Here is the book

Forty pages

Cynthia Miller painting, used with her permission
Vase, Cynthia Miller

Here is the book. It is a place of forty pages. But look, there are pages within the pages, and there are pages within those pages, and soon there will be a flower growing from within the center of all the pages, and from the outer pages springs of green grass shall sprout, while from between the petals of the flower a variety of birds emerge, sparrows, flycatchers, cardinals, phainopepla, and above the sun emerges from a full cloud to brighten and warm the day, and we read the book in which is written our life story, but how, we ask ourselves, for there are two of us here, no, wait, two and four and 19 groups of two, all asking, how can our life story be written for we have lived no life and know no language, and the peal of the bell, many bells along with stringed instruments calls our attention away from our questioning and brings us back to a single sheet of paper, folded so that we might hold it in our hands while behind us a wave very gradually and without shouting comes onto the shore and a gull comes on the second wave and a boat comes on the third wave and people with brown and white and yellow skin emerge from the boat and ask us what light we walk under, what rain covers us and makes the flowers grow and what a page contains but we can not answer for we only know that the next step we take will cause the ringing of another bell the plucking of another string the gradual quickening of the pace of the rhythm tapped upon the smooth wood of our wandering. And now that a stop has been placed in the river we must stop gazing to the west where the light has again gone behind the cloud and the birds have quieted and the flower has retreated into the pages of a book and the forty pages have closed so that just a face full cheeked and sleepy eyed and with a querulous look is facing us as we close our eyes.