i love this time of day . . . when i’m awake and the world’s asleep. when the cool air teases me, and the quiet bathes me in calmness and confidence. this is the time of day when i know – i just know – that anything is possible. it’s the time of day when my ideas are worthwhile and creative, not a waste of time and crazy. it’s the time of day when the loud call of the stack of to do’s is drowned out by the lure of writing and stitching. it’s the time of day when my shoulders and neck aren’t tensed, when smiles are my native language and my forehead looks freshly botoxed.

the trick, of course, is to capture this feeling and carry it in my pocket throughout the day – even as the world wakes up and stirs and begins its thievery.

in second grade, miss kerlin sat me down and talked me through how to draw a tree. put your finger on the paper, she said, and draw a line on each side of it. when you get to the top of your finger, let the lines branch off towards each corner of the paper, then fill in that “v” with other v’s and fill in those v’s with other v’s and just keep going. there, she said when i was v’ed out, now that’s a tree.

though it didn’t look like any tree that grew in the south, i took her word for it, and to this day, it’s how i draw a tree.


and a tree is the only thing i draw.

even if nobody recognizes it as a tree.

now you’d think it would be easier to draw lines – straight or even wavy ones, but lines, i tell you, are more of a challenge than trees. trees are vertical tubes, flared at each end, the top flare filled with nested v’s. they grow from the ground to the sky, and completely around whatever gets in their way. lines divide things, cordon off things, define things.

i drew trees in reading (don’t ask) (in sixth grade, i drew wrought iron railings . . . with a ruler) (again i say: don’t ask) and those cute little overlapping circles in math: venn diagrams.

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of course at this point, i’ve written enough for the niggler to wake up and realize – yikes, she’s writing. to answer the first niggling question, i google “venn diagram” because no, i am not absolutely sure that’s what they are called. (yep, venn diagrams: i was right.) (ha.)

and since i didn’t really mean to write about venn diagrams – it’s just where i found myself (the most delicious part of writing) and because lord knows, i couldn’t be the first one to ever write about venn diagrams and life, i felt compelled – absolutely compelled – to google a check.

right again: others have come before me.

(the sun is coming up now, by the way, and the first discernible thing i see is the driveway.) (figures.)

i find this interesting little venn diagram as business-planning-from-a-human-perspecitve schematic, so of course i follow my intriguement to see what else the fella had written, and one link leads to another and in less than a nano i find this story about a writer who wrote his stories in longhand, and when finished, hung each sheet on a wall then retreated to a far away place to edit via telescope.

now i ask you: who could resist the urge to email that little kernel to their boy in colorado?

and now the sun is lighting the world, and the dog is hugely annoyed with the trespassing family of deer (brave – did i mention brave family of deer) (it is deer season here, remember) come to eat the tenacious piddly stumps of plants left over from prior deer feasts. and ms. redbird is back defending her territory (which may be where i was headed with the whole venn diagram thing, who knows?). and the cat makes it known that he misses the dog who’s still outside drawing biological lines – i’m pretty sure they’re lines and not trees – to give the deer what we’ll call a map.

and so it goes.


p.s. for the clouds above the trees, i still sit my pencil aside and glue down cotton balls. i think you can probably tell why.