My studio has gone to the pigs. Not just any pigs, mind you, but the kind who feel unlimited by their earthly bodies, who never give up hope of being gracefully airborne and gliding through clouds. This piece, inspired by a professor at NSU, is my new favorite. She is SOME PIG!
When I was two through four years old in Minneapolis, we had a babysitter called "Wessie". Her last name was "West", and I couldn't pronounce her first name, so she was always just Wessie to me. She was quite old even then, and took me for walks in the neighborhood on a harness and a leash (oh yes she did!) because I was known to run at the sound of thunder. Just so you know, I don't do that anymore. :) We moved away shortly after that, and I never saw her again.
But every year, on Christmas and on my birthday, she sent me a book. I believe those books came until I was twelve years old (which would have made Wessie very old indeed). Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Pilgrim's Progress...it didn't matter what my actual reading age was, she sent books to challenge and delight. We didn't have cell phones, color t.v.s or the internet then, so reading was part of every day. I never would have willingly picked out the books Wessie sent to me, but I read every one of them anyway. And thank goodness I did! Wilbur and Charlotte were my favorite pair of characters, and remain forever the gold standard for an example of encouragement, friendship and the power of words.
I was too young to know whatever happened to Wessie, and also too young to ask why she was so kind, all those years after we moved away. Other than writing a perfunctory thank you note for each gift, I never asked about her, about our odd and lasting connection and about her choice of books. I wonder if she knew how magical those books became, how lasting the impact on my life, and how that kindness lingers as a sweet memory all these years later?
Today I am going to pass it on and send someone a book. Who knows? It might even be a book about magical pigs.