Molly Fisk: Here’s What I Love

2526215746_483e6ff397_zImage by Seth Morabito via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Today, here’s what I love: the sight of a cat’s front half under the rug and his stillness, his completely mistaken conviction that no one can see him. The fact that my arms are still strong enough to carry eight pieces of stove wood at a time. The way that buck outside eating the new growth off my photinia flips his big oven-mitt of an ear from behind his antler to the front, grazing the horn a little — casually alert.

I love radio for its disembodied company as I wash the dishes, and I love apple-scented dish soap. I love the mottled bowls my cousin Rapp turned and glazed and fired and gave me in trade for a Norwegian sweater I knitted for him in 1982. The way their round sides gleam in the drainer as the sun inches up over Cement Hill, slips past the neon sign at the Willo, and blazes into my kitchen windows all at once, like a wave breaking.

Somebody said that love is a verb — a statement nearly moronic in its obviousness if you’re looking at it grammatically. The point being that in order to have love in your life you have to start loving, rather than wait for love, the noun, to be handed to you. Wading bravely through my distaste for psychological platitudes, I do understand this, although I think the phrase was coined in reference specifically to romantic love. Romance is great, don’t get me wrong, but proportionately it makes up only a small part of a life. Love, on the other hand, is huge, and as necessary to our individual days as breathing.

What is it, anyway? Probably, everyone has their own definition, this being a free country. Mine is gladness, surprise, delight, a deep attention; sometimes a feeling of unmarred connection; benevolent and abiding support for something inside or outside ourselves. Depending on a host of factors, love can fall from your lips as easy as song or stick in your throat, unspoken.

It makes sense to me to practice love, to acknowledge it out loud, in the same way that people work their muscles through exercise, or flex their brains by reading and thinking. Love as a practice feels similar to daily prayer or meditation, as a way to keep the channels to whatever is out there open. As with hiking, yoga, or crosswords, start slowly — you don’t want to sprain your heart. Find one thing to love today and praise it.

I love writing. I love the words benevolent and platitude, how they sound in my mouth, the click of the Ts falling into place like dominoes. I love that cliché “to coin a phrase.” Can’t you just see its making? Hot silver being poured oh-so-carefully into the little mold — enough to pick out every detail, not so much that it overflows. A quick dip into ice water, the hiss and steam, and a shiny new phrase rolls onto the table — bright, untarnished — ready for someone like you or me to give it our surprise and delight, our vast, best, down-home, fearless, complete and uncomplicated love.

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  • Patricia Ratcliffe September 26, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I love reading “Molly Fisk”

  • Susan Apel September 26, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Beautiful. I love the phrase and the concept “disembodied company.”