Thin Places

When I was a kid, I had a subscription to Cricket magazine. I loved the running commentary from Cricket and Ladybug and the fat snail and the blind earthworm, down in the margins. I read each issue hungrily and memorized the artwork with my hungry little writer’s soul, fantasizing about pairing my own words with such beauty. When my parents split in 82, the magazines disappeared—or so I thought.
Last December I found one of them under the sofa in my father’s house. Mice and elves on the cover, 1973. and then in January another, in a basket in the upstairs bathroom beneath Lake Wobegon Days. 1974, a Valentine’s issue, aswirl with candyhearts and paper roses imprinted with tiny cricket footprints. And, last month, still another, this time on a shelf beside the basement stairwell. Christmas 1974. I began to search for others, and they started turning up—in a small stack in one of the closets in the garret bedroom upstairs, behind the old yellow Ethan Allen dresser in the basement. I became obsessed with finding the Hallowe’en issue from, I think, 1974, simply and solely for the graphic on the cover. Having apparently nothing better to do for two days over spring break, I shuffled through the attic, determined to unearth that magazine. The cover was for me a completely perfect expression of Hallowe’en, always my favorite holiday. On the front was a city alight with the small and large peregrinations of the night, and on the back was a thrillingly haunted country scene depicting an assortment of ghosts and goblins and witches and jack o’lanterns marching and dancing through the fullmoonlit countryside. Hallowe’en was for me the cusp of the year, even as a child, a time when it seemed the progression of the seasons tilted and moved into newness. The magazine held all that—-the scent of pumpkinflesh carved and slightly scorched, the sense that anything was possible and that all the thin places of the world were standing open, enshrouded in a playful beneficent witchy silver mist. If I could only lay eyes on those goblins again!
I never did find the magazine, at least not yet.
But I did find a box of marching horses—a porcelain gray prancer with an illfitting white plastic saddle and a velvet sorrel with a stillsilky mane and tail and wide eyes. I found the gray tabbycat handpuppet I told endless stories to as a child, her green eyes milky and shot out. I found a journal I kept from the fifth grade through the seventh, beginning with a description of a November rainstorm and ending with a reminiscence about wandering the bridlepaths of the horse pasture behind our woods and imagining I was a deer. I found my guide to the care and training of Shetland sheepdogs, with my beloved Sheltie’s papers tucked inside. I found a pair of thick glasses with brown plastic frames in a bright red cloth case, the left much thicker, as ever, than the right. I found a decoupaged box with three of my baby teeth and a set of tiny castiron salt and pepper shakers in it. I found a yarn panda bear filled with foam, put together by my Grandma Floyd.
The thin places did open for me, it seems, in a seamless beckoning into the deepest satisfactions and sweetest treasures of my girlhood. Were they there all along, and I just didn’t look?
I’ll keep my eyes open better from now on.

copyright 2007 l.k. sorrells

Thin Places


Jasper, United States

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