Credit: Courtesy

At 2 a.m. the room was so bright, I thought it was time to get up. Clouds whitewashed the sky, reflecting and expanding the light of the almost-full moon. The world outside the windows looked like a field of frost, and all the furnishings of our enchanted house were pearly and lustrous. Inanimate objects were shining, on the cusp of whispering. A spell had been cast; nothing was ordinary anymore.

I lay in bed and drifted back to sleep as the moonlight filled me up, but I was still infused with magic hours later. I sipped my coffee and watched the silvery glimmer of a new morning emerging. Veils of fog were swirling about the hills, and the light and color kept shifting, forming different patterns of radiance and hue, and I couldn’t wait to go outside.

“You’re more wound up than usual,” Monte said.

But how could I not be? I was sparked with wonder and energized by miracles. And I’m not denying the worries and fear, but sometimes I prefer to focus on the wonder. It’s okay to let joy in: Joy inspires hope, and hope is a prerequisite to (and an outcome of) meaningful action. Yes, wonders abound, and in them there is sustenance. My favorite assignment is to notice.

I mean it about miracles. The moonlight was just the grand finale of a week that had contained a veritable procession of them. The honeysuckle buzzed and thrummed with a crowd of bees and hummingbirds each morning, and a sphinx moth, plump and astonishing, hovered like a helicopter above the salvia — I had never before glimpsed such a creature. The fog, meanwhile, was in its finest form, seductively dancing through the hours, revealing and concealing, and divulging with each passing another way of seeing.

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Fog is “the breath of the sun,” Jacob wrote, and I love when friends speak poetry, so I count it as a gift, and a gift like that is a little miracle too. As was the hand-addressed envelope in the mail from Mr. Brownell that contained a clipping about writing … on exactness, to be exact … by Virginia Woolf, with a note in pen asking my opinion on her use of doublets, such as “varied and vigorous” or “subtle and insidious”… How delicious is that? How random and yet utterly felicitous?

Miracles, I tell you. They’re everywhere, bombarding us. My guru grandson has been looking at the anatomy drawings in a visual dictionary, intrigued by the see-through layered diagrams of humans and their inner parts, fascinated by the revelation that he has blood and bones beneath his skin. “Skin and blood!” he sings in a video they sent me. “I’ve got skin and blood!” He swings his arms as he sings and swaggers happily across the living room, feeling substantial and pleased with himself, newly aware of his own completeness and complexity, all that good blood flowing, all that potential for fun and discovery. All those diggers and combine harvesters outside, and grapes on a plate, and screwdrivers too. Why am I not doing the miracle dance myself?

But I am. That’s the point. I’m giddy with it. I haven’t even told you how I watched Monte reading the sea, how he enters the water at just the right place and becomes somehow in sync with it, or how good it felt to pedal along a country road with my buddy Diane and then set down our bicycles and sit in the shade, noshing and gabbing, just a couple of New York girls who somehow found our way to this elsewhere and stayed.

There was a rocket launch, and the long boom that follows, then the comforting return to bucolic tranquility, when the quiet is more sweetly, deeply quiet than ever we knew. I watched a Zoom presentation by heroic people who are working to save democracy, and I saw that we are nowhere near giving up, and that was quite a boost. I walked with two little girls who pointed out a pale rainbow in the sky, a hawk on a nearby branch, and mushrooms the size of dinner plates. 

And I heard story-talk among friends gathered at a table, and felt the warmth of human camaraderie, and recognized the miracle that of all times and places, we are in this time and place together. 

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