Today I turn another year older, or, to be exact, the same age Jack loved to be! If only true. Since my last little post, the writing gals and I have submitted our manuscript. Yes! We have a list a mile long, and have sent three queries out. We also are creating our new blog for the book and other interestable writings. Web site is Wild-Women-Writers and much will be going on in that nest. Please join us as we travel through our experiences in the writing world, private world, and most entertaining world.
Today I joined a zoom on Brevity from bloggers and writers, Allison and Ashleigh. How to build a platform by going more public. Well, lets practice.
Um, nothing. The chill of the day, the lack of brilliant sunshine, small puddles collected in low spots along the curbs, the lack of traffic, the duty of January 1, dims my wanderings. I have left my brain on hold, gave it a day off. Still in pajamas, fireplace snapping, notebooks, magazines, board games still placed on the dining table, a coffee table, an arm of a chair, says not to think. No resolutions, no lists, no tasks. Life will rebound tomorrow, life will pop, will come in the shape of wheels, motors, grocery shopping, bill paying, doctor appointments, keeping commitments in all shapes, sizes, and miles.
Today is in, today is unavailable, today is mine.
Here kitty, kitty.
Each autumn, the clock turns backwards. I am in Illinois to sit among memories of incredible rituals of fall festivals, wiener roasts, harvesting of corn, chilly night hayrides, gnarly vines of squash and pumpkin, fuzzy willy worms creeping across roads, the tipping of outhouses or ringing doorbells late at night and hiding in nearby bushes. A season for pranks and fun.
In Tucson, many years later, I stand in my yard in early September year after year and begin to watch the sky, color of light, and most particularly, the clouds. The morning I notice the club of clouds shaping low at the base of the Catalina’s and along the Rincon Mountains, I know autumn is pushing over the shoulder of summer. Soon, soon, the temperatures, achingly at a snail’s pace, begin to drop and within a few weeks, the Arizona Ash and Mulberry trees will change clothing, will closet the green and bring on the gold, red and orange. Strings of whisper thin cobwebs will criss-cross in the air, the slant of shadows begin to shift in a low arch and the morning light will mellow.
Inside, the crock pot, pumpkin recipes, stews and breads and apple pie clutter the kitchen counter. The fire-pit is moved from behind the potting shed and fitted with the right amount of wood for the first evening fire and metal sticks made for marshmallows line in a row. The cats stretch long and lean and look for little patches of morning sunlight rather than nap under a ceiling fan. It is our season, our time, our patch of autumn.
Ponies go over here and lambs over there.” That is what I heard. I was neither. ” I am a mermaid.” The teacher pointed us in different directions, chose who was what and where to stand. I on the other hand, pulled at her arm and said the above. I knew I was a mermaid, “but where do I go?”.
My teacher ignored me and pointed to the students and they began to go to one side or the other of the classroom. I stayed put, in the middle of the classroom.
In Physical Education, students stood in one long line and two of the Straight A students, or teacher pets, or who chose the two longest straws, (oddly enough were always the same two students), began to pick who they wanted on their team. One by one the students peeled out of the long line to stand by their leader until the long line narrowed down to two, then one poor kid which NO ONE wanted on their team. The entire world saw at that moment the loser. Granted, this loser could represent coming from a poor family, or be considered a geek, wearing thick glasses or have bad teeth, stringy hair, or someone who was just very, very quiet–bland, no spark, no face–or from a family who others smirked at behind their backs for reasons of their off-color reputations; a dad who drank too much, a mom who was morally ‘loose’, or neither parent worked and lived in run down rentals all over the countryside, or something that kids just picked on and no one could figure out a reason for it.
Ponies and lambs had a spot. They were automatically designated to a belonging.
Into the teen years a girl should be developing bumps other than on her face. Skiffs of make-up was experimented with such as Cover Girl, Max Factor and the British ‘Yardley’ (is this post dated or what?) Other girls easily began to fill out their P.E. shorts and tops, and pranced back and forth in the locker room to show off a new bra, or lacy panties, while a few others stood back in the shadows to pull off their P.E. uniform from over their school clothes in hopes they faded into the pale pink walls of their own skin color. Fingers pointed, hands hid snickers, backs turned and left a ripple of doom. The list goes on.
To be a mermaid and take your stand counts. If the color doesn’t fit, don’t wear it; if the size don’t fit, don’t squeeze it on; if the headband breaks, don’t worry about it; if you know your mark—get ready, get set, and go!
The last few days I have been in a funk; no energy, no creativity, no desire, nothingness. It dawned on me—–I am sick to death of the fake coolness driven by the hum and cost of AC. Of the heat pressing against the windows, the blast of heat waves punching through a cracked door like a fighter’s mitt, of the hot leather seats in the car, of-of-of!!!!!!! Where is our autumn?????????????????????
I know, I know…..it is too early yet, but give us a break here in Tucson. Right this very moment, one of my cats lay sprawled out flat on the tile and the other is flopped on her back with her belly pointed towards the ceiling fan. Ugh. Schools are all back in session and yellow busses back up traffic, college kids and bicycles pump up and down each side of the road over the white lines, their backpacks bouncing off sweaty backs.
Our summer monsoons are a constant for us to keep our nose and hopes pointed to the four horizons, to watch for the thunderheads as they build and approach, the rumble of thunder and the air turn electric. It does.
