What Really Matters

by Starla J. King on August 14, 2014

“If you read the letters written by the painter van Gogh, you will see what his creative impulse was.  He loved the sky, for example.  He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was so he painted it for them. And that was all there was to it.” ~Brenda Ueland, from her book “If You Want to Write

Like van Gogh (as if!), I love the details that make up our human existence and the experience of the world around and within us.  The details that create moments, those times that something sparks and we see a shimmer around the edges (Joan Didion), or a gleam (Ralph Emerson), or that ping… that sudden, electric sense of knowing (Dani Shapiro).

Like van Gogh, I want to show how beautiful — even transcendent — mere moments can be, but instead of painting them for you, I write them.

And then I wonder if that’s enough.

Is it enough to tell you that when I block out the street view below, the lime-beige plushness of the tree outside my 3rd-story window looks like a beckoning meadow, and I slip into a reverie of lying on my back surrounded by a darling host of clover blooms, feeling the breeze breathe across my cheeks as I dozed off  to the soft chatters of nature… and to tell you the truth I don’t know if it’s an actual memory or just a daydream?

Is it enough to describe the sparkle in her eye just before she laughs as a split-second flash of sunlight dancing off a diamond; to tell you that just a couple days ago that glint sliced open my heart like a fresh plum and I thought I need nothing else, ever, beyond this moment?

Is it enough to attempt to convey the indescribable (yet we keep trying) hues in dusk’s palate: a red ochre dip for the flamboyant petal over there, a pearly luminescence for the fuzz-dusted leaf over here?

Is it enough to just offer an approximation of my sensory experience without further explanation, suggestion, or pontification?

Well… it was enough for van Gogh…

So today it’s not about the metaphor or deeper meaning.  It’s not about expanding the present moment into anything beyond itself.  It’s not about changing the world, changing myself, or changing, really, anything.

It’s simply about this moment.  The one where I write, you read, and, for a few words, we feel the day together.

And that’s all there is to it.

sunrise in Philly

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

you did it again!
hope your day is as wonderful as your words!


Starla J. King August 14, 2014 at 10:46 am

aw, thanks Dawn! You know, having written this piece, I’m finding the wonderful in today big time. May you do the same.


tina burkholder August 15, 2014 at 7:06 am



Starla J. King August 15, 2014 at 8:48 am

Tina, do you agree with this post or not? It’s hard to tell… 😉


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