In Asheville

I shouldn’t be awake writing. But that’s how most of the things I write begin.

I am a creature of the night.

Like Indians, I grace the rug.

I empty oceans while I write,

redrain a dozen times my mug.

When I scribbled that down, last April, I meant to make a picture of myself. I sat Indian-style in the Patrick Henry hallway in the navel of the night, writingwriting and drinking tea, cup after cup after cup.

But tonight Sophia was having the tea. Sophia is my fellow Olasky intern, here in Asheville by route of Korea, Singapore, Virginia and Los Angeles. She got a stomach ache eating a muffin in a bad position, so I guided her downstairs for tea. And we drew from the cupboard the can of peppermint chocolate. She said, “You want to smell?”

I did.

And I remembered that I must be grateful for each moment. I hardly know the magic of a moment until I have written it down and see it days, months or years  later.

For, as my friend Josh Chamberlain pointed out to me recently on the stone Patrick Henry steps, a  certain pleasure comes simply in remembering. I had been complaining of the untruth in  memory: that  it never captures life completely, or paints it angelic and forgets the Hades it had, or worse, the reverse. But like he says, pleasure comes just in remembering.

So though I am not in the home I love, I will treasure these moments, remembering that they will truly be something to remember. Though journalism meets me like a creek of cold water meets bare feet, by grace I will be grateful. Even though I am  not in the dear creaking church with ladies who send messages like this one:

Hi Dear Chelsea.
I keep thinking of Johb Denver’s song “goodby again” as i remember you will be leaving soon. It’s good to know that you are in the loving care of the good shepherd. I pray you will have a good time, and learn a lot. We will look forward to updates from your mom.
God bless you and make you a blessing.
love you.
I will mention that today a red-headed boy came to the Olaskys’ front door wearing excellent clothes, and rang the bell. I spied him from an upstairs window.
“Should we let him in?” I asked Sophia.
“Is he cute?” Sophia asked, and ran to the window. She went down to open the door.
He nervously asked if he could get work mowing the lawn.
Sophia and I couldn’t say, of course, and tried to guide him to the garage in the back yard where we thought Dr. Olasky was running on his treadmill. We couldn’t get the gate open, so we led the boy through the house instead.
We peered through the garage windows, but we didn’t find Dr. Olasky. We asked the boy to come back later.  I wished him much success, explained that mowing yards was a great line of work to be in ———————- entrepreneurial and all that, the American way ——
and he stared at me blankly.
Sad when that happens. The Tragedy of the Blank Stare.
Goodnight, proud world. I’m going to sleep the sleep of the grateful in the polka-dotted upstairs sheets.

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