Winter I

Story 25: Knots and Ties

My grandmother kept chocolate, an apple and a paring knife in her apron pocket, read to us, cheated at cards but let me win. She knitted socks and liked her tea with cream, told us stories about talking pigeons and rabbits and owls. 

Story 26: Eavesdropper

It wasn’t just Rosa’s voice I’d overheard; slowly, I picked up the many whispers that drifted out of other neighbours’ open pipes and widened seams. It was as if I’d discovered new frequencies on my dial, found private stations that I had never known. 

Story 27: Samuel

February 6. The earth is still spinning on its winter arc, though days are growing longer: a minute in the morning, another one at night.

A very brief story about loss and life unfurling.

Story 28: Ruminants

To ruminate,  to  revisit a thought over and over again, comes from the word ‘ruminant’ – an animal that eats grass;  chewing, swallowing, regurgitation and rechewing the same fodder over and over again. It is the same with us humans, we constantly consume our thoughts. (See Links 20, 21, 22)

Story 29: Wet Wool

My husband, who spent many childhood Sundays sitting on hard, straight-backed Dutch church pews, is finely tuned to the quiet crinkle of peppermint wrappers, the sound’s sweet promise of powdery white candies, which his mom, and all the Dutch moms,  pulled out of their purses once the congregation settled in for a long long sermon. I swear the sound and taste still hypnotizes him into a sleepy lull.

Wet Wool is about sounds and smells, and the link between sensations and memories.

Story 30: Thin Ice

The first step you take on a frozen lake is a beginning that you will never feel again. It catches the breath in your throat, and has you wondering: is it worth it? will I fall? should I turn back? And with every step you leave a little bit of yourself behind. (See Links 23)

Story 31: Missing Words

Sometimes you meet the perfect word, like gigil, a Tagalog word meaning the irresistible urge to squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished. And sometimes there is no single word to capture a fleeting moment. (See Links 24, 25, 26)

Story 32: Refrain

He always had a book on his lap, marked his notes in its margins; filled notebooks with observations on migration, nature and spring. Later they all went missing: someone who was more practical likely used them to started a fire on a cold winter night. 

Refrain is about Atti, my great grandfather, and the tracks we follow.

Story 33: Free Will?

Are the paths we walk our own? What I mean is this: does everything unfold with intention, according to my own plans and free will? Is there inside me a tiny wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtains of my mind, peering out through bony sockets, pulling  levers, turning dials, shouting hoarse commands, keeping me on time, and on the straight and narrow path?

BONUS: An experiment I learned from Sam Harris (See Links 27, 28)