The truth is, for lunch today I had a leftover biscuit from an order of Kentucky Fried Chicken we had last night.
The truth is, the last time we had a bucket of chicken was 10 years ago February, when we were moving our worldly goods from a frozen shipping container back into the house, during a snow storm, while I had a cold, during a very bad month. A neighbor, taking pity on us, delivered the seasoned, greasy sustenance and we were grateful.
Did I tell you that story then? Likely not. Which is weird because, through all the mess and hurry and cold and worry and excitement of the day, it’s the one detail I remember strongly: frozen, weary hands shoveling warm, salty bits of chicken and fried potatoes into hungry mouths.
I’ve been thinking about things like this recently. Not fried chicken (well, some of that), but about these little online windows we open to each other. How we tell each other some things and not other things. How we cultivate a view, the person we want to be, showing what we believe to be our best sides. Not necessarily intentionally to deceive, but, really, who wants to post a picture of the (yet again) clogged toilet?
The popular term for this picking and choosing is curation, a term I like because it makes me think of museums, store rooms full of long-hidden masterpieces, wooden crates of artifacts, a candy store of beauty, age, and mystery just waiting to be picked through, selected, displayed.
Every single thing that I tell you here is the truth, at least the truth as I see or understand it. But I don’t tell you the whole truth.
Sometimes the truth is not mine to tell. Earlier this spring, for instance, a thing happened. It’s a thing that stopped me writing here because it was a very big thing, a difficult thing, and it took my full attention and sapped my energy. This thing was medical, and it happened to my darling M. And he’s better now. We came through it and things are going to be okay.
But I stopped writing here because, really, what was I going to say? It wasn’t my story to tell. I couldn’t write about the biggest thing happening in my life, but I couldn’t blithely go on writing about goats or dinner or spring turning on her green light.
The truth is, I lost the desire to write, and I kept our truth close to us and cared for it like a small, tender thing.
The truth is, I wanted to be invisible, to have the world disappear for a time, and still I missed being here, sharing stories and thoughts, because this is often the place where I figure things out, make connections between ideas and the world and you lovely people who read and comment, or just read and think.
The truth is, while I was not here, life spun on. The toilet did, indeed, get clogged. Those darling baby goats were born. We filled the refrigerator, emptied it, then filled it again. The dog and I rambled the valley. The car’s check engine light came on, went off, came back on. No one can figure out why. The lawn mower died mid-mow, but M brought it back to life with a $1.50 spring. The bees made honey and baby bees. The cherry blossoms bloomed, then faded. I started some new projects. I learned to knit (poorly). The school year ended and H became a senior facing her last high school summer.
People wrote beautiful songs. Geese came home. Ambulances arrived at accident scenes. Rain drenched roots. Politicians squabbled. Seeds germinated. Chickens were slaughtered, sold, and fried. We forgot things we were sure we’d always remember. Norma Desmond came down her glorious staircase, ready for her closeup. Stains blossomed. The earth turned. Voices carved songs.
Writers took up their pens and wrote the truth, as they understood it.