Blog : Beautiful-Things

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The Teacups

The Teacups By Pamela Rothbard   |  June 9, 2014
At the boardwalk, everything is past its prime: sweating hot dogs, mashed bags of cotton candy, melting ice cream. The workers move by rote--lifting and lowering the gate, pulling up on harnesses, scanning tickets. I slump in line. My daughter presses her whole body against the bars that separate us and the ride. As we board the teacups, the song, “Hey Mickey,” blares. It takes me back to college, to crazy humbling love with a boy named Mickey, to being on my own for the first time.

Patterns

Patterns By Luanne Castle   |  June 2, 2014
I wouldn't be here if my father hadn't sent me in his place. Under the insistent fluorescents and amid the smell of machine grease, a small forklift truck operates to the left, and ahead of me, a couple of men in overalls finger the cigarette packs in their pockets as they chat. At the window, a man in a dirty welder’s cap looks up from his clipboard. I explain that I have come to look at scrap metal. Small things, cast offs. Junk yard trash. This isn't my kind of place. I like silk blouses and almond orchards in full bloom.

Cologne

Cologne By Dawn S. Davies   |  May 26, 2014
Not too long ago I was in a crowded public place, trying to slip past people without touching them, when I caught a whiff of the same cologne my ex-husband wore while we were married. I would have thought it would sicken me, revisiting this scent of something so long dead, shoveled down into the underground of memory, the way we bury regret and sadness in order to keep on moving through life. But this cologne?

The Necklace

The Necklace By Elizabeth Gaucher   |  May 19, 2014
In the 1970s, a necklace dangled long and lonely over our Kick the Can circle at the end of the street. Legend had it that a neighborhood boy had flung it, swung his arm like some cartoon pitcher and released the chain into the blue. It had been a soaring serpent, a dragon scraping the moon with its wings. Children who witnessed the moment were different from the rest of us. They said the chain streamlined, then widened and descended, its pendant dragging it back to earth in a sudden turnabout.

Dust

Dust By Sarah Evans   |  May 12, 2014
Who knew this sign of decay, of finality, of that to which we return, could also be so beautiful, so graceful, so lively as it floats in the sliver of sunlight that punctures the slit between my bedroom curtains?

Wrinkles

Wrinkles By Georgie Hunt   |  May 5, 2014
I was just talking to my grandmother on the phone. Oftentimes when we speak, she apologizes to me for the scratchiness of her voice. She says she has a cold that refuses to go away. I know this is just how her voice sounds now after the stroke.

Bells

Bells By Jessica Jacobs   |  April 28, 2014
After a month alone in this New Mexico canyon, five miles from the nearest neighbor with no electricity and no reception, the cabin’s last inhabitant began hearing things. I wonder if I will, too.

Baptism

Baptism By Martha Park   |  April 21, 2014
I’ve watched my father baptize dozens of babies. After sprinkling a little water on the baby’s head, Dad carried the baby up and down the aisles of the church, pausing to let the people on each pew lean forward and meet this new member of their family. Dad didn’t baptize me. Two of his old seminary buddies did it. Dad told me if I get married he won’t perform my wedding ceremony either. There are moments, he says, when he gets to sit back and cry. When I was a child, though...

Driftwood

Driftwood By Sonja Livingston   |  April 14, 2014
I’ve taken to collecting driftwood along the river. This is because I don’t have Cable TV and therefore lack better vices, but also because I can’t get enough of the way bits of tree wash up along the banks of Mud Island in spring, everything taken in by the river north of Memphis pushed along and carried south—clumps of stubborn snow and fishing lures and broken kites, but it’s the driftwood I stop for, carrying pieces home in my arms or in bags when I think to bring one along for the purpose.

Canary

Canary By David Frey   |  April 7, 2014
A month later it might have been a tulip poplar leaf in a dying burst of brilliance on the driveway. (Nature’s last green is sometimes gold.) But it was August, so I pointed—“Look, a goldfinch”—even though it looked nothing like one and upon closer inspection certainly wasn’t. But how did a canary end up here, a driveway to a house on a hill in a forest? How long did it think it could avoid the hawks that prowl these woods, this bird, so unwary we could nearly touch it?
Keywords: beautiful things  |   1 comments

Sometimes Distant Sounds

Sometimes Distant Sounds By Marsha McGregor   |  March 31, 2014
There are times I rock on my porch in this battered chair, listening to life going on in the distance and long to be a part of it. A band playing on the green, the crack of a bat followed by whistles and cheers – even the traffic shushing by can make me wonder why I’m not going anywhere.
Keywords: beautiful things  |   2 comments

Carrot

Carrot By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 28, 2014
Tonight I peeled and chopped carrots for dinner, tossed them with oil and thyme, oven-roasted them. The simpler the ingredient, the more miraculous it seems to me. A carrot. What must that have been like, on first discovery?

