Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring At Last

Yesterday, another Sunday, Moses and I slept in and then I went for a run. In the afternoon I went to my monthly writing group and then came home to Josh and Moses, Clark and Asa, all playing in the backyard. Moses a mess. Asa (4 years old) nestled in a hole in the ground he had dug, like a cub. Josh left to go do his Insanity workout, and Moses and I ate dinner.

We walked to the park at the end of the block after dinner. It's spring and the trees are budding, the air warm and breeze, soft. We ambled down the hill of green grass to to the little league field. Moses spent some time walking back and forth over the little gravel path, enjoying the sound of his shoes crunching the rocks.

We walked half-way back up the hill and lied down on our backs in the grass and I pointed to the sky and said, "Sky, Moses, sky. That is the sky. So big." And so he pointed up and said something like, "sky, sky." It was a beautiful, early evening sky of faded blue, and when I stood and looked up the hill at the trees that someone had planted many years ago, that were just beginning to bud for the season, I had that feeling that I sometimes get. It is so beautiful here. And I knew that here, meant Earth and life. Like a bundled ribbon unfurling out of my chest, I felt that fleeting sense of my ending and my beginning and my being all wrapped into one. I could see the world and me in at from some other place, far away. And in that place, whether it be in my mind's eye or my soul or my spirit, I felt and knew only my joy, bursting forth ever-green, ever-hopeful.

Sweet, sweet five years.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Moses, Sunday morning 

Sunday morning toast and coffee. It’s gray outside and Josh is pleased because it means that we will lounge about all day and I won’t try to get him to go jogging with me. He is the king of the weekend lounge. Silence for a minute when he leaves for the grocery store to pick-up dinner things that will go into the crock-pot for the day, and milk, bread, and seltzer—staples. But as soon as he’s back the ipod goes on because Josh lives in music, I in silence or NPR. Moses sits in his chair licking peanut butter off his toast and shouting out non-words that sound like words. He yells, “elfoo” and points.  Josh responds, “You want to go to the elf zoo?”  Me too! Me too! I don’t think the exclamation mark is overused in literature—this is an aside—but when I see one, I admit, I feel exhausted just looking at it.

Birds flutter up outside my window, the wind whorls, I see a man walking with his coat pulled tight around his chin. I worry about a friend I haven’t heard from. I am basically calm, content and generally pleased unless I think about certain issues—Monsanto, guns, violence, politics, poverty, and the systemic poisoning of the earth. These issues are so enormous they crush me. When I was a tad younger, I really believed I could change the world. I thought I could just talk to people and we’d have a conversation and they would change their mind. But I don’t have these conversations now days because I now know that if I have no intention of changing my opinion then I am not having a conversation with someone. Still, I think we deserve to have clean air, water, and food.

Moses shows up smiling at my side. He has peanut butter in his hair, on his shirt, crusted on his face. He looks at me and then toddles off to smear the PB somewhere like the bed or the couch. When I was in Minnesota recently I didn't write anything, except for the thing about Lake Baikal and feeling like I was underwater. Returning to my desk today feels adventurous and slightly daunting. There is something akin to muscle memory that happens after a break from writing.

Moses likes to pretend like he’s a dog. He sticks his tongue out and pants, he says ruff, ruff. Yesterday he saw a dog fetching a ball and it was like his ideal word fest because everything is either a ball or a dog right now. He wakes up some mornings and points at the light on the ceiling and says ball. Sometimes, in the dark, when he is going to sleep, he claps his hands. What does he clap for? Sleep?

I am reading Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle, esteemed VCFA poetess and teacher. In her essay, “On Poetry and the Moon,” she quotes Paul Auster: A here exists only in relationship to a there, not the other way around.

I read this in Minnesota. Later, I read an article in Orion by William Giraldi titled “Splendid Visions, A meditation on the childhood sublime,” in which he writes, “But that’s the paradox of place: We want to be somewhere, and then we want to be somewhere else. There’s always somewhere better, even if the place we are is best.”

I have created my own “here” out of my “there” and though I’m not always sure if I should be here or there (Vermont or Minnesota) or somewhere entirely different, I know that there speaks to here. I know that longing for somewhere else—in measure—develops a sense of beauty and that being away from a place makes me love it and understand its intricacies more.

I see the end of Perch Lake road just before it hits Dean Forrest Road. It’s the sweet spot in spring on a windless day, so warm that we feel summer in our bones as we turn the corner onto pavement. I see the dog ahead of me, his back legs doing that funny shuffle, and the blue sky of sun and lighthearted clouds. I look out into the brush where come August I will see the berry pickers. And to my left the towering pines stand like old women guarding the forest. I smell August—hot, dry and bittersweet. Here, in Vermont, there is a wetness and humidity to the summer. My skin is slick with sweat, my hair is damp, everything is a godlike green, so green we feel drunk with the color of spring.

Sunday morning the sky is gray and I am mostly content, mostly joyful thinking of this and that. Moses beside me growing bored, wanting my attention, and the ipod playing something rather hideously non-Sunday morning-esque. Moses touching everything and then repeating my no, no, no… Soon I will bathe him and dress him and we will go out into the world, and all that Sunday morning magic will disappear. It will fade into the ether, promising to return again next week on this holiest of holy day.