The two nearly trample each other. Bundles of nylon and wool. Their puffs pulled tight, boots barely laced, scarves slung over shoulders. The sun blisters. They crack the basement door, wiggle out, winter’s toothy bite breaks skin. They pull their hats past ears, make eye contact.
Ready, set, go! yells the oldest, dashing towards the woods.
Their limbs dance. Shins sink into snow.
A slippery stop. The edge of frozen oaks.
A lake unfolds. Thick and silver and satin.
The youngest lunges.
Eager to test traction.
The older raises a cautionary arm,
pulls the younger one back.
Come on, begs the youngest, It’ll be fun, she says, shimmying past the older siblings’ barrier.
Race you to the center!
She gets halfway. Slips. Skates belly first to the center.
The thin sheet tears, then webs, then splits,
yanking the youngest into the black.
The oldest looks around.
She sprints towards the oaks. Snaps a branch, darts towards the middle, heaves the lifeline into the black, fishing for her sister.
Two tiny hands grab the trunk.
The oldest falls back with force, dragging her sister back into the sun.
They lay there for a while before sirens wale.
Crying, panting, shaking.
An old woman walking her dog witnessed the entire thing, calling an ambulance once she heard the ice crack.
I don’t know, says the medic, that branch weighs about four times as much she does. How on earth did she manage to break and carry it that far without help? He asks, thump on chin, bewildered.
The old woman sighs, rests her hand on his shoulder, whispers,
Because there were no adults around to tell her she couldn’t.
Happy Monday, Friends.
I remixed this story from memory. I was probably in the 4th grade when I heard a much more black-and-white version in the back of my dad’s Volkswagon on the way to school. It’s something that came back in a dream recently, and it carries much significance for this current chapter of my life.
There’s magic and power in doing the thing(s) before you or anyone else can try to convince you that you can’t. We are often those cautious, critical adults now, telling our inner child to be pragmatic, realistic, less whimsical. We have absolutely no idea what we are capable of if we never attempt. Add-in patience, persistence, and a growing love affair with the process and anything is possible.
“Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else.”
I’m typing this from my messy office in Brooklyn. We’re finally getting settled but still have quite a bit of unboxing to do (the bane of my existence). I’ve managed to sneak out and get some flicks of the neighborhood I’ll share here on Thursday. Lots of stimuli, lots of observations. I feel like a kid again in so many ways and how many times will that happen in this insultingly short 4 Thousand Weeks we’ve been given?
Thank you for being here, as always.
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To borrow the phrase--the character in the story mastered the art of the possible.
THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN TO READ!!!
OHHH, HOW I HAVE MISSED YOUR NEWSLETTERS 😭😭
HAVE A LOVELY WEEK.