There are days and there are days.
There are days when the only things you notice are butterfly wings — brown-spotted and blue-bordered and yellow-all-over — and watermelon seeds, large and black and nestled each on in its own specific pink compartment.
There are days when you find yourself vigorously interrogating the gray cat who is insistent in his utterance of one expressive syllable as he runs before you and trails behind you from room to room.
There are days when you fold stacks of towels and stretch clean sheets across mattresses, and life would be all questions and no answers if there were not the towels and the sheets and the counter to be wiped of crumbs.
One butterfly sat on the gravel, slowly opening and shutting its wings, another circled in and out among the pine branches, a third dallied among the newly-mowed grass stems. I threw the watermelon rinds into the woods, where deer and raccoons and who knows what else will find them delectable. The cat finally subsided into sleep when our efforts at communication proved futile. The beds are all made.
And this is life: the facts and the questions all tangled together, the butterflies that seem so aimless, the watermelon seeds we will not plant, the cat and I talking incessantly and neither the wiser for it. Light, lovely, laughable.
G. K. Chesterton says that “You may safely put into your neckties” — and sheets and towels? — “solemnity and nothing but solemnity, because neckties are not the whole of your life — at least, I hope not. But in anything that does cover the whole of your life — in your philosophy and your religion — you must have mirth. If you do not have mirth you will certainly have madness.”
This whole of life? What covers it? What threads connect it? What kindness wraps it, that just in time you recognize the madness of the conversation with the cat, and laugh at yourself and him?
When the whole is full of holes, is it a boat in which, with holes unstopped, you will drown, or a box in which, without the holes, you will stifle? Or is it that, when you’ve exhausted the limits of boat or box, you will suddenly discover that neither boat nor box is the whole of life, but that life is a much, much larger thing, and that the whole of it, holes and all, is swaddled in a great mirth?
We sigh because life is weighty, but we may also laugh, because it is wondrous. Because butterflies’ wings are brown-spotted, blue-bordered, yellow-all-over, because watermelon seeds dwell in specific pink compartments, because cats make valiant efforts at conversation, because, just as it is not always Tuesday, it is not always Wednesday, either.