Yesterday was a cool morning, opening up into a warm afternoon.
It was reminiscent of those perfect New England summer days I experienced as a kid, before terms like “global warming” were to my knowledge. It used to seem to me that weather followed a fairly predictable pattern back in the 80s and 90s. March came in like a lion and out like a lamb, like clockwork. It didn’t snow until December at least, and the sweltering heat didn’t come until June. In fact it was often first hot during our middle or high school graduations making us sweat under our heavy black gowns. It was June when the temperature rose to 80 or even 90. It didn’t happen on some random March day, only to be followed by a freak snowstorm in May.
I don’t know how much of this was my childhood perception of things, or what really happened. It was what it was.
Recently I’ve been buried under a pile of things. Hundreds of photos to edit. Two or three overdue library books to finish reading. Blogging connections to maintain and create. A DVR list of shows to catch up on, that was at one point 14 shows long. And no, I don’t watch 14 shows. There were doubles and triples in there. It’s been a few weeks now and only in the last few days have I noticed a sizable chunk taken out of that pile. And that’s the enjoyable stuff! There is also good old-fashioned work in there, as well as lots of kid baths and meals and playtime. Oh, and I taught Des to hum the theme from “Peter and the Wolf.” I hope to have a video of it soon.
You’re welcome in advance, for that.
Now that my catchup pile of both work and non-work, but totally important-to-my-well-being things is lessening, I find myself panicked at the thought of the opposite – nothing to do. Too much time on my hands. And really I know that’s not even possible because I will always keep taking photos and taking out library books (if they’ll let me at this point!) and I’ll keep finding shows and movies I want to watch, all the while, I will have never-ending mountains of laundry to do and pile-ups of dishes, and just those times in which I stop everything else just to cuddle with a kid or two. And I know it’s not possible to run out of tons of things to do because I will always have projects to dream up and complete. I am afraid to have nothing looming on my horizon. I thrive on being busy.
And I plan for several dates with friends and/or their kids a week.
Sometimes it’s ok to stop what I’m doing and to let my mind slow and wander. It’s important to let the thoughts and feelings rush over me so rapidly, as if they were waiting in the wings for their first chance to seep out. And so it goes on these cool mornings that open up into warm afternoons that I am reminded of my maternal grandparents. One still alive, so strong, but sedentary these days. My grandfather nearly a year gone. A whole world that is closed or only closing, and a new generation opening up. Des and Scarlet are taking the baton and becoming New England kids. As I never actually was, but for a precious week or so every summer until college.
You never forget those cool, open-windowed nights.
With these thoughts yesterday morning, I felt exposed as if a cool breeze ran through my clothing and my skin. I got to the preschool on time for Scarlet’s drop off and as I led her by the hand, with a sturdy Des and a rickety lunchbox in the other hand, we heard a sound like a bomb. An explosive sound, followed by the sound of women I know and care for screaming their children’s names and running towards the noise. What was it? A very large tree limb falling into the playground and crushing the metal fence. There were three girls about 8-10 feet away but they ran away towards their mothers and no one was harmed. We were all shaken up and teary-eyed for awhile and it was hard to leave Scarlet at school. The sound will never leave my memory. Although everything was fine, it was the sound of panic and horror just the same. The potential. Tragedies do happen on schoolyards, now more than ever it seems. And yesterday I learned to fear the trees, or at least think about them as a potential danger, and I had never done that before.
At that point, I was no longer just exposed. I felt open and raw. I still do. It will take a bit for the painful roots to be buried again.
Meanwhile, while I dig away at my mountain of unseen photos…I find that these speak to me in my current state: