Halloween night, mixed messages in the neighborhood. Some houses with outside lights on, some off. What kind of kid was I? One who rang the doorbells of darkened houses? I remember running through a Minneapolis neighborhood, swinging a pillowcase heavy with candy. I think I was a lights-on kind of girl.
I was washing the dishes just now while my husband was giving little Ava a bath. The wind wrinkles against the house. I'm sitting on the couch listening to Ava cry upstairs; she's resisting sleep again. The wind swerves around the structure we call a home. My hands are dry and chapped from the change in season.
The temperature drops, nearing 32 degrees. Lake Superior, large and riled, lies beyond these windows. The things real in my life wet my throat like a lozenge. What I live gives me reason to speak. Which is to say, life feels beautiful and speech lends itself to the imprinting quality of beautiful things.
So does singing. Ava wants to be sung to sleep. So I ascend the stairs. I lie down next to her and sing her a story with the night-light on. Then off. She likes the darkness and sleeps better without the disruption of light. My singing and the darkness ease her into the dream-time. I leave the room in tip-toe back downstairs.
How many light switches in a city such as this one? How many fingers turning switches off and on, hardly noticing the miracle of electricity? I take it for granted too. I count the number of days it takes for me to get everything just right. Everyday is a search for this kind of alignment. And no cycle is ever the same. Everyday is number one. Tonight is right for right now.
The living room is not tidy. But it shimmers with toys and books and blankets. If I am shimmering then the room will shimmer too. If I am delighted then the day around me will be equally delighted.
I know of no sure way to complete this, and so I leave the candle burning on the table. Small light glowing, shadow-stems fluttering along the walls of this interior room.