Saturday, August 11, 2007

527 days, 10 hours, 45 minutes, 58 seconds

Her father tried to interest her in the heavens once. There was a man up in Ventnor with a high-powered telescope who set it out on the street whenever anything interesting was about to happen and invited friends and neighbors to watch along. He tried to interest her tripping over sticks on some mosquito trail to look for birds. He encouraged her to get up at six in the morning to ride bikes on the Boardwalk with him. And of course there were always his flowers.

527 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, 9.2 seconds

Pluto arrived last week. A paperweight from Glass Eye Studios in Seattle, part of their Celestial series, each piece handcrafted with ashes from when Mount Saint Helens volcano erupted in 1980. But Pluto's been demoted. He's being discontinued next year. Especially at this moment, she feels kinship with what they're now calling a dwarf planet. She saw these paperweights last year and almost bought one for a friend who's always running out to view the stars with binoculars, some of the most beautiful artwork she's seen. Even more exquisite to hold in her hand. And now, greedy child that she is, she woke up this morning anxious to buy another for herself: the Rings of Saturn. The small disk in the center. Black lines swirling around it. Last night's midnight panic. The brain swelling. Movement, her husband says. Health, he calls it. And she wants to hate him. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. She didn't even know him in 1980.