Clenching and opening one small hand

On a day when engaging with the world feels too much like loving a damaged man, I stand underneath our willow’s blossoming canopy and look up. It is like being in another world, one with a sky made of flowers, and I remember that this is how it is:

There is only one world, and we stay because of moments such as this.

We stay because leaving means leaving all of it, not just its barrage of bad news, and we cannot give up spring afternoons when the sun is the right kind of warm and tulips are leaning toward us as if we are the light and passing strangers smile and tell us how lovely our corner of it is. We stay because we see how it might be, how it could be, how, for brief moments, it is, and we let ourselves believe that–if only we love it carefully enough–it can be (it will be) like this all the time.

That we are wrong doesn’t make the moments any less beautiful or true.


This week my students and I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Making a Fist” together, from which I borrowed a line to use as the title of this post. I turned away from much of the news this week, but I made myself stay with “Inside Mariupol,” which also contributed to this micro-essay.

12 thoughts on “Clenching and opening one small hand

  1. Kate says:

    Yes. This.

    I’m sitting in the corner of my couch, basking like a cat in the sun which has been absent for over a week, listening to my solar powered prism cast rainbows, with water on my cheeks because THIS. (You do still have the superpower you didn’t ask for).

    I am so grateful for your Sunday posts. I’ve missed you.

  2. TD says:

    Moments of beauty; engulfment by the bluest of sky sending you the intoxicating scents of flowers falling on to you and dancing around you… magical treats that blew my way… as a micro-essay. Home Sweet Home, Happy Anniversary! Even in the sea fog of tears finding short moments to pause.

    • Rita says:

      Oh, me too. Working on it. Binary thinking is a mindf*ck. The more I can embrace contradiction as truth (e.g., the world is both horrible and wondrous), the better I am.

  3. Debs Carey says:

    It certainly keeps us going. The people of Ukraine have certainly shown us how to keep going and how to properly love our homes. A difficult time to be alive – but we keep on, keeping on.

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Nicely stated. I know I’m wavering between feeling despair for what is happening in the world and wanting to embrace the beauty of spring. It’s a weirdly dissonant feeling to experience both simultaneously, yet I admit that I do.

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