The statistically average American family, consisting I suppose of motherfather, nemesister, brotherape, each in their separate seedpod of distraction, inhabit a house without a single active verb to keep them warm. They are all learning how to be outcome-oriented. If time weren’t still lurking among the flowerpots in the kitchen window, their lives would become joined in one vast wound, I wrote, standing on the stone bridge over the stream. The sound of water: something I used to think of often when I sat in classrooms waiting for the bell to bring us back to our senses. I always pictured a clearing deep in the forest where a spring welled up, unseen by anyone including myself. Later on, this favorite image symbolizing something like hope gave way to the cry of a night bird – a black-crowned night heron, a wild goose. I gave chase without avail. That cry offered the promise of shade in a land too brightly lit, like dark foliage in a 15th-century illuminated manuscript with hardly any blank space left in the margins. I hadn’t thought about this for many years, until the other night when I stood in the road looking back at my own house. It was all dark except for one window, dimly lit by the glow of the computer monitor – though to anyone who didn’t know this it might have seemed to emanate from the pilot flame on a gas stove, or a florescent nightlight. I stood outside in the darkness wondering what it might be like to have that statistically average family, wife and however many kids, remembering computer-generated images based on averages from hundreds of different, real faces. Male or female, such average features always turn out to possess uncommon beauty.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


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