better than the one before


There are two things happening at once: I am overwhelmed by the sudden desire to type out some rambling descriptions of recent existence, and my siblings are having a dance party. The issue here is that my laptop and the dance party happen to be in the same room, and this dear laptop cannot be unplugged for more than approximately thirty seconds without experiencing a sudden and dramatic death. Therefore, we will coexist in the darkness, one human squinting at a too-bright screen while the other four turn up twenty one pilots to dangerous levels of volume and burn off their sugar-induced energy.

I found three pieces of a butterfly wing in the barn tonight, black and orange and impossibly thin. They kept fluttering off my fingers and spinning away through the air, acting as if they still held some kind of fragile, weightless life. Now they’re on my desk amidst empty jars and half-read books and mint gum wrappers. Eventually, I’ll rediscover them amidst the chaos, and I’ll be surprised that they aren’t lost. Maybe I’ll look around for some glue and paper and a camera, and maybe I’ll attempt to turn them into something beautiful.

Blackberries are coming to life along the edges of the hayfield, there was purple lightning in the clouds tonight, and everything smells like summer. I discovered this forgotten green t-shirt with the most excellent front pocket that is especially perfect for blackberries. Maude could easily spend all day wandering between the thorny plants, tail waving in contentment, carefully pulling berries free and swallowing them whole. She’s slower to stand up recently, which I try not to notice which makes me notice more which earns her a whole lot of hugs.

*living room floor collapses under the sheer pressure of four children shouting and dancing along to Tear In My Heart louder than should be physically possible*

I wandered over to my desk this morning and realized that I’d left these two books side-by-side the night before:

….no further commentary.

Here, there is a pause, and a small housefly lands on the screen. He glances at this sentence, watching as it lengthens rapidly beneath his feet. Curious, he tilts his head, mutters something about literature, and buzzes away unharmed.

Here, there is a late supper, the clinking of dishes, laughter that hurts, a broom against the floor in soft silence.

Sometimes I remember that there are photographs, hundreds of them by this point, that never made their way onto this site. I didn’t really mean to prioritize writing, it just happened… there’s art, too. A whole lot of weird little drawings that live on my Instagram stories sometimes. You could go here, if you feel so inclined, and explore the more visual side of my creative endeavors. :)

NASA was supposed to launch a rocket into space today. Most of us gathered in the living room to watch the live stream, and there was this quiet, anticipating excitement in the air. I was kind of hoping for an Okay For Now moment:

And we watched Apollo 11 blast off to the moon. It was something. First, this flash of light leaps out everywhere, all this fire behind it. And the big clouds of smoke right behind the fire, and then slowly, like it is barely moving at all, this huge tower of a rocket starts to go up, and you can’t believe it’s really going up, but it is. And then it starts to tilt a little bit, and then it heads up with the fire beneath it, and up, and suddenly it’s hurtling through the blue, flying faster than Audubon could ever imagine. And then it gets smaller, and smaller, and you hear people at Mission Control clapping, laughing—and you want to clap and laugh too.
– Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt

Instead, dark clouds gathered in the sky and ended the whole thing, and we all sat on various couches and stared at the rocket sitting solidly against the ground, pointed towards the sky, waiting.

The letdown will make the real launch seem all the more beautiful and special when it does come. Imagine, imagine, imagine leaving this planet and seeing it from somewhere beyond. Can you believe that humanity figured it out? Someone stood outside and stared up at the stars, felt firm earth beneath their feet, almost heard infinity breathing somewhere beyond the atmosphere, and decided that they wanted more.

I sent this to a friend today, and now I will show it to you—from “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry:

It’s the strangest, most wonderful little story. I want everyone to experience it, but I also want to tuck it away on the bookshelf and savor the quietness of reading something that no one else seems to appreciate in the same way.

But what I really can’t stop thinking about is being seven or eight, bare feet tucked beneath the hem of my too-long dress, reading the final lines of Narnia for the first time and completely forgetting how to breathe:

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
– The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

It took me years to realize what that story finally taught me: the most important thing that a writer can do is write about what’s true.

And now I sit in a broken office chair at 2:37 AM, spinning in slow half-circles and listening to the silence. I hope you will tell me about rockets and dogs and odd little stories. I would like very much to listen. With eyes hardly open, I will click the publish button, and I will wake up wondering what in the world I dared to write when I should have been long asleep.

*tired salute*


30 thoughts on “better than the one before

  1. <3 <3 <3
    i love the little prince and okay for now
    i also think you should pay tribute to three slices of butterfly wings that will never fly again
    that is a picture i would adore
    this post is prolly my favorite now

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love how you find beauty in your life, Clara. It inspires us to find all those shy, small moments in our own. Thank you so much for that.

    “They kept fluttering off my fingers and spinning away through the air, acting as if they still held some kind of fragile, weightless life.” <3 <3 <3

    Liked by 2 people

  3. before i begin: thought you might want to know that this post didn’t show up in my reader ! , and when i saw the lack of likes/comments i wonder if maybe it didn’t show up in anyone else’s too? hmmm.
    well.
    can one even begin? i lost my breath when i read those narnia lines again. the truest lines, but terrifying and terrific and trembling and torn and troubled and yet triumphant
    and i envy your dance party only because it was twenty one pilots, not charlie puth or justin bieber or *evilest of them all* kidz bop
    but everything else too … the way you begin with blackberries and descend into something deeper than philosophy, in soft waves, until they become the gentle spinning of an office chair – that proves that you’ve been able to dance in your words. you’ve broken the two dimensional; never settle for it again
    i will never tire of reading your words <3 <3 <3
    power to the local dreamer ||-//

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know about the reader problem :) Your comments always make my absentminded ramblings seem like something so much more, and I can’t appreciate you enough for that. <3

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on midnight mind and commented:

    *small wave* Jul was kind enough to inform me that this post isn’t showing up in the WordPress Reader, so I thought I’d try sharing it again—not that anyone is particularly suffering without my 2 AM ramblings in their life, but oh well. :)

    Like

  5. *inhales*
    *exhales*
    *inhales*
    *also exhales*
    i think, clara, the right word wasn’t suffering for want of this little piece. but it was longing. the days have been so broken and somehow in the middle of it you put some fairy lights up and smoothed the cracks to be their own little pieces. i can’t thank you enough for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YES YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASLEEP. I don’t understand night owls 😂 but this is absolutely beautiful, and so much like my house, it’s crazy XD ayyyyyy Narnia. Lovely. :’) and I have very much been enjoying your doodles, thank ye for sharing them 😄
    Most crazily, ~Olive

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post is so lovely. Your writing is like quiet, unassuming poetry, and I love it <3 Those pieces of butterfly wings trying to fly are going to haunt my mind (in a beautiful way). I love Okay for Now! And the Little Prince is so short but so poignant and beautiful. And that quote from The Last Battle!! You clearly have excellent taste in books. That rocket launch moment makes me think of the Twenty One Pilots song Truce: "The sun will rise / and we will try again".
    Twenty One Pilots songs have been blasting at extreme volumes in my house a lot recently. And I've definitely had the experience of trying to write while my sisters are having a dance party. It's a struggle XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! You’ve been leaving the sweetest comments and I keep forgetting to reply to them. They’ve made me smile so much, thank you :)
      You clearly have a wonderful taste in books as well! And in music, Truce is one of my favorite songs. <3
      It makes me happy to find someone who relates to that struggle XD thanks again for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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