My magpie days

April 9th, 2008


This is how it feels: I stand on the threshold of my day like a child hovering outside the candy store clutching a penny in her hand. So many choices before her and just one penny. So many things she wants, the chocolate and the licorice ropes and the gumballs. Who knew there was so much candy? So much to try, so much to taste, but there is just the one penny. How can she possibly decide? She wants it all, and what if she picks the wrong thing? What if she doesn’t like it? What if she never finds another penny? Indecision sends her home in tears, the penny unspent and with no candy to show for the trip.  


This is how it feels: I look around the workroom of my day and see pieces of time scattered across my floor like scraps of material, bits of shimmering silks and honest calicos and comforting wools and none of them big enough for a bedspread. The best I can hope for is stitching these stolen blocks of time together into a patchwork quilt of a day, fitting the scraps into a pleasing pattern, into a sunburst if I’m lucky.


This is how it feels: I am always looking for time, seeking out minutes the way a magpie seeks out shiny treasures to line her nest. I see minutes scattered through my day like a bag of sequins spilled out onto the floor; like a bird I hop to and fro gathering up their glittering promises. I dive and swoop at the smallest shiny shard of time, clutching it in my beak and soaring away. I steal time, I hoard time, I defend time with ruffled feathers. I hide it in my hole in the tree thinking that I will come back and reclaim it later, thinking that I can fuse this tin-foil second to that birthday ribbon minute to that carnival-ring quarter hour, soldering these fragments of time into some workable whole.


This is how it feels trying to pull words out of the air when the hands of the clock seem to be turning backwards, or sideways. I want more time, more shiny minutes on these magpie days.