“I’m nervous for you.”
“You are?” I say.
“Yeah. How do you know where you’re going? Do you have a GPS for this thing?”
“You mean my Book of Beginnings? That thing?”
“Yeah, that thing.”
You are tapping the teaspoon lightly against your jeans now, just above your knee. I reach for the little white bowl of blueberries and pop a berry in my mouth.
“Rumor has it, ” I smile, “that those who are prone to getting lost will get lost even with a GPS. I don’t need one.”
“But you’re small, and it’s a long trip. I want to be sure you get where you’re going.”
“It’s okay, ” I reach for another blueberry. So round, so sweet-tart this morning. “Because I know something you don’t know.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“When one is ready for a thing it makes its appearance. Napoleon Hill said that. He’s right. I don’t need a GPS. I’ll find my way, because things will appear when I need them.”
“You trust a guy named Napoleon?”
You are still tapping the spoon against your jeans. I watch with amusement.
“It’s like on my walk today. I was thirsty. It’s annoying to walk when I’m thirsty. I rounded the corner on Browning Drive and saw new hostas poking out of the ground. You know me. I had to touch the fresh hostas. When I bent down to run my finger along their ridges, I noticed a droplet of water on each and every leaf tip. A touch of my index finger, and each droplet became mine. Hosta to finger to tongue, oh my.”
“Good thing you’re small. That’s an awfully tiny drink.”
I tap your knee now, just for a moment, then tickle it until you give me a look of mild and mischievous apology.
“When I rounded another corner, I said aloud, ‘Here, I have violets!’ Did you know you can eat violets? Leaves and flowers both. Just don’t eat the yellows. They’re toxic. But the purples and whites are so good for you. These were purple. First I picked a leaf and ate it. Tasted like the smell of new-cut grass. Then I plucked a bloom and opened it with my fingers. It’s pretty cool, you know. Has little furry things that cup the center piece. I felt them first, then ate the bloom too. When I did that, I closed my eyes. Closing your eyes changes things. I suddenly knew that violets taste like uncooked sweet corn. And I started dreaming what it might be like to have a bowl of buttered violets, lightly salted.”
“Sheesh. You’ll eat anything, won’t you. You should be careful about that.”
“I’m careful. I know my wild edibles. That’s why I ate some forsythia too, on the way back home. Tossed the first one because the center was brown. Found another one perfectly soft and golden. So many, you know. If you can’t eat one, you can eat another. You’d never go hungry for lack of blooms.”
You tilt your head and purse your lips sideways.
“On my walk, I also found a big old tree someone just cut down. Could smell the sawdust. I felt mad. I found a brand new electric pole that Con Ed finally put up to replace the one that burned in that big storm last fall. The pole was pine-smooth and smelled like Murphy’s oil. At the corner of Clinton, I found a woman holding her coffee cup; her carpool ride pulled up just as I passed and I could hear them greeting one another and laughing. In the top window of the A-line Tudor, I saw a Tot-finder sticker, faded and grey. Then, right before I got back to the house I found a short man with dark hair and a beige beanie cap, walking his bicycle up the sidewalk. I moved into the street to put space between him and me. I knew I could use all of this in our Book of Beginnings. Either in small bits today or for whole chapters later on.”
You put the spoon on the table now, and I pick it up. I close my eyes and run my fingers along the edge of the spoon, tracing each curve until I’m back where I started. With my eyes still closed, I put the spoon into the bowl of blueberries until I feel the weight of one roll onto the tip. I am still in darkness when I hold the spoon towards you.
“Here, ” I say. “See? A person can do a thing on instinct. A person can trace her way. Things will appear just when you need them. You need a blueberry, don’t you?”
I feel a little tug and I know you’ve taken the blueberry bait.
Photo by mullica. Creative Commons, via Flickr. Story by L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing.
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