I am the girl who loves juggling the beautiful colored balls. See them now, way up in the air. The big red ball. The little yellow ball. The sparkling silver ball. My favorite, the blue ball with white stripes. See me juggling. They are all in the air, spinning, around and around. We are moving. We are alive. It's magic. Beautiful.
I am also the girl who loves the moment when all the beautiful colored balls fall to the old wooden floor, with the last bits of sunlight shining desperately under the blue curtains, the balls still spinning, rolling to a stop under the table, behind the bookcase, next to the five-panel door. A tiny beautiful moment. But then, quickly, before the anxiety sets in, I want the balls back in the air.
I like the juggling more than the stopping. But just for this week, I'm going to let all my juggling balls sit there on the floor and I'm going look at this beautiful moment and resist the urge to put them all back into the air. It's tricky.
THE PRINCIPLES OF UNCERTAINTY
I read a book this week. In truth, I reread a book. For me, that's quite remarkable.
I reread The Principles of Uncertainty. It's a picture book, really. A picture book for grownups. Maira Kalman writes and paints. She feels anguish and pain and thinks about Dostoevsky's epilepsy and alcoholism and gambling addiction and chronic debt. She shares with us, her readers, paintings she makes of people she sees in New York and beautiful food and surprising hats. I like her best when she wearies of thinking and suggests a trip to Paris instead.
Maira Kalman is really good at looking at all the beautiful juggling balls that have fallen on the old wooden floor, with the last bits of sunlight shining desperately under the blue curtains. She looks at each juggling ball carefully, and points out the little crack in the big red ball and wonders if it got the crack when the cat was batting the red ball around the dining room. Kalman notes that the little yellow ball stopped next to the five-panel door and shares with us the story that the five-panel door was scavenged from a construction site where workmen were using a wrecking ball on an old Victorian home in downtown Houston. We like knowing that. She tells us that the silver ball is slightly lopsided, but that, too, seems to be okay. She also likes best the blue ball with the white stripes and that is satisfying.
Maira Kalman, unlike me, seems to be able to look for hours and hours at these beautiful balls on the floor, reflecting on the way the final bits of sunlight fall on the shiny silver ball, questioning what might happen if a husband might step on the yellow ball in the night on his way to the bathroom, remarking on the beauty of the scar in the old wooden floor where someone once dropped an iron. And, if things get too anxious and tense, there is always Paris.
It is nice, sometimes, to sit and look at the juggling balls, still on the wooden floor.