26 July 2010

take a chance on me

The brown moth on my front porch was about the size of my open palm. Close up, its patterns were luminescent browns, golds and reds. It flicked out a delicate, white antennae like a fine-toothed comb that followed the movement of my camera. Its body was covered in something like soft fur and seemed to shiver at one point. I snapped my photos quickly to catch it before it could fly away.

Nothing is exactly what you see. While there's something admirable about living without pretense, it's rarely not complicated. And always intriguing.

I have four sisters and two brothers, all younger than me. None of us are just alike, but there are some definite genetic markers. It's that nose, eye color, knock-knees or shape of our calves, curve of lips or high forehead, that resemblance to our mother, father, cousins, grandmother, great uncle, aunt.

But it's complex, beyond counting red-eyed flies and white-eyed flies. Throw in environment and upbringing. It's response to stress. Sleeping patterns. Thickness of vital arteries. Tendon flexibility. Favorite color. Propensity to tick. Tolerance to light and noise. Shoe size. Perhaps one despises cats or loves the rain. Has an amazing roll cast. Plays the piano by ear. Sketches portraits. Bakes perfect lemon meringue pie.

The great mystery is not so much the extent of potential—vast and varied, it seems—as it is what we do with it. All that we carry forward, genetic or developed, informs and supports what we do next. So what you see is just the beginning. I am more than my brown hair, hazel eyes, freckles over my nose and that little scar on my lip. Perhaps the unassuming ring on my finger may not appear sacred as it is for me. I may be quiet. Perhaps I laugh too loud. Perhaps I cry easily or not at all. There is story in every piece of me.

My collective story builds relationships, connects the dots, flexes perspectives and thought with a critical review, taps into my deepest fears and joys, draws beauty from the moment. From a brown moth.

I did not see the moth except for that single morning when the rain came down in a fine, summer mist like wet fog. By the time I checked the mail in the afternoon, the moth was gone. That's the other thing—it's all so fleeting.


"You could be an astronaut if you wanted to, but you're not!"
~ Capt. Phil Harris

"I'm exactly what you see, honey; take a chance on me."
~ Bob Seger

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