you see the six pink squares at the bottom? There is no other pink anywhere else in the window, and I wonder about this. The color does something, I just haven’t decided what. For now, it speaks of mystery, and surprise, and something tender. Which fits.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Found, Day 39

So it was one of those days spent running from one thing to the next. And so much stuff I intended to take care of that got nowhere near touched. It was both frustrating and full of small graces. Which makes it kind of a normal day, I guess.

There must be thousands of ways, every day, to find your own heart. And lose it, and find it again. Mostly in small ways, and hidden, even while they are the points upon which entire worlds turn. 

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Found, Day 38

This morning the sound of a robin going crazy broke through the dark, through the morning blear, and found me. Oh, new day. Tired, but still—

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Found, Day 37

They file out onto the risers, settle into their spots, and immediately search the audience for their people. That is the most important moment of the night, you know—when she finds you in the crowd, and waves and waves, and smiles and smiles. The second most important moment is every other time that she finds you, locks eyes, smiles like she’ll never stop.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Found, Day 36

Many years ago, before he learned to walk, a young young boy refused to crawl. His mother tried to teach him. Concerned people, after all, had promised her that if he did not learn to crawl he was sure to have learning disabilities. As often as she could, she set him carefully down on the floor on hands and knees. She tried to show him how his arms and legs could move. But like a Weeble he had to be upright. No sooner than she had him properly arranged, he would right himself and scoot across the room on his rear, propelled by one leg and one arm, face pure joy and open, upright to the world where it belonged. She finally resigned herself. He might just have to have a learning disability.

But he didn’t. And he did learn to crawl—soon after he got comfortable walking. It was no big deal, at all.

Over and over she saw this about him—when the idea was his, he was pure motivation and energy. But only if the idea was his. She was not sure this was how things were supposed to go, but the truth was they weren’t going to go, any other way. She learned to be a planter of ideas (and a setter of rules) and she tried to remember to step back for the rest. This was anything but a graceful dance. But when she remembered—

She found herself sitting today on someone else’s couch, listening to her boy rehearse with his accompanist for the upcoming contest this weekend. Pretty much every step of this singing thing has been his initiative. She thought about these things, wondering at it all. This boy—

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Found, Day 35

The picture does not do it justice. That window this morning was bright, jeweled with rain. Cold, freezing rain, yes—but that did not make it less beautiful.

If it’s not already, this should be a benediction, a blessing, a toast: May something stop you in your tracks, surprise you, catch you off-guard today. And may you carry that with you as you go.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Found, Day 34

Middle brought me the tiniest purple flower today while I was tuning violins for the Violin Project. She found it while walking over from the middle school and presented it to me with reverence. I set it down on a shelf nearby where it found good company next to two handmade ceramic figures—a cat with a green collar and a father penguin with a baby on his feet—that needed a safe place to rest before finishing their trek home from school.

Because of the children in my life I have become a Sharer of Treasures. This is a position of honor, and nobody asked if it is deserved. I just one day found myself here. But in this place of honor I hear about the best (funniest, grossest) parts of books, I see the proudest-of pages of homework and artwork and projects. I peruse and contemplate untold riches: new shoes, plastic cupcake rings, agates, stories about baby brothers and sisters, knock-knock jokes. I know these things differently than I did when I was a child. Yes, I see them with adult eyes. Somehow, though, this second glimpse into childhood balances things out, and I see their value increase, not decrease. I see them as they are.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Found, Day 33

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Found, Day 32

A thought while making dinner:

If age were thought of in terms of things gained, instead of time (youth? chances? beauty?) lost, how rich we might think ourselves the older we get. Measured in food alone—considering the things I once hated and now enjoy, sometimes even giddily: dark chocolate, coffee, brussels sprouts, butter, gravy, salad (dark greens—I didn’t even know) avocado—each birthday that rolls around could feel more like a banquet, an unfurling, an arrival. 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Found, Day 31

Prone to self-examination as I might be, there are many days I don’t even check. But todayyes, there are my feet solidly on the ground, and there above me is the sky. Blue today, and lovely. Finding you are where you need to be is no small thing.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Found, Day 30

I have never considered myself a math person, but I was completely taken by the Numbers in Nature exhibit we went through at the Museum of Science and Industry last week. The mathematical patterns that were at the center of the exhibit—spiral, Golden Ratio, fractal branching, and Voronoi Patterns—were fascinating. Especially the fractal branching—the comparison of lungs with red coral and lightning bolts—it was just an example but it was  an example exploding with poetry. And today I discovered that if you do an online image search of “Fractal patterns in nature” you will see beautiful things.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Found, Day 29

She has been known to stand next to their beds while they sleep at night and whisper I love you, child. Maybe the words will lodge deep in their being, in a way the ones spoken during the day may not. Maybe the words will wait there in the dark until the moment they are most needed, just waiting to be found.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Found, Day 28

I play sometimes with a not-quite-local community orchestra. On scattered Tuesday nights throughout the year I join Husband for a 180-mile round trip plus 2 ½ hours of rehearsal. It has become part of our routine over the last few years, even though the first year we lived in this Midwestern town I did not play violin at all. That first year I thought I had left music behind me.

That first rehearsal—after such a long break, after thinking my life as a violinist was over—it was like finding a piece of myself I hadn't known was missing. I won't say that reincorporating that piece has been easy, but it seems to be necessary. And it has grown—more than I thought possible.

