Five things

1. There is a market baby and the market baby makes my day. I go to the vegetable market in the mornings and the market baby is often there, walking around in squeaky shoes, or trying to eat food off the ground, or being passed from stall to stall. Her mother works in or near the market, and I remember when she was pregnant with this little one. Now the little one is just over a year old, she has grown up in the market, and everyone loves her. The man at the fresh coconut milk chases after her and pretends to bite her fingers. The fruit ladies call out to her. Her life is a constant smile directed toward her. Also, her name means New Rice, which is just beautiful.

2. There are a lot of emotions in my house lately. I have two children entering the wild world of emotional rollercoaster at roughly the same time. Thankfully card games and silly talk still work on everyone.

3. Recently I took a trip to Chiang Mai and was driving around a little neighborhood with my friend Naomi. We were on two scooters, and came across a couple who were embracing in the road, standing and leaning into one another. They were an older, hippie-looking couple. She had long gray hair and a skirt that brushed the ground, and he had a beard. As we reached them, they moved apart and turned to look at the sky. The man lifted his binoculars to his eyes and that was when Naomi and I both realized that not only were they a beautiful, loving couple having a sweet moment in the middle of the street, they were also bird-watchers. Birders! My heart gave a great leap. Naomi and I looked at each other. We were thinking the same thing-- We loved them. The end.

4. Here’s another story of witnessing a sweet moment. Recently I saw a woman I know only a little, a kind woman who once visited me in the hospital. We said hello and then I watched her cross a bridge over a pond in a beautiful garden. I knew that she had been walking and praying. When she reached the end of the bridge, she lifted her arms and threw her head back as if to say, “All of this!” All of this. I saw the response and recognized that moment. This is the response my heart gives to God when I see the world and all the beauty that I forget to see if I’m racing from thing to thing like a mad beast. I’m here and all of this is here and God says, “All that I have has always been yours.” That bird that you might glimpse in your binoculars, that cloud, the blue of the sky, a night of unseasonal rain. I recognized joy in that woman and I loved her. The end.

5. I'm at less than ten days to book launch! Releasing a new book is such a combination of excitement and anxiety that I would like to zip myself up in a suitcase and throw myself in the ocean. Bob around on the waves for a while, let a warm sea take all my thoughts and smooth them out. This kind of thought reminds me of a conversation I had with Kai, after he had read Trees Tall as Mountains for the first time, just a couple of months ago. Surprisingly, he loved it. He loved reading about all the little things he used to do when he was only three years old. And he told me, “I liked when you hallucinated.” 

“When I did what?” I said. I didn’t remember any hallucinating in the book.

“When you were hallucinating about us going wild in the store and you dropped yogurt on people’s heads.” 

“That’s called imagining,” I said. 

He shrugged. “It’s pretty much the same thing.” 

That's me then. Hallucinating since 1980.