On Things We Can’t Capture …

by Cris Gladly on September 28, 2012

image source: cropped from original, artist unknown

In the darkness of this morning,
I saw a flicker of loveliness.

For the briefest of fleeting moments,
the boundaries between worlds … relaxed.
And as a result (like a discretely revealed secret)
something quietly captivating appeared.

In this instance,
the glass of my backyard window stood as a canvas
capturing a stunning visual melding of two realities …

a simultaneous meeting of inside and outside.

From within … the shadowy reflection
of my daughter’s art easel,
illuminated from behind with the yellow-orange glow
of a light from a distant room.

From outside … a random swatch
of thin, bare, boney, finger-like branches
from a scraggly wisp of a tree poking up from below the window.

In the pane of glass,
the two come together in the most ethereal way.

Only the blonde-wood frame of my daughter’s easel showing,
solid in contrast to the floating, disembodied, three-dimensional snippets
of branch seeming to levitate both outside and within it.

image source: flickr

The effect is surreal and haunting and …

I can’t capture it.

I can’t get a hold of it
either in words, or with my camera
(I tried).

I want to share this with you.

With … someone.

The soft, otherworldly feel of it
makes me long to tiptoe back to my bedroom
and gently rouse a warm body slumbering there.

image source: pinterest (artist unknown)

I want to press my skin against someone’s skin
and softly stroke the side of a cherished face
and, once it stirs, whisper quietly and ever-so closely in its ear:

Baby … may I wake you?

I saw the loveliest thing just now.
In the window.
Outside. Only, not quite.
It’s so beautiful. So beautifully barely even there.
May I show you?

Come see.

And maybe that someone would rise, slowly,
returning, bleary-eyed and groggy,
from the land of dreaming,
to come stand with me
in the still darkness
to witness this brief lovely thing I see.

Or, maybe … as I lean in, whispering,
my own warm body sparkling with delighted wonder,
an arm would wrap around me,
pulling me in,

wanting me to witness beauty of another variety.

Either way,
in the darkness,
before the sun rises,

magic can sometimes be found hovering.

Revealing itself
in thin, fragile reflections
of things that can be felt and seen

… but are not there.


How about YOU?
What things are you unable to capture these days?
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

DawnV September 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Your writing is unlike any other… i could see the reflections in my mind’s eye and feel your longing to share the beauty you discovered with someone special… WOW!


Cris: Gladly September 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

:) … thank you!!! I’m so g;ad you could get some sense of it. This scenario happens to me so often. I see something that just takes my breath away and I have no way to share it. But it’s just too big in its beauty to keep all to myself. I am always happiest (and enjoy things most) when I’m sharing them.

Thanks for being here to see it with me, Dawn! xo!!!


Leela September 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Wow, Chris Cris Gladly! I have never read your “writing” before. It is truly amazing. I felt transported to that moment you experienced… I knew you were talented, but had no idea how talented. I’m so glad I clicked over to this post today. Thanks for being you and sharing your gift with us. Please keep sharing!


Cris: Gladly September 28, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hi, Leela!! Thanks for stopping by! So happy to have you here. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. yay! :) I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like lately. Feels good to be back in this space. Hope to see more of you here. And thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a comment. I really so appreciate it. xo


Ann McMahon September 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Beautiful Chris. Just Beautiful. Reminds me of the Seamus Heaney poem ‘Footprints’:
Useless to park & think you’ll capture it more thoroughly or indelibly. You are at one with what is here and there and gone…..


Cris: Gladly September 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Hi Ann … I am unfamiliar with that poet. I just tried to Google that piece but nothing came up easily. I’ll have to look again later. Always enjoy reading what resonates and lingers for other people. … I love the lines you shared with me though. Yes about “at one with what is here and there and gone”. I’m not sure I’m always at one with it. I struggle with the “and gone” part sometimes, but I’m learning. I’m getting better at breathing things in even the beauty that feels too big to hold on my own and savor what I can. SO appreciate you being here and sharing this poem reference with me. Thank you! xo


Ann McMahon October 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Doh! Thats because its called Postscript (where did I get footprints???) http://youtu.be/ZL56LrQg1Dk Enjoy oxo


Lazarus September 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Boldly well played, my friend. And a beautiful post about magic in that early morning darkness that no one else can see.

Thought I was posting this comment here, but it’s showing up on my FB page…? No worries.
Big love!


Cris: Gladly September 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Thank you, amazing friend. It took a whole week to get my brain moving at 6am, but it was worth it to see this ethereal awesomeness this morning. It was truly so delicate and odd and lovely. p.s. And I’ll take that FB shout-out!! danka mucho. lol.


Helen Hunter Mackenzie September 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Another exquisite post by you, my dear. I can SO relate to those moments of uncapturable beauty/revelation. I wish I could share them too! I think this blog post is probably the closest anyone can come. :) What I haven’t been able to capture lately is the immense love I have for my son, mixed with the knowing that he is growing up. In the most ordinary of moments I’m reminded of how grateful I am for him, and all the many versions of him I’ve witnessed over the last 11 years, as well as the future versions of him I’ve yet to meet.


Cris: Gladly September 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Thank you, Helen!! :) Indeed, as I plug in to the world around me more and more, moments like this happen to me more often. Sometimes I wish that my eyes were cameras so I could at least capture the visual. But capturing and then expressing what we see with our hearts … ahhhhhh, that’s why the world has poets! :) lol

{hugs} to you. I’ve been wearing my Firebrand necklace quite often!! :)


Stormy July 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I am re-reading this post with new eyes, eyes that now seek out these ephemeral, beautiful moments more than I have in a long time. And you have such a lovely way of writing about them. I’m glad I dropped by today!


Cris Gladly July 16, 2013 at 1:54 am

Hi Stormy!! Thanks for exploring the blog a bit and revisiting posts. Yes, I love this post, as it reminds me of a gorgeous moment that was like wisp of mist: there so ethereally and gone in an instant. It was like seeing a poem floating in between worlds. I love moments like that. There is a delicacy to them that seems precious and rare in the neon-sign like world of social media. Where moments are hustled not savored. Thanks for caring about this post (and this moment), too. I hope wish you a dozen of them sprinkled across your week. xo!


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