from Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen


“Every time you think you need to hold on, let go,” the pilot said. P 328

I am obsessed with flying. Somehow I have gotten it into my head that I am writing a novel, a series of ten connected stories really, about a woman and all sorts of flight. I read about airplanes, biplanes, hot air balloons, birds, butterflies, bumblebees, kites– it’s all fascinating. My radar must be keen, because flight imagery turns up in all sorts of unexpected places. The quote above is taken from a scene near the end of the book when two characters decide to hop a small plane to Wisconsin and make a badger delivery to the museum. The story spans three generations and almost 40 years and was a perfect read for my recovery. The little bird Racina inherits from her mom made me long for one of my own. It’s these type of details that stay with me long after the novel is over.

There are birds in my new writing space, quotes from Mary Oliver about wrens and others proclaiming to let your imagination take flight. I feel as if my feet need to leave the ground, not wear the heavy boots that Oskar wears in Foer’s Extremely Loud novel. Sometimes they weigh me down.

Monday was my first day back at work, equal parts fear and trepidation. Before I left for the day, I took the dogs out for one last walk, and I happened to glance over my shoulder. I noticed the sun shining at just the right angle to illuminate two spiders webs. I grabbed my camera and clicked until I captured them at every conceivable angle. I realized two things: 1. Had they been in the house I would have probably taken a broom to them eventually and 2. while I sat watching them the wind was slowly blowing them apart. It was just by my good fortune that I happened upon them. And I can’t stop thinking about them and perhaps what that encounter has set in motion. Butterflies and storms and all that, I believe. But more importantly I think of Wilbur and Charlotte and how the wisdom of a certain spider has served me this far.

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” –EB White

These words like ethereal, ephemeral, impermanence keep swirling round my brain. Elusive and slippery like silver fish. Maybe it’s enough. Today I am happy. I am here, and I don’t need to have a chokehold on the past. I’m starting to think that each day is one step closer to college. We’ve had The Last First Day of School and survived. Summer for all it’s brevity is over once again, but it’s conclusion doesn’t feel as tragic as I thought it would. I don’t like the ends of things and when I said that to M, he retorted that I really don’t like beginnings… So maybe I’ll just think about us being in the middle, walking along. The three of us holding hands and making our way.

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