"We all have a thousand wishes..to be thinner..to have more money...a cool car..a new phone...to date the person of your dreams. A cancer patient has only one wish: to beat this disease. I know 97% of you won't post this as your status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer...blah blah blah."
(Well, all right, I added the blah blah blah. I hope I can still be your friend even though I never forward. But folks mean well, and that's what matters.)
I read this and I thought, "Hmm. Nope, even when I had cancer I definitely still wished I could sing like Gillian and play guitar like Dave Rawlings, look like Vanessa Paradis, write like Emily Dickinson, paint like..well, you get the picture. Serious illness may make life simpler, but it didn't turn me into a bodhisattva, for cripes sakes!
Wallace brought a book home from the library once about two small, charismatic, cuddly animal friends of some variety. One spent all her time trying to write so that she would become a famous author, and the other tried to win a cooking contest. Both endeavors were disastrous, and the would-be author conceded that she hated to write, while the chef ceased to enjoy cooking when it became competitive. What they were both really talented at, it turned out, was sitting outside and watching the fireflies. So that's what they did.
I may not be exceptionally talented at anything of particular interest to anyone else, but I'm pretty good at watching fireflies. Here are a few of them. What are yours?
- The first sip of the second beer
- Nailing the harmony note
- The woven cadences of the breaths of my sleeping children
- That shade of green that the lichen turns on the trees in the rain
- That moment right before I drift into a nap when I realize that I don't have anything I have to do for the next two hours
- Lying all the way back, fully dressed, in the warm, black sand
- The surreal gold and green of sunlit trees against a storm gray sky
- The moment when a dear friend, far away, actually picks up the other end of the phone after months of tag
- Leaving the window open at night
- Putting too much wood in the wood stove on a wet, cold day