These weren’t far under.
These weren’t far under.
A picnic on blankets and chairs. His wrinkled cheeks under his chubby ones. Her hair cascading down her growing back. My toes, tiny, covered in dirt and red polish. His toes, tiny, covered in purple sparkle shine. We eat snow peas from ten feet away and listen to the bees on the broccoli and radish.
I don’t joke when I show my garden to others, introducing it as My Happy Place.
June, the plum tree, has four varieties grafted to her dwarf trunk. This branch has yet to set fruit in the years we’ve had her.
I’d yet to prune her in the years we’ve had her.
This picture was Friday and then DH and I left the little loves at home (with his folks) and set off to a resort up the road a smidge. It was our fifteenth anniversary last week (what!?) and so we celebrated with a night of (awful) sleep, a fine dining (delicious) dinner, and an old favorite action movie playing on cable. It was splendid.
Today, the branch is ensconced in blossoms and I’m hopeful the fruit will set before the next storm unleashes downpour. And I’m hedging my bets we’re done with freezing (last average frost is a week or so away and the ten day forecast looked promising. I put out beans and corn today…)
Or perhaps this branch never fruits precisely because it blooms too soon in the spring and the rains take away any chance.
If I leave the office just when. If the lights time just so. If the traffic behaves just. If, if, if.
I am home with a little light left. Greeted at the door by two gleeful voices, one escorts me to the closet. “Mama work. Mama jacket off?”
Yes, love. As hurriedly as I can. “Mama’s shoes? Closet?” Yes, love. “I do it.” Mmm… My turn. “Up, please.” It is not a question. Outside? “Yesh!”
Outside we traipse. He, on my hip, me seeking peace. Where can I find a sip of calm. Where can I snatch a glimpse of soothing. What can I feed my soul before the light dies.
I uncover the kumquat. I de-leaf the strawberries. I unwrap Bill and find his lit leaves warm at his feet.
I eyeball the compost pile. Is there time? I could…
“Uh oh, mama.” Quickly, I look up. The light is dying. The moment has passed. Only the tips of the neighboring trees are still frosted with the day’s last color. I look over my shoulder. Uh oh, indeed.
I don’t spend much time in sowing carrots. It is a six hand job in our garden, and four of those hands are fast, messy, and exuberant.
But in the time it takes between sowing and thinning, four of the hands hand grown such that the remaining two are left to work in peaceful, rare, savory solitude.
I sit with my face to the embers. The glow of the tree lights intruding from the right. My face: an ember, reflecting the heat of the ashes and the light of a past holiday.
I crouch beside the stone and carbon. My skin: hot and tight, pulling me into this moment. This marked occasion. This passing of instants in a torrent of glimpses and gleams.
The final fire of the year, but not the season. With hopes this was the final visit of a lengthy season, for it certainly is the last of the year.
We are home. Again. On the Eve of a holiday. Again. We are so grateful. Again.
The village around our little family is diverse in its connection, makeup, and geography, but our being home is truly thanks to each individual within.
The second trip to the hospital this week was harder. The first trip I was calm; I was grounded; I was ready.
This trip, I was not… at first. I found my feet before, I hope, she noticed they’d been knocked out. She, true to form, was nothing short of inspiring.
Here’s to a new year, for each and all of us and every other’s A year full of love, inspiration, health, knowledge, persistence, care, and untethered support.
We had a bit of a scare this week. A third pediatrician’s appointment turned into a direct admit at the Children’s hospital. A hard three days and two nights full of only best-case-scenario outcomes and we came home yesterday.
This Christmas, I am grateful for the health of all of my sweet peas. Least of all, these ones:
Picked wild and free on the hillsides I roamed as a child, packed, and shipped with love.
Measured, poured, spilled, and felt by tiny hands full of curiosity and mixed with love.
Poked, commented upon, and laughed at, with love.
Mixed, rolled, filled, and baked with love.
Eaten with gusto, feeling the love.
We were watching Iron Giant, for the 40th time. And I’d realized I hadn’t actually ever watched it. Not all of it, anyway.
We’re at the end. The army is attacking the Iron Giant. He’s fighting back. “He’s bad, mama. The Iron Giant’s eyes turn red and he’s very bad.”
Me: Oh, honey. He’s not bad. He’s doing bad things right now, but he’s not bad.
C: Why’s he doing bad things?
M: He’s programmed to do bad things when people try to hurt him. The Iron Giant’s programmed to fight back if people hurt him.
C: Why are they hurting him, mama?
M: They don’t understand him, honey. And sometimes, when people don’t understand things, they get scared. And sometimes when people get scared, they fight.
C: I’m not scared.
M: I know, honey. You’re brave and strong and smart. And someday, when you don’t understand something, you will know you don’t need to be scared just because it’s different. You can ask questions or say hi or just watch.
C: Why are they being so mean, mama? They’re scared?
M: Yes, love. They’re scared because they don’t understand. And they’re fighting because they are scared. But we don’t fight when we don’t understand or when we’re scared.
C: I’m not scared, mama. They don’t need to be scared or fight or not understand. They can say hi.
M: I know, love, I know.