Nightwalk

Nightwalk By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 27, 2014
I read a story once about a woman who gives herself over to the night. She encounters no one, just sneaks outside, surveys the dark desert, and comes back changed.

Cat

Cat By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 26, 2014
Since the birth of our daughter, I have been short with our cat. I shush her or toss her off counters and chairs. It seems to be all I can do. I am already being screamed for. I am already giving more of myself than I can give.

Silence

Silence By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 25, 2014
Today there was the slumbering hush of a house in the morning with everyone else asleep, then the vacant stillness of an empty house in the afternoon.

Name

Name By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 24, 2014
I’ve recently dedicated myself to learning the names of trees. Before I never thought it made much of a difference, but the beauty of their names compelled me.

Garden

Garden By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 23, 2014
Once again, I have decided to grow a garden. These aspirations tend to end in hard green tomatoes, withered basil, and parched soil. Yet today in a surge of optimism we shoveled the sod from our raised bed and lugged home giant bags of dirt.

Grandpa

Grandpa By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 22, 2014
My mother’s father is slowing down--growing quieter and more forgetful. This evening, while my grandma cooked dinner, my daughter and I sat with him in the den. He is too frail to hold her or bounce her up and down on his knee, but not too far gone to notice her staring at the birthday balloon floating behind his chair. Slow as a turtle his hand reached back...

Dandelion

Dandelion By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 21, 2014
We have a carpet of dandelions over our front lawn--bright yellow heads peppering the cushions of moss and tufts of grass. I don't understand why they garner so much resentment...

Age

Age By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 20, 2014
We have just spent a long weekend introducing the babe to her aunts and uncles, first and second cousins, great-grandmothers. We stayed in the house where her father’s father’s mother was born, where she cared for a dying son and where, at ninety-nine years old, she still wakes at dawn and sips her instant coffee over the newspaper. So I have thought a lot about old things these past few days...

Beethoven

Beethoven By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 19, 2014
Were it not for my infant daughter, I would not be home on a Wednesday morning in my pajamas, catching up with yesterday’s dishes and laundry and forgotten clutter. But I also would not have thought to blast Beethoven's Ninth Symphony...

Office

Office By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 18, 2014
When I arrive early at the office on Tuesdays, the morning sun floods the eastern windows, and I hang my coat and empty my books onto my desk and wait a moment before switching on the overhead lights.

Bedtime

Bedtime By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 17, 2014
No matter what pandemonium has shaken the day, there comes a time a little past nine in the evening when we turn down the lights and close the curtains and our beloved drifts off to sleep in one set of arms or another.

Play

Play By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 16, 2014
There is perhaps no better way to celebrate resurrection than to spend time with children. Today my younger nephews and I pulled their Easter kites up and down the horse pasture, and I spent the evening hours chasing the older ones around their grandparents’ yard.

Seder

Seder By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 15, 2014
Tonight our Jewish friends shared the Passover Seder with us--explained the ancient symbols, sang the Hebrew songs, recited the old, old prayers. We dipped our greens in salt water, our pinkies in red wine. We spread bitter herbs on unleavened bread. I learned the Hebrew word dayenu, which means it would have been sufficient...

Bicycle

Bicycle By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 14, 2014
After work I fetched my bicycle from the shop where they had tuned it up--wrapped my Ram’s Horn handlebars with fresh tape, tightened the brakes, flossed the cassette until it sparkled.

Writing

Writing By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 13, 2014
I was dense today, rushed. I kept losing important things--the keys, the phone, my daughter’s pacifier. I forgot to keep an eye out for something beautiful. But I do have this quiet moment--

Dishes

Dishes By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 12, 2014
When I was twelve years old and so afraid of dying, I wrote in my journal that maybe by the time I grew old I would be ready. Perhaps after ninety years, after approximately 32,400 breakfasts and lunches and dinners and nighttimes, I would be weary of life.

Green

Green By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 11, 2014
Today, weary of traffic, I took the back roads home. Now is the season of every green imaginable...

Home

Home By Michelle Webster-Hein   |  February 10, 2014
This afternoon, before the youths from our church arrived at our house, I was distracted by the scarred baseboards and stained carpets and how much the kitchen walls needed washing. But then...

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