Strap yourself in — I don’t think anyone has done a better, more complete or beautiful job describing apricots: “upholstered in a fine velvet.” Yes.
They were an impressive sight, a mountain of apricots in every stage from hard and green to soft and browning, though most of them were that range of shades we call apricot: pale orange with blushes of rose and yellow-gold zones, upholstered in a fine velvet, not as fuzzy as peaches, not as smooth as plums.
For a long time, when I mentioned something eventful in my own life, she would change the subject in the very opening words of her reply.
And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren’t as deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.
Beautiful, symbiotic relationship:
Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds.
When you say “mother” or “father” you describe three different phenomena. There is the giant who made you and loomed over your early years; there is whatever more human-scale version might have been possible to perceive later and maybe even befriend; and there is the internalized version of the parent with whom you struggle — to appease, to escape, to be yourself, to understand and be understood by — and they make up a chaotic and contradictory trinity.
Books are solitudes in which we meet.
A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.
On decay and rebirth:
Even decay is a form of transformation into other living things, part of the great rampage of becoming that is also unbecoming.
On the interconnectedness of things:
You can speak as though your life is a thread, a narrative unspooling in time, and a story is a thread, but each of us is an island from which countless threads extend out into the world.
A mature insect, including a moth or butterfly, is called an “imago”; the plural is “imagines,” and the cells that bring about that maturity in moths and butterflies and other flyers are called “imaginal cells.”
Strangers to our own existence:
The contemporary poet Robert Hass once wrote of this most solitary of poets (Rilke), this man who was always putting distance between himself and intimacy, “There are pleasures, forms of nourishment perhaps that most people know and he did not. What he knew about was the place that the need for that nourishment came from. And he knew how immensely difficult it was for us to inhabit that place, to be anything other than strangers to our own existence.”
How stories sustain and expand us:
We feed on sorrows, on stories, on the spaciousness they open up when they let us travel in our imagination beyond our own limits, when they dissolve the boundaries that confine us and urge us to extend the potentialities of our imperfect, broken, incomplete selves.