I search for words that when stitched together, as in an eye-catching tapestry, express something with texture and richness, and I hope, beauty. Fingers are crossed for a glimpse of a sparkling thread, or an unexpected color that draws a reader in. Sometimes I fail miserably. But on a good day, as with the surprise of a wonderful candid photo, I capture a spirit, and a heartbeat. Then I watch a story come alive.
City trucks were supposed to come at 7:30ish, and I’d moved the cars the way they asked so they could do their work. But they never arrived. Odd start to the day.
I made a field trip to my favorite department store to stroll around and window shop. But something felt off. A gnawing. Discomfort. Tightness. Edginess. Sadness. Disconnectedness. I thought maybe a walk and then a visit to shopping Mecca might help. Sometimes I feel this way when I’m alone too much. And I had been.
Wonderful black hobo sack with big bright polka dots for spring. Just the right amount of whimsy. And style. I touched it. Probably wouldn’t buy it but wanted to try it out. See if it looked as good on my shoulder. But I couldn’t play with it because it was wired together with other bags and attached to the display rack.
I’ve seen antitheft devices in many stores but never this one. This store was civilized without being uppity. Fun place to feel the toys. Big girl playground. Hadn't thought about shoplifters wrecking the vibe. It just always felt good there.
Until it didn’t.
Wondered if it really isn't civilized. Any more. Or it is and that’s how civilization rolls. Some one or more violated the store. Which really means they violated me and those who pay with dollars, and dignity. It flowed downhill. Eventually the store violated us, too. I don’t steal but they won’t ever know. That’s patternicity*. Someone thinks they can't afford to find out. Don't trust us now.
Sales lady told me a woman had come in with her little dog on a leash one day before. And the dog pooped on the carpet. Not too good but worse the customer walked away. She didn’t ask for help, or a tissue, or a bag to put it in. She moseyed on to the make-up aisle. Sales lady said now maybe pets can't come in the store. Big wigs talking about new policy.
Polka dot bag hung on the rack. I didn’t want to hold it any more.
People disrespecting each other and the spaces in which they move. Then little pieces of life disappear.
As I walked to my car I noticed a missed call on my cell phone. I saw a buddy’s number and called her back. She said her dad was moved to hospice and he might be gone in a couple of days. He was. But it only took an hour.
The dog across the way, the biggest, fluffiest, whitest gift of hairy affection that ever walked up and down our street will likely be turning in his ambassador's badge, and maybe his life. He’s 14 and struggling. So are his owners.
And the black bag with the cream colored polka dots, daring me to dream of spring around the corner, was not enough to lighten the load of knowing people were losing bits of life. People that I love.
I went to the computer to search for flights to Cincinnati to be with my grieving friend when I saw a Facebook post by a much younger cousin. She’s a photographer. And a daughter, wife, mother, sister and no doubt friend to many. She started a project for her New Year. Project 52: Look What I Can Do.
Each week she’s adding one photo to Facebook that represents something she’s doing, thinking, being. This time she posted a beautiful photo of her nona, to represent Winning and wrote about her grandmother’s “ferocious” love of family. And life.
Nicole Haldeman Photography**
With her photo I saw the flying disparate fragments of my day, the swirling, whirling, worrisome, unsettling particles as they began to quiet. So much accumulated sediment. As in good wine or syrupy and delicious espresso.
It’s life. Not the part we like but life still.
So I’m calling it good.
I thought again about the big splotches of delight and liveliness I'd seen on the beautiful satchel, and remembered sometimes a field of stuff I don’t enjoy much is bound to that which I do. But the dots and the background in combination, well, -- I really do like that handbag.
I might have to go look at it again. With my refocused eyes.