400 Words

“What lights you up?  What turns you on?  What makes you shiver with resonance?  List the songs, the textures, the flavors, the experiences.  The place that you’ll never forget.  The scent, the color, the time of day, the tree, the activity.


400 words.  Gush.  Savor.  Go.”

The heft of a book in my hands.  Fog lingering over the fields near my grandmother’s home in England.  The “Concierto de Aranjuez”, especially the second movement.  My motorcycle.  Flannel sheets on a cold night.  Hot “DD” tea with milk.  The bright fragrance and colour of Seville oranges slipping through dense green leaves and branches in the middle of a Spanish summer.  Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son.”  A nice fountain pen that somehow seems to be an extension of my own flesh and blood.  Anything by Alison Krauss.  A nasty blues guitar lick.  The velvet softness of a horse’s nose.  The depth of night when it feels like the whole world is asleep except me and the stories I want to tell.  My camera.  Astronomy.  The Atlantic Ocean as it embraces the island off the coast of Maine where my father grew up.  Roses, but please leave them on the bushes.  Singing – oh my how I love to sing!  The “Hallelujah Chorus.”  Maine lobster fresh from the boat.  English lemonade.  My cousin Pat’s Christmas cake, so dense and moist and sinfully rich – and that’s before Mum swaddles it in marzipan and royal icing!  Fresh vegetables, raw or lightly steamed with just touch of olive oil.  Scapa.  Anything by “The Civil Wars.”  My guitar.  Anything that reminds me of my father.  The feel of warm sand beneath my bare feet.  My best friend.  Her children.  Pashminas.  A good hockey game.  Learning how to surrender.  A good bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.  The LL Bean catalog.  Burrowing into my comforter on a morning when I don’t have to be anywhere.  Stillness.  Candlelight.  Grace – both the physical and the spiritual, but aren’t they related somehow?  Connection.  Fresh strawberries with a light dusting of sugar and oodles of clotted cream.  Listening to someone reading a story to a child, complete with sound effects.  Laughter.  A gurgling brook.  Birds singing first thing in the morning.  The patter of rain falling on the roof or a carpet of leaves.  An eagle soaring overhead.  Jazz.  Bluegrass.  “Guitar, 1913.”  Anything by Dave Beegle.  An impromptu choral performance in the Piazza San Marco.  Singing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on New Year’s Eve with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.  Black currant jam on toast.  The way ocean air stings the back of my nose.  God.  Poetry.  Mystery.  Art.  Moleskine journals.  Watching Tom and Jerry cartoons in my PJs .


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