Carry a Small Grape is the title of the third story in Chapter 3, Intensity: Say Yes of Life is a Verb by Patti Digh.
In this story, Patti describes her youngest daughter’s obsession with carrying around a small object. Tess carried her little object wherever she went; outside on the swings, in her bedroom (where it slept under her pillow, of course), on the seat next to her in the carriage.
What was the object? Two small bars of hotel soap lovingly preserved in a ziploc bag.
Digh goes on to tell of the same affection her daughter developed for a tiny grape that she found during snack time; how Tess gushed over the tiny grape, how fragile the tiny grape was to her, how teeny-tiny cute it was. The grape was also carried around by Tess and given a place of honor in a bed of toilet paper placed inside the lid from a bottle.
These small objects are Tess’s talismans; her good luck charms. They bring her joy and she, in turn, treats them with great reverence.
We all have talisman; a rabbit’s foot, shiny pennies, a favorite pen, a piece of jewelry, a pair of socks, a feather, a shell, a rock or momentos from a favorite vacation. These are items that bring us joy, bring us luck, bring us comfort. We cherish them and, perhaps, feel a bit of sadness when they fall apart or when we lose them.
In my studio I have a small, sacred space. In this space I have a statue of Buddha, feathers, shells, pictures, and other small trinkets that I’ve collected along the way. Here I can sit, meditate, contemplate, and enjoy these trinkets. However, I don’t carry any of these items with me, like Tess carried her tiny soaps and grape.
At the end of the story, Digh encouraged readers to think about their “grape”; the item or items that create wonder in us and that bring us joy. Then she challenges us to create a collage or drawing or poem of these items and to make that our personal talisman that we carry with us.
I finally got around to making my talisman this weekend.
My talisman, my “grape” includes a picture of Eric and I, Woody, Pippin, and a picture from our trip to Santa Fe. It came together easily, except for choosing a picture from one of our vacations. I decided on the shot from Bandelier because it symbolizes the awe with which I view our world. We are but a tiny portion in the immense universe. And the words are some of my favorites.
This talisman is the size of a standard playing card or ATC. It fits into my purse so I can carry it with me wherever I go. And when I’m in need of a little grounding, of a little wonder and joy, I can pull out my talisman and breathe.
What is your talisman?