Monday, November 17, 2014

First Word: Ellen Hawkins: Box


 Boxes are tidy and enclosed. They have no loose flaps or absent ends, otherwise they wouldn’t be a box. Inside your box—for we all have one—you finger the limits of your space, Marcel Marceau without the painted face. Your box may be as large as a museum or as tiny as a cube of sugar; it may swell or shrink as you adapt to changing circumstances.
            A box protects its contents: what’s inside is vulnerable, sometimes wobbly or bruised. Think of wine and custard, think of foam and fish; think of rubber boots and last year’s calendar. Think of all the calendars you’ve hung on a wall. Dozens of them are lined up, one year plastered against another, all jammed inside your very own box.
            Not that you can’t share a calendar. But chances are, only one person will collect them. The rest of the family—children, cats, turtles—may not recognize the importance of keeping the years neatly aligned, ready to be perused with pride or longing or wistfulness or surprise. Each year the box expands to fit in another calendar. You pass your fingers over rows of spiraled wire, hoping not to catch a nail on a rough edge.

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