I took a detour on my way home from school a few days ago, and found myself out on Lorane Highway, a hilly country road, on a dramatic, cloud-heavy, sunny day.  Meandering.

There’s a famous Japanese poem about sailors in a little boat who turn a bend and BAM! see magnificent Mt. Fujii.  I particularly like that poem because it uses a grammatical particle whose very reason of being is to show the sudden, surprising acknowledgment of existence.  How cool is that?  A friend, running a marathon in Florence, remembered this particle when she went ’round the bend and saw the Duomo.  BAM!  And there it was.  She told me she thought of my story then, my particle love story.  And how cool is that?  It was almost as if there I was, suddenly, waving at her from the steps, willed into existence in that moment of recognition.  I saw the pictures: her face, almost ravished with joy.  Can you imagine being a little ant in the corner of the sudden acknowledgement that something magnificent is?

Moments like that remind me that studying language is my calling.  Moments like that and moments like this.  For me — driving down the road last week — what was it?  My Mt. Fujii, my Duomo, my Japanese particle?

A flock of wild turkeys crossing this lonely stretch of wooded highway.  There must have been two dozen of ‘em on both sides of the road, all escapees from Thanksgiving.  Fat and happy and free.  Timing is everything.

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