That’s what’s left of it— six safety pins from a chain I once wore beneath my dress to Saylor’s School and Forks Mennonite Church. Who’d suspect vanity in a girl so shy she seldom spoke? I liked how each pin clicked shut to link to the next and how they encircled me like a charm of daisies I counted round and round. Some would have said that was a sin. The same folks who’d pocket a shiny buckeye against the ache of rheumatism. I took my necklace off when I joined my life with Pete’s. I needed pins for diapers, school notes, lost buttons, loose straps— catastrophes only the quick clasp of hidden silver fixed.
If the tulip had bloomed any sooner, it would be small, I imagine, or pale. The work of green is the major thing, and what is that work but rest beneath the sun? Sure, cells scoot, bearing the sugars like good news, but the main task is reception.
You cannot say we should receive the sun all at once, instantly develop, nor call the gladiolus inferior for failing to overtake the tulip. Nature wouldn’t like it that way. To bless us is to bid us wait.
The strengths subsequent to dependence and delays reflect the feeding rays, not an egoistic show. This is why they are a sight to behold— both fragile and bold.
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).