La Lumièr (For Carole)
by Miriam Kalman Harris

Sometimes it's hard to talk.  Lines of communication grow dusty and sag under the burden of time.

I emerged from my study for a breath of fresh air -- it gets stagnant in there:   papers pile up and I trip over my own debris as I try to sift through it.   The living room sofa offers respite:  just to lie and stare out at a different view, unlock my brain, begin again.  My eye caught on the lovely Baccarat bird on the étagère; the light gleams off its perfectly honed beak, sparkles through its delicate form.

I thought:
Carole gave me that bird.  I wonder if she remembers.  She must have considered me special--not just because of the expense.  Surely friendship isn't measured in dollars, though at times dollars can enter the picture at a level crass enough to mar it.

I thought:
This figure glistening on the shelf must stand for more than its name, more than its price.  It must testify to some hope for perfection and beauty.  Like the ancient Herodotus, it must represent an ideal of human possibility that illuminates the vision of the creator in the same way the light gleams off the crystal as it passes through.

I thought:
Baccarat figures are never anatomically realistic in the way Boehm figures are.  They make no attempt to become a human caricature like the Royal Dalton "Balloon Lady;" no effort to imitate the slim, poetic form of a Lladro "Milk Maid."  They can never depict; they can only imply.  Baccarat figures are merely suggestions of form; outlines stripped bare of all unessential ornament.  The details of each figure are left to the imagination of the viewer.  Therefore, no two people can ever see this bird in the same way.  It is to each person who beholds it, a different bird.

I thought:
Sometimes no words exist that say what we think and rather than defile the available ones we must rely on silence.  Not a silence of anger; not a silence that adds to the burden of time, but a silence filled with peace and assurance --a silence that speaks to a part of the self that needs no words, a part of the self offended by sound.

I thought:
She might want to know this____________she might
want to know . . .

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