Habits | Lifestyle | Writing

Graced with the Ordinary

“Let the world
have its way with you,
luminous as it is with mystery
and pain –
graced as it is
with the ordinary.”

– Mary Oliver, Summer Morning

Today, for his birthday, I used the camel hair shaving brush while shaving. He gave it to me in a ceremonial way, as if turning over command of the Bridge, about eighteen months ago. Hard to say when, really, but it was clear it meant something to him and he wanted me to have it. And to use it. Well, old habits die hard, and when you shave your face every day you form deep habits. Still, I’d use the brush now and then because it performs. Nothing lathers your shaving cream like a good shaving brush.

The small, ordinary things stand out for me. Maybe it’s the writing that draws my eye to the commonplace, but honestly I think it may be the other way around. I’ve always had an inordinate focus on the small things around me, and those small things seek a voice in the universe. We honor the things we amplify.

The old Navy pilot would pull me aside and talk of my writing, such that it is, and encourage me to keep going with it. He read a lot, he knew good writing, and he saw something in mine that sparked his interest. It was shortly after that that he gave me the shaving brush. Maybe he had it in mind for me all along, but it felt connected. And I feel the connection with him when I use it to shave.

Happy Birthday Pops.

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