Thursday, May 5, 2011


I cannot explain why on some days more than others the smallest moments or the most fleeting impressions will burn themselves into my mind. Then, on other days, nothing seems to stick.

I am reading Gilead. It is becoming a favorite. This quote seems to connect: "It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing, I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve."

Last summer I went down to Moab for a few days and slept out under the stars and hiked through arches and went swimming in the colorado river. It was a nice trip from beginning to end, but for some reason I remember just a few random moments most vividly. I remember the tanned middle-aged woman crouched over by her mini-van in the parking lot by the trailhead stuffing  bright woolly blue socks into her hiking shoes. And I remember our waitress at the Pancake Haus. A tall, slender, Asian woman with just a hint of an accent. She had the most gruesome pink scar that crawled through her tank top from the bottom of her neck a good way down her shoulder and that looked like some strange Paleozoic fossil sprawled across her flesh.

Today is another one of those days. Here are a couple images that are sticking:

1. A girl in bright turquoise pants and giant sunglasses sitting on her front steps reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

2. A small crowd of people standing frozen on the sidewalk, arrested by some sight at the top of the hill. By the way they were just standing there, you might have thought someone was about to jump off of a building, or that some crazed, windblown preacher was up there shouting a sermon about hellfire or something. But I followed their eyes and finally determined that they were just watching a swarm of bees. They were hard to see at first, but it was quite a swarm-- buzzing and humming madly around their hive. I was glad that so many people were stopping to watch. It reminded me of that time--two springs ago--when I came by a young man crouched on the sidewalk observing a writhing pile of ants. insects can be fascinating.

3. All those red tulips. A sea of them. Pressed against the chain-link fence.

3. An elderly couple, crouched and ancient-looking, both wearing white nose strips for some reason, standing in their front yard surveying as an older man, perhaps a son, mows their lawn. The man mowing was not young himself, maybe 60.