Wednesday, November 19, 2008

five minutes. 4:20 p.m.

OBSERVED: Lanterns on a tree limb.

There is a tree beside the lake. White lanterns and gigantic snowflake cutouts hang from its limb; the limb itself hovers above the water. Across the lake is a hill, and on the hill there are houses at the tippy-top, and other houses that step down all the way to the lake shore.

You think that it is Christmas every single day in these homes that make a grand stairway to the water. You think the paper snowflakes- bigger than life, and the ghostly paper lanterns that hang on the limb on your side of the lake must be on that limb year-round, decorations to remind people across the water: It is Christmas for you. There are gifts for you. Your life is a sacred holiday, even in August or September, even on the eve of death.

Someday, you think you might fold a boat out of paper, origami big enough for you to sit in, whiter than the lanterns and snowflakes. You might sail across to the other side, climb the steps of the hill- as long as it takes, live a delicate life. At night, you'll become a glowing spec on the hill. You don't know what you will think when you look across the water at the lanterns then - themselves glowing at night.

Maybe the map of your life will all be out of paper, an intricate cut-out, a tangle of routes as individual as one single snowflake.

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