I have maybe—hopefully—grown with it. These Tuesday nights are tiring but invigorating. The schedule an uneasy thing, but the music more enjoyable than ever before in my life. Because the thing is, the music is still the music no matter what the circumstances, and I get to be a part of it. There was a time I would have viewed my part-time community orchestra member status as a failure, but given what I found getting to this place—what a find.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Found, Day 27

Made it through the Monday after Spring Break, extra-tired and extra-energized all at once, gobbling up my alone time and gobbling up time with my kids, alike. My brain is a little mushy tonight, but not too mushy for this magic over at

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Found, Day 26

We found our way through the maze, but I wasn’t in much of a hurry. Slow wandering has been a favorite pace for as long as I can remember. It is good like sleep, and water, and making a chocolate bar last as long as it possibly can.

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Found, Day 25

We went to the Museum of Science and Industry today—and let’s call it today still even though it is already past midnight. I’m not quite ready for it all to end.

The museum was so cool I almost cried several times. It took us until close to closing time, but we finally found the Chick Hatching exhibit, Middle and I. She had been talking about it all day, but there was so much to see and do. By the time we got there we were tired, brains bursting. I wasn’t expecting much.

It turns out I had forgotten what I know about hatching chicks. All day I imagined fluffy yellow things, even though I knew better. The fluffy yellow things were next door to the hatching and newly-hatched. What we walked up to was a scene of devastation. Eggs, eggs with cracks, and broken eggs. A few sprawled wet creatures that hardly seemed alive except for occasional great lunging out-of-control efforts to lift up their heads. Mostly, though, they were resting, wasted. And of course. According to the plaque nearby it can take up to 10 hours for a chick to emerge from its shell.

And I couldn’t help wondering: what if we expected every birth, every rebirth, every breakthrough, to leave us like this for a while? 

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Found, Day 24

I often hear poetry in the way children talk:

"My eyes are always bright. I mean, the way I see, whether it's dark or bright I can see. My eyes are always bright."

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Found, Day 23

My three favorites from the zoo today. Two seemed as curious about me as I was about them, one couldn't be bothered. But their eyes

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Found, Day 22

I have to say, the view out the window on the way to Chicago today was awfully barren. Maybe it had to do with the fact that getting ready for vacation requires its own kind of recovery before you can enjoy your actual vacation. Maybe it was just the dregs of winter, weighing heavily. But I almost accused the landscape, the broken battered trees, the small towns, of deliberate ugliness. It took about 30 minutes of driving and a turn east to start seeing beauty instead of post apocalyptic landscape. Maybe something in me is becoming more patient. Maybe. But my eyes softened some, and the magical was there after all, just hiding:

        in the sun hitting a roof just right and turning it gold

        in willow trees that hinted at something alive running through their veins

        in dead grass, bare trees, pale sky that washed soft over my eyes

        in a bright green barn, a royal blue roof, crisp orange storage shed doors

        in the rectangular skeleton of a new building

        in a curve of road

        in swaths of fire-blond grass.

Then there was this:

in the extraordinary quiet that sometimes fell over us, the beauty of my children’s faces, the most beautiful faces I know—

and this:

string cheese, having sat and warmed itself in the car with us for a few hours, is sad, and limp, and makes us all laugh.

I’m ready now.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Found, Day 19

Does it matter
how it got there?
Sometimes things bound by the earth
break free
and perch on wires.

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Found, Day 18

Today was an all-girl day. Quiet was maybe hard to come by, but there was sun and warmth and the smell of spring in our hair and books galore, along with as many stolen moments to read as we could find.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Found, Day 16

Not always, but sometimes
you find you have the power
(unearned, but ohthankyou)
to work out the snarls,
to smooth-out,
to gather together
and lift up more than just hair
and that is a small thing
but also a very big thing,
sending her out into the world that way.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Found, Day 15

This today was gold: a TED Radio Hour broadcast on Making Mistakes. It's an older show, from almost 2 years ago, but it was new to me, and worth sharing.

"Every mistake is an opportunity in jazz." (Jazz composer Stefon Harris) I love his musical illustration of this. 

There's so much in here. I don't want to write about it right now, I want to internalize it all, let it simmer, pray that it will seep back out in ways I can't predict.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Found, Day 13

Shiny things, sparkly things. Coins. Long golden hairs. Gum wrappers. A purple paintbrush tucked under a bag of apples. Socks. Socks in every imaginable and unimaginable place. Years of socks—the strays, the mate-less, the crumpled athletics, the handknits, the fluffy chenilles I can’t remember which belongs to who. Socks that are slowly getting larger, measuring time in ways I can hardly face, in ways I can’t forget.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Found, Day 12

From a book I loved in my childhood and still love now:

Now I could use the sword Gull, he thought. But since all I have is my sheath-knife, I’ll have to make do with that. I can’t let the snake eat the old woman. And he rushed forward, waving his knife.
from “The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds,” by Harald Ă–stenson,
Great Swedish Fairy Tales, illustrated by John Bauer

At the last moment the sword he needs but does not know how to get materializes in his hands, and the young man saves the old woman. Each of the things he needs, in fact, he finds only in the middle of an act of faith.

*     *     *

So imagine Heroic, setting out on a journey because of everything that should not be that is. And the journey is much harder and much longer than she (or maybe he) imagined. And he (or maybe she) keeps getting distracted—by old crones bearing strange gifts, by animals in need, by side adventures that make no sense. And doing the right thing does not seem to get her or him anywhere closer to setting things right. And he (or she) gains allies but not answers. And in the end, of course, all those things that kept Heroic’s path anything-but-straight were exactly what was necessary to face the giant/the dragon/the troll.

*     *     *

And what if, instead of looking at how untidy a life is, how it refuses to match up to whatever you think it’s supposed to match up to, you looked for real at the cracks and tears, the flaws and interruptions and stumblings, and made it your job to read those things, to listen deeply, and tell the story they tell you? 

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