Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Graceful? Nah. On the lookout for Grace? Always.



Grace. Strictly speaking, I ain’t got much. I’m the one who spills the wine at the table (that’s why I hang around Sophie, hoping she’ll spill first…)

I trip. I stumble. I bump into things. But despite being the most likely amongst my companions to spill, to trip, to falter, I find that if I keep on going, I get to my destination nonetheless.

I try to hold on tightly to that metaphor as I careen my way through life.

Clearly there’s a difference between being graceful and encountering Grace-with-a-capital-G in one’s life. When I remind myself to slow down, I find it easy to recognize fleeting moments of Grace: the sweep of my son’s eyelashes when I catch him unawares, before he pulls away. The unselfconscious elegance of Oscar-the-cat stalking a fly, his sinewy, soot-black body slinking through the tall grass. The sensation of trailing a soft sable brush through buttery artists’ oil paint. The slant of afternoon sunlight through the majestic window at my stair landing, and the beams of moonlight through the pantry windowpanes at night. The rush of water over a rock in a crystal-clear mountain stream. Forgetting myself in my writing, so that I’m unaware of time passing. The peal of a child’s laugh. The understanding smile in a friend's eye. The whisper of a lover’s sigh.

Then there’s always the proof of enduring grace: the historic architecture of the house where I am lucky enough to live, wherein the ghosts of the architect, skilled craftspeople, and the original owners live on in scrawled messages on naked plaster, old newspapers in the walls, yellowed photos, a baby’s shoe. A picture of a dancer I painted years ago in Florence, which changes through time so that every time I see it I am reminded of a long-ago steamy, sweaty summer in that Italian city…and increasingly of the young woman that I no longer am. Holding my published books in my arms, knowing that my imagination has created stories read by perfect strangers all over the world, who sometimes even write to me. The long, smooth, perfect limbs and almond-shaped eyes of the being who emerged from my body so many years ago, now on the cusp of leaving my side to create his own life, to find his own, profoundly personal, moments of Grace.

Oops, just spilled the coffee.

7 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

oh, we are all writing gorgeously this week aren't we? Your words shimmered, darlin

and yup i'll always spill first, promise

Martha Flynn said...

I can't wait to see this friggin house now!!!

Juliet Blackwell said...

It's a hard house not to love!

Dana Fredsti said...

I can't believe I haven't been reading these posts regularly...

AnnaC said...

I am missing that house and all that contained within... hope to see you soon!

Rachael Herron said...

I didn't have high hopes for this topic, but i'm loving it this week. :) Great post, Julie.

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