Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Absent again

I know I have been gone from this for a long time.  The funny thing is the longer I procrastinated, the more I wanted to write, and the harder it has become to sit down and release the fog from my brain.

There is so much narcissistic writing out there, even if it is beautiful, and I just didn't want to add to the clutter.  Plus, the more I read of other people's words, teh cloudier my own thoughts have become, and often in any given day, there isn't enough prolonged silence for me to gather my thoughts from that fog, shake them out, arrange them, string them together, generally make sense of them all.

This warm spring weather has been intense after such a deep, cold winter.  The world seems to have shaken itself fiercely from the frozen tentacles of ice and misery; mud bogged us down as we tried to move forward, then Spring loosed itself with a passionate scream of thunder and an early bloom of lilacs.

From our front porch, where we play, and I sip my coffee (iced or hot), the river glistens and changes and fills and drops and rushes over the waterfall.  During the stupendous thunderstorms that have raked our little rolling mountains, the river (brook? creek?  river-let?) bubbles and rises and engulfs vegetation at its sides, seeming to threaten to run away somewhere entirely unexpected.  All throughout central Vermont rivers have done just this.  But here, the little un-named waterway has yet to be as deep as it was during the mud season floods.  Further down our valley, where it is the Pekin Brook, its course has been re-arranged, and it seems it won't be long before that road may need to wend its way on some other path.

As I say this, the sky has clouded up again, and this afternoon's round will be pushing through soon.  This is supposed to be the end of the humbling storms that began with the tail end of the front that caused all that sorrow and horror in Joplin, MO.  Much diminished upon its arrival in New England, it nonetheless ripped its way into our ground, forever changing the face of the modestly urban Washington County.

Nadia has come home, creemee in hand (soft ice cream for those of you out of the know), smiling from ear to ear that Daddy finally got to pick her up from Preschool.  Bedecked in a dress that used to belong to my friend's daughter she looks a bit ethereal, and floaty, and like she is the butterfly or fairy or dragon she is peppering me with questions about.  The boy babies (well, toddlers, really) are sleeping, and have been for quite a time, which seems about right for the weather.

Until yesterday the yard seemed lost under the exuberance of Spring, with puffballs and dandelions, yellow dock and plantain, nettle, violets, and johnny jump ups running across the yard as if they ruled the place.  It seemed truly wild.  I found a pile of free things, including another toddler swing, a PreK basketball hoop, and a plastic sand box that was not a turtle or a boat.  Although small, this little plastic sandbox is shaped like an old stump and I placed it the shade of the giant maple tree and near the sweet little shade garden some old lady had once planted here.  Now, with rocks surrounding it, and a few flat landscaping stones as steps, its plasticness has faded into the background, while ferns and lilies of the valley invite the sprites in.  Really, it does seem as if the fairies play there.  Milo has found symbiosis with his play there, forgetting me for once, while I fade into the background, one eye turned toward the boys, another focused on the soft, compost-enriched, garden ground as I settle herbs and flowers into the ground in that front garden.  I have waited and waited on tomatoes and peppers, fearing a return of cold spring, and now fear late blight... and will have to treat my soil as best I can to prevent that this year.

And that cold spring will pop its head back in for a moment or two tomorrow, with the high temperature of the day being 30 degrees F less than today.  So while I have come to enjoy the balmy, beach-like feeling of this house this May, with windows open to the wind and lilacs scenting the rooms, we'll get a taste of what Vermont in May is often like, with 53 degrees as the high.  It is a reminder that while we settle into the wonder of the warmth of this year, it comes because of the wildness of climate change... an unpredictable dance of strength across the earth, influenced ever more by things we have yet to comprehend.

The big kids will arrive home in the rain today, I think, and it will be deeply gratifying to bask in the sunshine of them. Despite obstacles and tough choices this year, they have settled in, grown, and truly shine with who they are.  One struggled with a music teacher, and yet still faithfully practices every day.  Another has struggled with friendships, and yet comes home with stories of friends and plans for a birthday nearly everyday.  They play with one another, and their younger siblings, and dance and create imaginary worlds, draw and sing and build and plan.  Sometimes the darkness of adulthood intrudes on their world, and their play reflects it, sometimes in anger or tears, sometimes in decidedly adult themes and obsessions.

And it is here that my brain intrudes on my observations.  My own mind has been dark and hard to figure out this year, and although I find so much to look forward to, I find myself pining and longing... but not exactly sure for what.

Mostly, for silence, I think.

I spend a few days getting through a sort-of biography of the nature writer John Hay.  And that tingled my fingers just a bit, reminding me of this blog, and of my need to shake out the fog.  Not because I needed to turn inward, but because I needed to break free of myself and my thoughts, and see the beautiful world around me.  Wonder in its magnificence.  Exclaim at its strength.  Examine and observe its many facets, whether tame like my pigs ("tame" having shades of definition after a weekend of trying to keep them inside their fence), or wild like the butterflies that N and I watched gathering on a spilt spot of compost juice. As we sat within the pig fence, waiting for the new fencer to arrive from the hardware store with Colin and Milo, at times swatting a nose that dared to inch toward the fence, we watching in awe as the yellow and black butterflies came by the masses, swirling around us, dipping their built-in drinking straw probiscises into the black gooey soil and fruit leftovers, then flying away from us as if drunk.

And I needed more.  More silence.  More watching.

And so I take it.  When it rains, I often just sit.  There on my rustic little porch, with the rain whipping at the trees and the river slowly rising, glinting, and calling to me to remember to watch.

And to write what I see.  

1 comment:

Mama Pajama said...

Thank you thank you thank you for letting my mind be there with you! With all of the stress of the last few weeks it was sooo nice to sit on the porch, sipping and watching the kids grow..thinking about the soil and what to put in it. Thank you for reminding me of the pace of the Pekin Brook, it's slow and gentle curves with their burbuling whisper! Thank you for helping me take a time I come to town, let's get some creemees!