325: “Almost Enchanted” (van Gogh)

                “Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”
                -Vincent van Gogh

                Last weekend I went camping in the Shawnee National Forest. I sat next to a campfire on ground still wet from yesterday’s rain. I watched sparks float up and hang for a moment like new stars. I picked up acorns and acorn hats, rocks and leaves and pieces of bark like little boats. I looked at a lot of mushrooms. And I thought van Gogh was right. And then I thought, if we fold in the mud and the rain, the trees and the hazy clouds, then we can do one better. It’s not almost enchanted. It is enchanted. 
                There’s something lovely in holding an acorn that’s just opening into a seedling. There’s also something lovely in seeing an acorn half chewed by bugs. They each have their own lift, their own hum. Their own sign of life. Every day since coming back from Shawnee I’ve gone on a walk in my neighborhood. On every walk I’ve picked up one enchanted something to bring back home with me. A stick with moss on it. A bottle cap rusting back into dirt. A round stone that might be at home in a river. I think I’ve been carrying all these, one by one, to remind myself how many ways there are to pick something up. I can pick up the sway of the trees by looking out the window. Pick up the rain soaked earth by smelling it. Pick up the cool taste of water, one last drink at the end of the day, and carry it with me into tomorrow. Enchanted.

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