A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rejoice With Me

Tomorrow is trash pickup day on my street, so this afternoon I decided to get tough on one or two cartons down in my cellar. I weeded through a stack of papers and binders, then dumped the contents of a metal tin on my countertop. And what should I see in the pile but my little gingerbread man cookie cutter, which I have been fruitlessly searching for off and on since Christmas of 2001.

This cookie cutter was part of a bake set belonging to my daughter, now 28, when she was a little girl. I liked the size and shape, so I appropriated it. I used to make hundreds of gingerbread boys and girls every year around the holidays, along with scores and scores of other favorite baked goodies.

I would decorate the cookies painstakingly with royal icing, colored nonpareils, and silver dragées, usually in the middle of the night when everyone else in the house was sound asleep and I'd have no interruptions. I had a certain design for the boys, another for the girls, which I never varied. A couple of girls and a couple of boys went on either side of each of the many, many platters of cookies I gave away each year. And some got little gold threads glued to their backs with a bit of royal icing, so they could hang on the tree.

When I moved East a few years ago, minus most of my belongings, I tried to find a substitute gingerbread man cookie cutter, but none satisfied me. They were all too big, the arms stuck out at the wrong angle, the heads didn't have the perfect proportion of my prototype. I ended up purchasing a couple anyway, but never used them. And then when I finally was reunited with all my stuff--two 24-foot truckfuls--I couldn't find the little man anywhere.

What he was doing mixed up with a tube of lanolin, a spool of thread, some euro cents, an Egyptian bookmark, and other random bits of junk, I can no longer recall. But I felt like the woman in the parable who lights the candle and grabs the broom and sweeps and sweeps, when she finally finds the missing piece of silver.

"And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost."

Which was the equivalent, two millenia ago, of devoting a whole blog entry to the discovery.