Tonight, just as the sun began to fall over Lake St Clair, as it does every night -- the same liquid melting of colors at the horizon, a unification of two elements -- I found myself worrying about an odd drop in business at the studio over the past week or so, wondering whether we had done something wrong, or whether it might be the usual mix of football games, bizarre weather, economic pressures, out-of-sorts relatives demanding to attend enormous Thanksgiving dinners in less than a week -- and then I saw the most drop-dead beautiful collection of ducks, geese, and swans -- the impossibly white swans dotting the lake's surface like thoughts -- or maybe angels resting.
And it came over me that joy does not reside in cash drawers, certainly not in the ugly knowledge that at least one competitor hopes to run us out of business. It lives in the sight of swan-butts bobbing along beside swan-tops, in the sudden appearance of holiday lights on a tree along Lakeshore Drive that Larry and I call The Chrystalline Entity, in the pleasure a customer expressed tonight after finding one of my crocheted 1920s-style hats ("I'm never going to take it off!!!!!")..........Maybe we'll keep the place open after the end of this season, maybe not. Maybe other shops have become cause celebres....maybe we've had our moment in the sun and ought to leave well enough alone -- or not. What matters is that ravishingly beautiful lake-scene, that particular shade of ice-mauve where the water seems to vanish, the sight of an ecstatic woman with a new jewel-toned hat festooned with buttons.
And because I have been thinking about them all day, let me add this: Maybe what matters, more than all else, is my ability to remember my mother, my grandmother, my no-longer-living but still present brother Randy, who brought happiness into the world each and every day of their lives, even when we had nothing to eat but Wheaties and water. So -- my friends -- think only of swans. Remember, too, what the Talmud teaches: If you think often of those who have gone before us, they will never truly die. svb