Oldie-but-goodie: Ow! My heart!

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next in the blogosphere, so in the meantime I’m running some old posts that I particularly enjoyed writing.

I was just snuggling with my daughter in her wee bed, and she had been quiet for a minute or two when she says to me: “How many people draw perfect circles?” (Only she still says “puh-fect suh-cles”).

I say “Oh, not many.”

“Yeah, that’s probably done by machines.”

“You know what honey, you really have to settle down now….”

“Can I just -?”

“One thing,” I say, my cheek against her forehead, my arms around her.

“You know those things that you trace where you make everything just puh-fect?”

“Yeah….”

“Does a machine make those things?”

“Yeah, a machine makes them.”

“I thought so. I knew a puh-son couldn’t make it like that.”

I grin and grin and pull her even closer, kiss her forehead, and say: “You are, just, figuring out the world…!”

And without missing a beat she says: “But I’m only just at the start of it. Because I’m six years old.”

6 Comments

  1. I have a feeling you’re not giving up writing. Maybe what’s needed here is a recharge – not that you have to get back to this, but that maybe you’re dry in the current mode of expression. You are a born empathizer and communicator. Whatever you end up doing, it will be something where you are telling and imploring and pleading.

    Because, you know, you have that human quality of touch.

  2. Ohh, Emily, please give your daughter a copy of this column, a paper, pencil, string, and push pin. Tie one end of the string to the push pin, the other to the paper. And help your daughter draw a perfect circle. (A compass works, too — the kind they use in geometry classes, but only for small circles.)

    And tell your daughter that machines — even simple machines like a string and a pushpin — are made by creative people who aren’t perfect. But they, like her, can imagine perfect.

    (I am knitting a circle, a demonstration of how pi functions. I looks like a starburst. Not the kind Rich L. saw on meeting Palin. And because it’s got a few mistakes in it, it’s perfect. Looks like it was made with love by a person.)

    Sunshine blessings on all your growing vegetables today. . .

    • tell your daughter that machines — even simple machines like a string and a pushpin — are made by creative people who aren’t perfect. But they, like her, can imagine perfect. I love this. And I will tell her, and the boy, too.

      What I often say when someone makes a mistake or is worried about making a mistake in something important is “No, that’s good, because perfection is for God.” For some reason it works for me.

  3. Hate to ruin the moment, but until we know the exact value of Pi we will never know a perfect circle. Even machines won’t know it. 😉

    But it’s nice to know your daughter is already handling Greek philosophy and modern paradoxical debates on the concept of “perfection”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfection

  4. dmf

     /  June 17, 2011

    what would I write
    if I had only
    four or five lines worth
    of ink or time left?

    how we children were put down
    around eight o-clock in the bedroom nearby
    with a crack of light from the open door
    so the grownups could smoke play cards and talk

    how I walked my sweetheart home
    from eighth grade on that orange afternoon
    carried her books from school
    and she said the word marriage

    how perfect the rainbow of the ball
    my triple during
    the all-star game
    with my father there

    how I heard the first cries of my baby
    little bundle wrapped
    in that thin pale yellow flannel blanket
    in my arms against my chest

    what would I write?
    would I drop an anonymous note to jesus?

    would I beg you
    to remember to keep
    this untitled green and blue
    world of ours?

    really what would I write
    if I had only
    four or five lines worth
    of ink or time left?

    “Untitled” by Bruce Dethlefsen

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