40. Forty. XL. St. Anne’s School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was where I began to love school. It was there I learned handwriting and drawing lines – lines that formed numbers and numerals. The shapes of letters for the American alphabet. This was my taproot  that would lead me to art. Books. Libraries. Reading. Pen & pencil. Calligraphy. Papermaking. Bookbinding. Books. Libraries.Teaching. Books. Words. Always, words.

The making of the 4 and the 0 are based upon the unambiguous straight line between two solid points and this is accompanied by the soft curve of the organic “0”. To draw this numeral one must possess the certainty of where one is going with the trust that one fluid line will begin and meet at a single point – gently and with ease.It is this form of the quantity that I love. While each of the five letters, f-o-r-t-y, can evoke a meditative state if written consecutively, line upon line, and the delineation of the X and the L can affirm the strength of will, it is the inharmonious forms of the the numbers that create sublime tension. Tension with a visceral vitality and exuding a particular beauty.

Is it no wonder then, that in this 40th year of marriage, I pay homage to this natural number. It is more than a metaphor for the two people who have lived side by side during their forty years. Years, where all it represents, have been tested and embraced. It is a well loved number.


Standing in front of the groom’s family home, he picked the daisies that morning from a nearby field and it became the bride’s bouquet

This post is dedicated to Michael Robert Graul, partner and friend.


One Response to “40”

  1. Sally Says:

    So glad you wrote this tribute to what is the essence of 40/XL/forty years with your partner and friend, and that you included the photo. A sweet moment in time, one of those we should remember. Also glad that you are writing again.


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