You received gifts

It snows and it snows. I’m tucked into a table by the electric fire at Starbucks and don’t want to leave. There’s water softener salt to procure and Astro Boy to fetch from the library (Jonah’s been eagerly awaiting our request that it be transferred from another library “forever”). Who knows what the roads are like. I’m astounded at the general public’s inability to drive in weather. Really, it’s a wonder.

I’m anxious about a handful of things today, most of them involving money. I hate money. I know, it’s a juvenile thing to say, but I hate money. And so what I’m given in this moment of apprehension is a book (for review). Of course, a book! Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which I’ve hardly started but in the first chapter came upon this epigraph, taken from a long poem by Czeslaw Milosz. It follows on the heels of my thinking about enchantment, and it gives me the gumption to lug that bag of salt through the blowing snow, and navigate the grocery store parking lot besides.

You received gifts from me; they were accepted.
But you don’t understand how to think about the dead.
The smell of winter apples, of hoarfrost, and of linen.
There are nothing but gifts on this poor, poor Earth.

from “Treatise on Poetry” in The Separate Notebooks

coming down

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