The Blog

| October 22, 2018

Number 267

I Have a Thing for Mica

It’s that shiny stuff you see in the sidewalks. 

At some point a little over a year ago, I spent a late afternoon with an ageless beauty from my past. The timing was perfect, as everything was last year, and I’m sure it always is, but last year it was being observed through a microscope and calendared by an old school stenographer who wouldn’t allow for a mistake of any kind.

We, the ageless beauty and myself, hadn’t seen each other in a very long time and no time had passed at all, as is true with all lifer-connections. I love this girl. I did the minute I met her. Such big eyes. Such a background story. Such a creative spirit. Such a mystery.

Anyway, we lunched, it turned into after lunch and we were amazingly still somewhere in our teens-twenties-forever-age. We caught up, we passed that, we talked real talk, it mattered. And then, she reached into her bag and she gave me mica. That’s specific.

And how did she know? Or remember?

Mica is that stuff in sidewalks that sparkles and shines and, when you look at it closely, it has layers of clarity and fog.

She loves mica. She wanted me to have some. She hands me pieces, not knowing, or maybe she does, that I already have some in my wallet. And what kind of connection is that?

So, mica. Clarity and fog. And beautiful. And ageless. And mysterious. It makes me think of ancient mirrors that show the present and seemingly the past at the same time, like shadows, like echoes, like nothing is totally new, so get over it. And there’s comfort in that. There’s always a kind spirit just over your shoulder saying, “yes, it’s not so bad,” or “yes, do it! It’s everything!”

I’ve picked up pieces of mica and held onto them since I was a kid because I thought they were special and they reflected things bigger than ourselves and they reminded me of faded glamour, and why I thought that at the age of 5 or 6, I have no idea. But there you have it. Either you get the Norma Desmond concept…or you don’t.

I find, as I’m getting more seasoned, that the idea of shadows and echoes and memories and imagined memories is more and more attractive and more and more…concrete. We make ourselves up out of whole cloth. We build our legends and set them free.

I love my legend. I love the story. And when viewed through layers of mica, it becomes a beautiful, magical, mystery tour. Take big bites, that’s what I say. And paint with big strokes. It matters. People remember. We become Exhibit A in their museum of fragmented memories..

I went to a reunion last week for someone else. For the Muse, in fact. It was wonderful. It was thoughtful. It was a celebration. It was a homecoming. It isn’t my happening to discuss. But I casn say this – something that was made evidently clear – we are all mirrors for each other. Reflecting fondness and hopefully good will. And it’s a wonderful thing to see the focus of your life be so appreciated and enjoyed and cherished for everything that they have experienced and survived and thrived through.

Exhibit A? Oh yes, I think so.


Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.
– Joseph Brodsky

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