THIS WEEKEND’S STATS:
# of pages revised: 25
# of pages written on new project: 5
# of literary mags submitted to: 1
# of agents “nudged”: 3
Yesterday was pretty much the perfect day. I ignored the fact that sunny, sixty-degree weather in the middle of January is somewhat creepy and smacks of global warming, and I just enjoyed it with a trip to Maymont Park in Richmond.
The sky was cloudless; the half-moon suspended in the expanse of blue like a broken white wafer. As my boyfriend, Paul, and I walked down the hill towards the wildlife exhibits, I pointed to the sky. “Look, there’s the moon,” I said. “Isn’t it amazing that it’s out in space? We’re, like, looking at something in outer space right now.”
I knew I sounded like a stoned, moronic teen, and I wished I could find better words to convey how beautiful and amazing it was – this glimpse of something greater, this half-moon in the afternoon sky.
The creek along the path was swollen with a week’s worth of rain, and it chattered eagerly, skipping over rocks with great gusto and twinkling in the rays of a sun that lives 93 million miles away but still manages to give energy to nearly all the living things on Earth.
“I’m so glad we’re outside!” I sang. “I love Maymont!” I skipped along the path and grinned like a stoned, moronic teen. “Let’s go see the raptors!” The day was just so beautiful, I didn’t know how to contain myself.
So we went to see the birds of prey and the black bears and the fox. Then we walked up the hill to the Italian garden and sat on a stone wall in the midst of manicured rose bushes, looking down at a series of steps leading into more gardens, and beyond that the river, fat and sparkling in the sun. We sat there for a moment – Paul leaning against a stone wall and me leaning against him — letting the sun warm our winter skin and letting the wind blow gently across our faces.
It was the perfect moment. But as soon as I had that thought – this is the perfect moment – it began to disappear. I wondered how long should we stay there, enjoying this perfect moment. I wondered if we should get up and keep walking (there was still a lot to see and we should get some more exercise), or should we continue to sit there basking in the sun? I didn’t want to seem like I couldn’t just enjoy doing nothing. I wondered what Paul wanted to do, and I wondered if it would it ruin the moment if I asked.
“You ready to walk more?” he asked, as if sensing my thoughts. We stood up and made our way through the rest of the park.
* * *
After Maymont, Paul and I went to Cary Street and sat outside at a coffee shop, drinking tea and reading. We bought some chocolate at a chocolatier then headed to the gym. At the gym I listened to a recent Radiolab episode in which they discussed Wilson Bentley, the first person to ever photograph a snowflake. It all started when he was a teenager with a microscope. Bentley put some snow onto a microscope slide and was blown away by what he saw.
The snowflakes had a beautiful crystalline structure that was both mathematical and ethereal. Masterpieces, he called them. But as soon as he had a snowflake in perfect focus it would evaporate and be gone. It was nearly impossible to study such beauty close-up for more than just a moment.
After the gym, Paul and I went home and had dinner and a glass of red wine each. We sat on the couch together and read, and before bed I wrote a poem about snowflakes and beauty. About perfect moments, and how, when we try to look at them too closely, they disappear. Better to just let them fall around us, gently in a thick of white, like a quiet winter snow storm, the likes of which we still have from time to time, even here on our melting Earth.