I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Maria Hummel is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and lives with her husband and son in San Francisco, near the only natural, aboveground creek in the city. Her writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Literary Mama, and Ploughshares. Her essay in this issue won the 2009 Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award from the Salem College Center for Women Writers.
The color of the hospital curtain dividing the room changes with the light. If our neighbor by the window keeps the blinds open, the cloth that divides the room is a sea green riddled with purple. If the neighbor likes it dim, the curtain becomes the mottled color of a bruise just before it heals. When we have no neighbor, we push the curtain back so we can see the view of the black-papered roof.