I’m desperately grasping.
Toward what remains.
All that is local–from the earth right here in my garden or the farm stand up the road or the farmer’s market downtown tucked beside the brook encircled by trees.
Yellow peppers sing in my mouth.
I don’t know what they’re singing
But I can feel the vibration.
Parsley. Dill. Leafy greens.
What tomatoes do, is so intimate, as to be unspeakable.
There is an odd, but precious, stillness to this morning.
No lawn mower or chainsaw or hunting rifle.
No voices of campers across the pond.
No dogs barking. No cars passing. No planes overhead.
No trucks out on the highway even.
No sound at all really.
Except for me sipping tea on the front porch,
and the purr of the Whetstone cascading through the falls,
and the honey bees buzzing in the arugula flowers,
and the snake rustling through the leaves ahead of my step on the stone path to the shower,
and the birds in the cherry tree and the red maple and the pine.
The older I get, the more I enjoy road trips, and the longer they take, which is my own doing–meandering back roads, seeking shade, instead of speed, and not only because I prefer the old car with the manual transition–which lost its air condition earlier this month (but I don’t mind the mountain air on my face)–but also because I prefer the solitude of back roads–the absence of movement, except for mine, the chance to slow or stop, when my attention alights—on an old barn, a field of wildflowers, a stand of trees; and this afternoon on my serpentine ride home from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health–two young boys, about 9 years old, on the outskirts of a small town, dressed in matching soccer uniforms.
As I approached, the one with the ball under his arm, looked up from beneath a mass of dark curls and stuck out his thumb.
I smiled and slowed and waived, remembering the pleasure of wondering where my thumb might take me one day, and how soon someone might take me, seriously, and something else–the delight of coaxing a friend outside the box of rules.
After college, a classmate and I hitchhiked through Ireland despite the warnings of lorry drivers and the middle aged bachelor and the two business men who picked us up so that no harm would befall us.
Back in the states, I picked up hitchhikers myself for a bit–once an entire family, at the foot of the drawbridge, standing in a pouring rain. They crowded into my backseat, dripping, paper grocery bags in their arms.
There’s plenty of room for thought on a long drive under the shade of trees…
I got to thinking that I might like to open a store or suggest someone open a store, and it could be called–Paper and Ink–and it could be a place to slow down, to pour a cup of tea, to buy a sheet of stationery and sit at a long table, and write a letter, and send it to someone far away or around the corner.
Just now, a song from my childhood comes to mind…
Lost and alone on some forgotten highway Traveled by many, remembered by few Lookin’ for something that I can believe in Lookin’ for something that I’d like to do with my life
There’s nothin’ behind me and nothin’ that ties me to Something that might have been true yesterday Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more than enough To just be here today…
I gave up my book and my health to the month of August, to my sister’s wedding, to my roots rising up from the sea and arriving in the mountains, en masse, consuming me, until I’d forgotten why I’d left home, who I ever was without them, and where I’d been heading.
It’s been more than 3 weeks since they’ve retreated, and still I am combing bits and pieces out of my hair, like seaweed, after a late August swim.
I loved it as a kid. Not to eat. Never. To lift up from where it had been drying in the sun and the sand and press between finger and thumb.
Too wet and it would squish.
Too dry and it would crumble.
Just right and it would, POP!
What seaweed remains on me has long gone brittle
or is so mushy as to be unworthy of an attempt at popping.
I could complain about the weather, beautiful from the depths of my feverish days on the couch, and now that I’m standing again, dark and dreary and so cold.
But there’s Houston. And friends with cancer. And the White House. So what does my weather matter.
Still, it’s Tuesday, the last Tuesday before school steals summer, so there are cookies at the Farm Stand up the road.
Tiny chirps let us know that the eggs in the nest above our light fixture have hatched,
and so this year, having failed yet again to prevent her nesting there,
we re-arrange our tiny porch to better accommodate feeding & flight,
which is to say: poop;
while eagerly awaiting the sight of little heads popping up from her moss wrapped nest.
She comes every year.
Last June Casey saw each one of her chicks take flight.
She’s been my steady companion this cold spring–flying out each time I arrive home or depart,
and then as the weather warmed, flying back and forth to the nest as I watched from the kitchen, fixing meals for my family, while she fed hers.
Last week I introduced her to a friend.
We’re all Mamas after all.
But then a day went by, and I realized I hadn’t seen her, and then another, and I was almost certain I hadn’t, so this morning, I asked Casey to check.
This year I decided or defaulted into resenting summer’s approach, which has long been my favorite time of year (ever since marriage & motherhood confined me to a state where the season of life is so absurdly short.)
So that even as I returned to my summer pleasure palace–South Pond–I resented it:
“Oh, this again…”
Which was a terrifying or at least a largely alarming state of mind, particularly after such a protracted winter.
“Had South Pond changed?
Was this what it was to age?”
But even in my sourness, there was suspicion.
Was I simply protecting my heart?
Had I lost the capacity to love in the face of inevitable loss?
YES! That was it!
I couldn’t bear another summer ending.
And so I wouldn’t love it.
But then May came, and even with all its cold rain, it wooed me.
And then June, not even through, was sweeping me off my feet.
So that I’m pretty sure that I’m falling in love again, in spite of myself, because this morning when I woke, in yet another dour middle-aged mood, I looked across the room and thought:
Look how beautiful my blow dryer.
I’m gonna take a photo of it in this morning light
and share it on Instagram”