Thursday, January 21, 2010


Eight encrusted little hands
pound and form and shape
Fingers deftly fumble
manipulate to duplicate
Evolves a thought,
half-formed, unspoken
Voiced in soft dough alone,
communion unbroken.
I watch them concentrate
I, who sit with hands mute
The clay proclaims their very selves,
independent, resolute.
Evolves a thought
half-formed, to mull,
I am clay, held, imprinted,
and my hands are full.

Sheldon VanAuken calls them "timeless moments." Emily (of New Moon) refers to them as "the flash." Jesus says to the disciples, in the pregnant calm before death, "watch with me." Those are moments when we find ourselves outside of time and inside of eternity. Those moments that hold something of the feeling of dusk, a haziness between sharp realities.

It happened when my husband proposed to me. We stood detached from sorid earth, on an iceberg in Alaska, and somehow viewed the past, present, and future in each other's eyes. How many mortal minutes passed, we didn't know and didn't care. Then, with an alarming jolt, we realized that the tide was coming in and the ice berg we were standing on was disintegrating under our feet. After a scramble in mush up to our waist, we felt it was probably best that timeless moments are rare.

And Friday, a gray rainy day spent at the children's museum, it came again. As the children molded their clay and the minutes slipped by unheeded, their every movement poetry. As if by consensus, the flash ended and they all clamored to explain their creations. But the taste of timelessness lingers in my mouth, and in my heart are the words, "watch with me."

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