stray sparks

Three things:

(1) A surprise package arrived in today’s mail, from my friend Marilyn. Slicing open the bubble-padded envelope and peeling away a thick layer of white tissue paper revealed yet more layers of another, gift-wrap grade tissue paper, tied with a red ribbon and sealed with a store sticker, accompanied by a crisp white envelope with my name in Marilyn’s familiar cursive. Undoing the ribbon and the seal revealed a copy of Mary Oliver’s Owls and Other Fantasies; opening the envelope revealed a handmade card, itself constructed out of both layers present (red and pink paper upon the cardstock) and absent (negative spaces created by wax or some other resist).

I’m looking forward to reading the book some other afternoon. Today I’m just taking time to savor both the surprise and its layers. (Mind, I neither expect nor require it of the presents I receive or give; it simply happens to be a type of pleasure I enjoy lingering with when inclination, opportunity, and means coincide.)

(2) Earlier this week, I was sorting through some snapshots from my trip to Israel last fall. I think I caught sight of this memorial inscription inside the Clore Garden of Science; I don’t recall if the item was a water fountain, sundial, or something else entirely. This is why I ought to caption my photos right away, not half a year later…

From photoblogging
From photoblogging

(3) I don’t know when (or even if) I’ll get to the book itself, but Susan Cheever quoted several intriguing passages from Mary Karr’s Lit when she reviewed it last November:

Humming through me like a third rail was poetry […] the myth that if I could shuffle the right words into the right order, I could get my story straight. . . .

~ ~ ~

Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air, a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody’s head off.