In the light of the morning by the angle of the sun there is hair, animal hair or dust on most every surface in our den. There are streaks in the glass that need to be removed. But there is also the first bloom on the orchids, and there are streaks of rainbows reflecting off a prism hanging from a set of Mardi Gras beads I got more than 25 years ago from someone at college. That cheap string of golden plastic beads holds a prism my mom gave me after Christmas break when I was going back to school. I wanted the prism because it came from the Jersey shore, one of our family vacations, the late 70s. The store sold prisms cut in every imaginable shape. The store was alit with rainbows. There would have been a small chime to announce our arrival when we stepped inside and the clerk looked up at this family of tourists, a boy with his parents and theirs. They’d walk out spending a little on one of the sun catchers and the clerk would wrap it in tissue paper and put it in a bag with the receipt. The prism never got hung in our apartment as I remember it, growing up. Either there wasn’t a place for it or it was deemed too special (or not special enough) and so it got stowed somewhere out of sight. But I came upon it and wanted to take it off to college. For some reason (and I don’t mean to make him out as the bad guy, really) my dad didn’t want me to take the prism. Maybe he thought I’d lose it, and I can see why. But mom handed it to me when I left and gave me a kind of wink, and it’s with me still to this day. Hanging from the same thread, some cheap set of beads a roommate gave me in college. It cuts across the clutter and imperfections of our home. It exists on the surface for one reason alone, to catch and reflect light. No one will ever know about the store or the Jersey shore. It is a small but very precious part of me hanging in our front window. If only for ourselves, and most importantly: these are the things we carry to remember who we are and where we came from.