The baby slid into our lives one day earlier this month. I can’t recall exactly which particular day, but the day was particular for the sliding.

Doctors inspect, find all parts present and correct, a girl. Parents check: not simply present and correct, but perfect, their girl child. 

Grandparents arrive, enter the dimmed room, quieting exultation. They sight the child, suppressing gasps of joy. 

They behold, astonished by smallness, their newest beloved. Already, immediately beloved.  

Lips a circlet of pink, the baby in stillness. Parents drained – but for now – electric with joy, unaware of their deepening sleep deficit, aware only of baby, baby, baby, miracle, fact, miracle.  

What is this love that bursts into being? This finer, purer love, this love that seeks nothing of the child, this love that demands nothing beyond that she be? This love, this agape? The grandparents are certainly agape. At this child, this miracle, fact, miracle.

In the quiet and stillness, in this room, tenderness has her domain. This room contains a new human person who sleeps, whose lips flicker and semaphore mystically. She sleeps and she teaches love.




The Preacher of Princes Bridge

You see him on the bridge when you pass among the midday crowds. Alone among the moving multitude, he stands stationary, his voice raised as he addresses us. In his hands is a slim black volume with cheap plastic covers. He reads, rather, he declaims from this book words of prophecy and of admonition.

The preacher’s voice is thin and high pitched, too feeble an instrument to serve his purposes without help. He augments the thin piping of his voice with a little microphone which emerges like the head of a small serpent from somewhere near his collar. The serpent’s head stays firmly in place within cooee of the preacher’s mouth, a mere kiss away, without visible support.

Assisted by this miracle, the preacher delivers his text. His voice starts high and ascends higher. The higher it rises, the softer it becomes. Eventually, the voice reaches its zenith where all sound ceases, then it falls again to shoulder height to begin the ascent of the next phrase.

Alone among all the movers at noonday, I stop to listen and to learn. Continue reading