May 9, 2006

There was a spider in my bathroom when I went to take a shower, I meant to sweep it from the ceiling but forgot, and the next time I looked it was gone. That’s okay, spider. You keep your distance, I’ll keep mine.

Contractors came to our house and started hammering, the sound echoed down the hall and JB said I can’t believe Riley is still asleep and I said I can’t believe it either and we ate breakfast and I read the comics pages and finally walked down to listen outside Riley’s door and I heard a quiet steady rattle as he turned a toy over and over and the hushed vowelly sounds of his contented babble and I opened the door and dramatically stepped in and I said Well HELLO and he turned his bright face towards me and smiled with his entire body.

Who’s a wriggly, I asked him. You’re a wriggly. You are. Yes.

It was sunny and cool and the shaded cement floor chilled my bare feet when I stepped into the carport to take out the trash. A pair of starlings chattered at me from the overhead power line, a truck ground and grumbled nearby, my son pressed a button on a toy from inside the house and through the open door I could hear the furrow of concentration in his brow. Ba, he said. Da.

His father bundled him into the truck with the bag of bottles and jars of food and I said have a good day, JB said you too and we kissed and I said bye Riley, bye. The house was strange and echoey in their wake, washcloths and toys and bibs strewn as if from a great height, but I could take my time now and so I did, stood in front of the mirror and bared my teeth in a sharky grin and looked at my face, the tiny radiating creases around my eyes and mouth, the bacon-spatter of freckles, and it was familiar and okay – let’s shake hands, face – and I slid on some lipstick in a shade called plumsicle and carefully blotted with a piece of tissue and left a plum-colored artifact of myself behind, crumpled.

I drove down a street in my neighborhood flanked by wetlands and the car in front of me screeched to a stop, the car next to that one braked and did a fast jog around something in the road and I slowed in time to see a mother duck waddling busily across the pavement, and bumbling behind her were at least seven baby ducklings, yellow-speckled and tufty with new feathers and moving in a disorganized line that compressed and expanded as they hurried to keep up, stepping on the backs of each other’s feet and holding their tiny wings out as if for balance.

I crossed the 520 bridge and the sky looked like a production cell lifted from The Simpsons; oblong white clouds formed entirely of Bezier curves, pressed flat against a Prussian blue backdrop.

I was playing Liz Phair and it was early and my voice was scratchy from too many cups of coffee and I sang the lyrics (watching the lake turn the sky into blue-green smoke) in perfect pitch, low and level, and I stopped at a red light and for a second I turned my head slightly so the person in the next lane wouldn’t see my mouth moving, but then I noticed she was singing, too. I thought, what if she is listening to the exact same music, queued to the exact same moment, her mouth forming the exact same phrase as I am (in 27-D, I was behind the wing), wouldn’t that be something. And the light turned and we all drove forward.


37 Responses to “Today, this morning”

  1. Teri M. on May 9th, 2006 11:52 am

    Thank you for my zen moment of the day.

  2. Meg on May 9th, 2006 11:55 am

    That’s brilliant.

  3. suzanna danna on May 9th, 2006 12:04 pm

    i loved this post…. so visual

  4. Lori on May 9th, 2006 12:19 pm

    I wish I could write like you can. :-)

  5. warcrygirl on May 9th, 2006 12:21 pm


  6. divinemissk on May 9th, 2006 12:27 pm



  7. Heather on May 9th, 2006 12:55 pm

    That was lovely. And Stratford-on-Guy is one of my favorite songs ever.

  8. Leah on May 9th, 2006 12:57 pm

    You = talented. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Caitlin on May 9th, 2006 12:59 pm

    Thank you. I just finished “The Elephant Vanishes,” and this made me think of that. You are that good (if not better. No shit.)

  10. Jo on May 9th, 2006 1:19 pm

    Beautifully written, thanks for a lovely start to my day :)

  11. Kirsten on May 9th, 2006 1:39 pm

    a book – seriously…you MUST write a book

  12. niki p on May 9th, 2006 1:48 pm

    I got a chill when I started reading it- like there was bad news coming. Wow. I don’t like spiders.

  13. Holly on May 9th, 2006 2:10 pm


  14. maura on May 9th, 2006 2:39 pm

    Please post every hour…you make my forced hours in front of a computer tolerable.

  15. fifi on May 9th, 2006 2:51 pm

    Beautifully written. I feel like I just eavesdropped on your stream of consciousness. *tiptoeing away quietly*

  16. Em on May 9th, 2006 3:50 pm

    breaking out the pretty words! wonderful.

  17. Anna on May 9th, 2006 4:10 pm

    I felt like I was right there, what a great morning.

  18. Sabine on May 9th, 2006 4:11 pm


  19. fellowmom on May 9th, 2006 4:49 pm

    Thanks for reminding me to stop, be in the moment and appreciate life. And thanks for the window on your lovely morning.

  20. Anne A. on May 9th, 2006 5:09 pm

    Thanks, Sundry. That was a really nice ending to my not-so-nice workday!

  21. Mandy on May 9th, 2006 6:02 pm

    Just beautiful. Thanks.

  22. Kristin on May 9th, 2006 6:07 pm

    I think you are the best writer in the blogosphere.

    That’s a fact.

  23. Nikki on May 9th, 2006 6:40 pm

    Nicely written. It’s days like those, observations of a life, that paint the most vibrant pictures.

  24. Jem on May 9th, 2006 7:13 pm

    Wow. That was awesome! I love your writing

  25. Wendi on May 9th, 2006 7:43 pm

    Also Wow! Thanks for that.

  26. Anais on May 9th, 2006 7:53 pm

    Reading that was like diving into a warm pool- very relaxing. Thank you for that.

  27. tophermo on May 9th, 2006 8:01 pm

    I don’t get it.

    Just kidding, but I was waiting for the spider to jump out from behind a door or something… with a knife, or something.

  28. CartwheelsAtMidnight on May 9th, 2006 8:15 pm

    Nice. I’ll let this be the last before bed.

  29. jonniker on May 9th, 2006 8:47 pm

    Dude, this was so what I needed after this day of cancer scares, cat poop and crappy doctors. Thank you.

  30. Annie on May 9th, 2006 8:47 pm

    I love when my son talks to himself as he plays in his crib. I always wish I could understand what he is saying. Wishing you many more mornings like this one.

  31. Nicole on May 9th, 2006 9:57 pm

    That made me happy. So very good. Thank you.

  32. Kathy on May 10th, 2006 5:47 am

    How lovely and poetic. You’ve inspired me.

  33. MoCo on May 10th, 2006 7:16 am

    I read this yesterday just before my long train ride home from work, and was inspired to dust off the liz phair… so thank you for the beautiful writing and for making my commute far better than normal.

    no singing over here, though. safer for everyone.

  34. Ashley on May 10th, 2006 8:05 am

    That was grand. Just grand. You know what I love!? That reading your blog is free. It’s like being going to the public library and reading the best book on the shelf. Go you.

  35. Mel on May 11th, 2006 7:08 pm

    Those were some cool descriptions. It’s neat, knowing how observant you are.

  36. Jim Costello on January 14th, 2007 2:17 am

    Google is the best search engine

  37. Miguel Carter on November 12th, 2008 4:57 pm


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