I've been a bit under the weather the past couple days (as a side note I feel this phrase is no more potent than it is in New England, where more often than not, the weather feels like it is crushing me) but I still have experienced many things to love!!!
The first was a super rusty bike chained to a street sign. And on this super rusty bike was a beautiful, new Brooks saddle. At first, I thought, "WHY would someone put such a fancy saddle on such a crappy frame?" But then I thought about the story that rusty bike might have. Maybe that bike is special to the owner. Maybe it was his grandfather's, or the first adult-sized bike she ever got (for Christmas when she was 14). And though, in my mind, one would take care of such a bike in a way that would prevent it from rusting, maybe this rust was something out of their control. Maybe she left it outside of a house while she met the lady of her dreams. Maybe he forgot to bring it inside because he was so excited his Mom was visiting. And maybe he or she loved this rusty old bike enough to put a beautiful new seat on it. And maybe a thing being worn, or old, or damaged, doesn't make it unworthy of newness and beauty.
Another thing I love is the book Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It is an epistolary novel written from a 70-something-year-old father to his 7-year-old son. The father/narrator has a heart condition and knows his time on the earth is rapidly ending.
I have a habit of dog-earing the pages of books when they contain quotes I love. As of right now (page 50ish) almost every single page is dog-eared. There are quotes to love on EVERY. PAGE. Here is my favorite so far. I called my dear Nickers yesterday and cried while reading it to her.
"There's shimmer on a child's hair, in the sunlight. There are rainbow colors in it, tiny soft beams of just the same colors you can see in the dew sometimes. They're in the petals of flowers, and they're on a child's skin. Your hair is straight and dark, and your skin is very fair. I suppose you're not prettier than most children. You're just a nice-looking boy, a bit slight, well scrubbed and well mannered. All that is fine, but it's your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined. I'm about to put on imperishability. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.
The twinkling of an eye. That is the most wonderful expression. I've thought from time to time it was the best thing in life, that little incandescence you see in people when the charm of a thing strikes them, or the humor of it.
While you read this, I am imperishable, somehow more alive than I have ever been, in the strength of my youth with dear ones beside me. You read the dreams of an anxious, fuddled old man, and I live in a light better than any dream of mine--not waiting for you, though, because I want your dear perishable self to live long and to love this poor perishable world, which I somehow cannot imagine not missing bitterly... I have wondered about that for many years. Well, this old seed is about to drop into the ground. Then I'll know."
I've read it about 10 times in the past two days and it makes me cry. Every time.
And then there's Paul Simon. I joined Spotify.com and have pretty much been using it to listen to this and this alone:
I listen to this song first, always:
Followed by this one (which makes me tear up a bit too):
I've always liked Paul Simon's voice. There is something so gentle about it, almost delicate. Even as a young man his sad songs sounded like an old man singing them. I really like this new album. It's no Graceland (is anything, really?) but it is wonderful all the same.
Lastly, this morning I saw a chunky bearded man riding his bicycle near Harvard Yard. He was wearing a lovely sea-foam-green button down shirt and a pair of worn khaki pants. I had to stop myself from pulling a Melanie.