If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
Does this ever happen to you? A few days ago, I realized every star in my own personal universe was settled perfectly into its own space. All was right with the world.
I think it was on Easter. We didn’t quite celebrate Easter. Of course there were Easter baskets (or, in two cases, Easter boxes because we’ve lost track of two of our lovely handmade Easter baskets) and an egg hunt, and then many more egg hunts throughout the day, because what is it about seeking treasure with a clear shot of finding treasure that is so attractive to children? But other than that, we did nothing to mark the occasion. Which is fine. We aren’t religious.
Well, we aren’t traditionally religious, but I do tend to bow to the alter of books, and so I spent the day writing my book. What’s that? I haven’t mentioned this? Why yes, I’m writing a book. About Shakespeare. For teenagers. Because, of course, that’s what every kid age 12 to 15 is dying to read: a book about how Shakespeare affects today’s world in every way imaginable. I know, I know, this isn’t going to appear on the NYT bestseller list, but for me, writing it has been a bit of a transformational experience, and actually, if you’d like to preorder your very own copy and make my publisher think well of me, here’s the link, and I love you forever.
So I spent much of Easter camped out at the kitchen table within reach of coffee and black jelly beans, writing up my chapter on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And it was a pretty perfect spring holiday.
But I did take breaks. One break was because the children wanted screen time and I made them do a forced march with me before they could dive into Mega Shootsky Bad Guys 4.25 or whatever game it is they’re obsessed with these days. We went for a roam out the back paddock (followed by two puppies and a black cat) and spent some time on a Large Rock and then we followed a switch trail through the woods and then veered off down a steep bank to the creek and made our way back toward the house via Hobbesonia. They showed me the iron mill, the dragon’s lair, the border lands, the various houses and shops.
And then we continued our tour of Saber and Iceberg, neighboring villages to Hobbesonia, and then we visited all the graves we could remember. A pony, a Clydesdale, several guinea pigs, and two dogs.
“Where are we going to bury Rosie and Arlo?” B asked.
“How about the back yard?” I suggested.
“Mmmm…. maybe,” he answered.
“You guys know, right, that they’re puppies and aren’t going to die for a long time?” L said in an annoyed voice.
“Of course,” I said. And then I wondered out loud if we’d still be living here when these puppies had grown to old ages and died, or if we’d be far away, deep in the mountains or near the ocean or maybe in a different country altogether. But by then we were home and the boys considered their duty to be fulfilled and off they went, tumbling like puppies themselves to wield heavy artillery at encroaching digital armies. And I returned to my spot at the kitchen table, with three stacks of very necessary books shielding my view of dirty dishes and an overflowing recycling bin.
I know. The scenario doesn’t exactly lend itself to perceived perfection in the universe. But ever since that day, I’ve harbored a suspicion that my daily life is not as monochrome as I think it is. That brilliance and bliss shines persistently but quietly in the corners of eyes, in the corners of living rooms and offices, in the corners of minds occupied elsewhere.
Or maybe that’s just the affect Shakespeare still has on his audiences, even 400 years after his death. Like I said. Transformational.