AJ is posting a free read right now. It’s suspenseful and long; man, he can write like the wind when he’s inspired and has the time! He says he envies how plot twists come to me between sleeping and waking; I envy him the ability to let the words flow like wine from a knocked-over glass. I did that the other day, by the way. Knocked over a glass of wine. It was one-third full. What a mess! You’d have thought someone was murdered.
No matter how poor someone is, you’ll often stumble across bits of beauty in unexpected places. Back when I was in NY, JJ and I often took weekend driving trips. Once, we came across a for sale sign in front of what had to be one of the ugliest, most run down houses we’d ever seen. There was no actual siding as far as we could tell. It was plank wood, and not a speck of paint remained on it. Window sills drooped, the concrete porch steps were cracked and weeds were growing up through the spaces. The yard was dirt and sand. The one big selling point was that it overlooked a gorgeous river; that view was incredible.
Out of curiosity, we pulled over and knocked on the door, asking if we could get a quick tour. Inside, it was worse than we expected; half the walls were without drywall, exposing the studs, and upstairs in the only bedroom, insulation still covered in plastic sagged from the ceiling. The place was dark and small and horrid, and their asking price way more than they’d ever get.
When we entered the kitchen, my eye was immediately drawn to a wood shelf on the far wall, just above eye level. It was over-wide and about ten feet long. That shelf was populated by the most gorgeous pieces of glass I’d ever seen. The sun was setting, and the golden light coming through the window over the sink lit up that glass as if it were custom made for the purpose. I couldn’t take my eyes off that display. These people were very poor, but they had created one area of brilliant beauty in their dingy house.
In rural Wisconsin, there are many people doing without, but somehow, they always manage to plant flowers. That’s their gift of beauty to anyone passing by. Even the ditches are full of orange day lilies and purple phlox.