Whether consciously or unconsciously, when you think of someone, you call to mind an abstract image: a place, objects, an action that specific person is doing. Sometimes when I think of people, it’s several actions layered on top of each other: the compilation of their essence.
For instance, when I think of Amy, I see her at her home in the country. I see her cooking, offering wine and hospitality, the horses munching slowly as the light of day fades, and the food simmering easily in a pan. She has straight hair that’s always flattering no matter how she wears it and a killer sense of style. When she starts a fashion blog someday, I’ll be following it. She’s always the one who just gets it, who will tell it to me straight, and will always be there. She’s unpredictable yet consistent which is a paradox I love about her, and she takes time for the beautiful things in life. I see her playing cards with her family, the field by her house, the pictures of her in England, and the instrumental music in the morning.
And Drew, when I think of him, I see him making things. He’s a creator at heart, an artist and a woodworker. I see him in the garage he’s turned into a makeshift workshop or drawing in his sketchbook or arranging shapes and lines in his design programs. I see how he looks at people when he’s considering them and hoping to know them more deeply, and the quiet decidedness in his eyes. I think about how he fixes things, both material and immaterial, how he asks the questions that need to be asked, his love of knowledge and happenings. I see him outside by the fire, cinnamon whiskey in cups and steak grilling, the wood in the garage, and the sky darkening beyond the trees.
When I think about Elsie, I see her wide eyes and gracefulness. She’s fluid in how she moves because of her years dancing with the Minnesota Ballet company. I see her hair in a short ponytail and her Mary-Jane walking shoes. She has insight pooled in a place deep inside her, and I’m always startled but glad when we think differently from one another. I see the humor we share, her intense empathy and intuitiveness. I think of brushing our teeth in the same bathroom together, day after day, and how we both take joy in everyday moments of togetherness like those. I see us eating breakfast on the floor in our old apartment and praying in the middle of hard nights. I see her loving her husband and family, her fervent journaling, and the explanation of a lovely and extraordinary dream she had over breakfast.
How to describe these three in just a paragraph each? All the times we’ve loved each other and hurt each other and cared for one another. How to bottle up their essence and layers in just a few, short sentences? And then there are the other people I’d like to write out and describe.
When I think about it, I’m always surprised and happy that each person is so intensely complicated and profound. I think it’s a beautiful gift that we get the years that we do on this earth to know people and be known.
Who could refrain that had a heart to love
and in that heart, courage to make love known?
Photo by: Thomas Dworzak