Alas, just yesterday tropical Javier squeezed into the Baja and spun up the coast to give us much relief. Rains fell hard, streets overflowed, and temperatures dropped into the 80’s; umbrellas popped open like kernels of corn in a hot skillet; and now that we are in August, look hard, and you can see the slants of light begin to shift, snug lower across sand and flagstone and shadows begin to linger longer. Yes, we are surviving another summer in the desert. The love of our desert.
This morning, out my bay window towards the end of the lane, I saw a bank of snow. I slipped on my sneakers and hurried toward it. This is mid April. I turned at the end of the lane and skimmed the edge of a small pond. The cherry tree had dropped all its petals, creamy white, a myriad of velvet covered every inch of the ground. This petal blanket was faintly sweet, as if a fairy with a tiny powder puff darted through and shook it gently over the petals. I could not resist but to sink into the luxuriousness of spring. I gently lay back and through the darkened and bare branches of the tree noticed an Aztec blue sky before I closed my eyes.
Louvered doors appeared and slits of sunlight crept through in oblong patterns. In the distance, someone cooked. I walked over the path of shadow and light toward the sound, turned a corner and walked into the biggest, brightest kitchen I had ever seen. One of the walls were all windows that faced and engulfed an ocean front. A dove sat next to the high ceiling on a rough hewn beam. Sun bolted across its feathers in sharp edges like pointed shards, its dead eyes oblivious to its own beauty. Bowls of cherries covered countertops, fresh picked, ripe, deeply reddened, almost bruised from the sun.
A plate was placed in front of me of fresh baked muffins with cherries that oozed with red syrupy juice, and two eggs, sunny side up. My mouth watered.
A dog barked, petals shifted and the eggs blurred, the warmth of the muffins a faint memory, the dove eyes closed in sleep. The petal snow hugged my belonging, my place in a world of make believe and I spread my arms and legs back and forth to create a snow angel in spring.
Inside the threshold of my front door sits an antique wicker rocker. Its body is solid as a tank. A stout farm woman. Boxy bottom, firm legs, back barely curved for ideal comfort. I found this gem in Illinois at the annual Steam Show held in Jacksonville. Several acres of small rolling hills, a field to plow with horses and a parking lot, mud when it rains. A huge barn sits center where the quilters set up, former stalls hold wares and homemade goods of jellies, canned vegetables, crafts handmade from locals and a kitchen that serves ham and beans and cornbread at noon.
On my visits in the fall, my parents, my son and husband and brother and his family traipse through table after table and small vendor tents of every new and old item to be found within 1,000 miles and 150 years. This particular year was pleasant, no rain, no mud and the sun broke through the autumn sky’s to lie upon us.
We approached this amazing hodge-podge through the Threshing Building and unto the grounds of vendors when I spotted a flat bed wagon with ‘stuff’. Big ‘stuff’. As in trunks, furniture pieces, cellar finds or barn finds. I noted a worn out black wicker rocker and took a closer look. The fabric was rain stained, thin, worn threadbare, but the piece itself was in perfect condition. No cracks, no breaks and the wicker rope totally intact. I walked on through the waves and willows of tables, and my mind kept drifting back to that wagon with that wicker rocker. By the time we had walked miles in a circle, bought sorghum, ate ham and beans, I was ready to go back to that wagon to buy me a chair. My mind was made up.
A small travel trailer was parked alongside, a wicky–up tied to it for shade, more boxes and crates scattered around with ‘stuff’ on and in all of them. I stood at the wicker rocker and found a tag with faded pen ink which read $75. Giving it another look over, I then ask the first person I saw if this was his ‘stuff’.
“Naw, it’s his.” He pointed to the little travel trailer. A tall lean man soon stepped out wearing a beard, straw hat, bib overalls with no shirt underneath. I walked over to him and said, “Is that your stuff?” and pointed to the flat bed wagon.
“Is that your rocker?”
I fingered the $50 dollar bill in my pocket and looked him in the eye.
“You take a $50 dollar bill for that rocker?” And held the bill in front of him.
“Uh-uh. Today is a good sale on that chair.” I handed him the fifty and motioned to my husband to help me get the chair off the wagon. He rolled his eyes up until they disappeared in his hairline and came over to help.
“What do you want with that old thing?”
“How are we going to get this back home?”
“In our truck of course. Why do you think we come back to Illinois in a truck?”
Now it was my turn to role my eyes upward. Sheesh.
Texas swaggers across the lower United States like a gals boots on Saturday night over a broad saw dust dance floor. The high winds and cool nights when the days get shorter, opens up the rawness of the land. Nights turn more fun, longer and leaner for some gals. Especially Daisy. She fits tight and tall in faded jeans and leather cowboy boots with the stitched native flowers that crawl and twine up the sides of each boot. Her name, the name her mama gave her. Daisy looked long and hard to find someone to hand make the boots exact to mold around her feet and her statement.
Daisy loved the evenings when the sun sank low and rolled over the hilltops. About that time, when the air turned rosy pink and barely began to fade, she was in front of her bathroom mirror putting on the last bit of makeup she didn’t even need. Ah, lip gloss. The same silky shade of color that now instantly tucked in for the night out her bedroom window.