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CHASING DOWN THE MUSE:Living in the truth of the moment

“Our yearnings generate life. Our desire animates us.”

A blanket of snow covered everything when I went to bed just past midnight. This morning, the blanket remains. Honking horns replace the hoots of owls and the screech of the hawk "” my usual morning fare. The scrape of a snow shovel rasps against concrete and wet tires swish with a sound very different from what my mornings usually hold.

I am living in Brooklyn for six weeks "” a new experience. I have been yearning to spend some time here both with and without my family since my daughter Kendall moved here last year.

While I have lived other places, it has been many years since I have called anything other than Laguna “home,” even briefly. This adventure is a familial one as I have come here to help out before and after the birth of my second grandchild. And I will also have plenty of time to explore.

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By the time you read this, a small bundle will have been delivered into the arms of my daughter in a hospital in Manhattan. Meantime, I am learning the routine for my two-year-old grandson, Christian. And what a delight that is!

It is "” for me "” a wonderful experience to watch the world through the eyes of this bright child. Really, watching through the eyes of any and all children is a treat. They see what we as adults take for granted or gloss over in other ways. The child still extant in me loves to be reminded.

The questioning "” “What’s that, Gramma? What’s that...noise, smell, image?” "” is near-constant and pulls me into a place of focused clarity regarding my surroundings that is far greater than usual. It both fascinates and intrigues me and I join in with his world easily and readily.

Walking “home” to my own sublet apartment last night, cold air tingling my cheeks, my eyes and ears took in all the sights, rich smells, and sounds of the streets on this mile-plus walk.

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I was struck by the fact that people don’t make eye contact with each other here, don’t seem to see each other at all. I knew this from previous visits and yet had not fully taken in what it feels like. Gotta say I don’t like it.

In my Gramma mode, I have to wonder what effect this has on an inquisitive child. I find myself pushing it, trying to force eye contact out of sheer stubbornness. Only a few connections thus far "” a couple kind of furtive. But even this does not tarnish the wonder of this experience and I am having a great time, whatever comes my way.

In spite of my personal effort, these six weeks will probably change little or nothing here in Brooklyn. They may, in fact, even change me very little. I will get close again to this part of my family, involved with their lives and their relationships with friends, family, and place, only to leave again.

The delight of this involvement will most likely enrich me in some unforeseen ways. Still, it will be short-lived and the happy moments will come to an end all too soon.

My adult self knows these six weeks will pass very quickly "¦ too quickly. My child self just enters into the moments as they come, filled with the very delight of them. Some of these moments are spent with family; some of them are in solitude. I am loving the joys of both.

My natural proclivity is to be impudent about this. Still, embracing sagacity, I know I will find myself in another six weeks feeling very lugubrious.

“Moment truth” (a term borrowed from Irwin Kula) finds me in the former state "” impudent perhaps, but thoroughly enjoying all of it for its natural duration. This is simply life. Would I change any of it? Probably not. I will embrace it in all the “sacred messiness” of it.


  • Cherril Doty is a writer, artist, grandma, and more. She can be reached at
  • emmagine8@cox.net or (949) 251-3883.


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