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  • "I will love you forever
    but if I don't and if I do
    the difference exists in a fiction
    the day has cooled the time will too"

    -Will Oldham, from O How I Enjoy the Light

    I think many women in their thirties experience similar sorrows of attachment. In a poem about his partner's experience of aging, Barry Kitterman writes that she felt she was "letting people down with her beauty." I'm quoting from memory. His reading of her and the poem, perhaps because I know his abiding sincerity and concern for other people, brought tears to my eyes.

    My friend Angie, when she was in her twenties, started taking a naked picture of herself each year on her birthday, so she could collect evidence of time ravaging her beautiful body. She's a mother now and lives far from me, but I hope she keeps up the practice.

    In my twenties, I took a photography class and met a photographer. I don't think of myself as a planner. In fact, I'm very reluctant to plan even the next day's activities with someone, but I know in the back of my mind I was looking ahead to preserve my youth while it lasted. I could not know a venue like Cowbird would avail itself and allow me to share images from that time and others with a loving group of artists and writers and teachers and family. A calm is coming over me. It is such a relief to feel one's life witnessed. Thank you, birders, for reading, for sharing your stories, for caring.

    Another story I wrote describes a portrait I own of the sculptor Camille Claudel painted by David Iacovazzi-Pau. I'm interviewing him for the fall issue of the literary journal Zone 3. I asked him to draw me. I can't imagine a more precious gift for my thirty-seventh birthday than to have such an observant eye on me, a skilled hand passing over the lines of my face with attention. Our lives may be nothing but this and it would be an abundance--to hold dear that which changes as it changes, to honor what aches within us to see what only we can see--mirrored against ourselves, others. Every story turns inside out, runs from past to future through a present that only-ever-we inhabit, lighted by our tenderest expressions.

    *The soundtrack to this piece is available at:
    It's a great song. Hope you listen and, as it says, "call upon the light of the first morning forever." xox
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