A sleepless night due to some late night debate over family matters, after which I argued still longer with myself and filled several journal pages with grief and complaint. Slept in, woke up with a non-alcoholic hangover. Most of the family was kind and tried to be quiet, but it was bright and there were places to go, so I dragged myself up, and why not feel better–another quintessential late August day, quiet and promising. Downed a glass of water with lemon, decided to go for a run to unscramble my brain, force some endorphins into my bloodstream, and continue the slow pull back to regaining my wind after not much aerobic exercise the last month. Carried the hangover outside to see what to wear. Foggy but not cold, and as I headed down the hill with Caleb the dog, the fog turned a lighter, warmer color.
Caleb, also regaining his equilibrium after not running the roads for a month, was afraid of every passing car, and pulled behind. Then the usual need to hunker and take a crap, which I scooped, soft and warm, into a thin-as latex gloves plastic bag. Jogged, holding this awkward luggage away from my body, to the park trash can and relieved myself of it also. The fog was indeed lifting, and would it be too hot to run? Not on the cool trail, along the stream’s ravine under summer’s leaf growth still unfallen. Stopped at the stream to give the dog a drink, but he was afraid of the sound and movement of the water, as slight as it was. No crayfish sighting this time, as I had one morning, pausing by this bridge, brown, clawed crawler only visible for a moment as it scooted under a rock. And I never stop without thinking of that creature and its cousins hidden there still.
Can’t dwell on troubles when I’m in a rhythm, though I may skim over them as from a hang glider. If I alight on a real problem to work it, my body automatically slows to a walk. That was an interesting discovery I made a few years ago, and when I am troubled and stuck, adds to the attraction of the run or swim. Otherwise I have never been a lover of such, would prefer volleyball or weights, or even better, physical work (beyond puttering) that must be completed with muscle effort and has its own reward.
Showered, downed cereal with fresh berries, dried cranberries and nuts, then drove to pick up my daughters from riding and go shopping for shoes and a skirt. We had been out the evening before for hours hunting down the rest of these growing girls’ wardrobe, and these items remained elusive, the special event looming. The three of us had been lighthearted then, but it was too soon to enjoy the same the next day, and I was developing a headache and a longing for a quality of coffee that was not to be found in the mall. I slumped on every bench and rested my head on my hand, let the girls peruse on their own and bring questions and samples as they wished. They were thankful, gracious, flexible and not insistent, which made it easier for me to be the same. I had no desire to relive certain awful clothing shopping trips I had with my mother at a similar stage. Perhaps those failures are what led me to sew my own clothes more and more.
Still unsuccessful at finding an appropriate skirt, I wondered if an attempt to set up my sewing machine (between meals on the kitchen table) and whip out a simple skirt would be advisable. Another unresolved household question–where to sew in our little house, and whether I’ll have to become a grandmother first.
When we returned home, my daughter having decided to make do with what we had, I went to take a nap. Soon my husband invited me to go choose a carpet remnant for an improvised bedroom he was creating in the garage. I declined after stating a general color preference. No, he could not buy brown shag. I am only four years younger than him, but I seem to have been mildly traumatized by the overabundance of brown and orange in my house in the seventies, while he recalls this time longingly.
After drinking my concoction of excellent cold espresso, leftover chocolate frozen yoghurt, milk, and whipping cream, I felt more myself and went out to the garden to see what needed doing. Ah yes, the potatoes were dry and probably should be dug and stored before more rain came. I called my youngest son away from the computer in my most inviting manner, telling him he could work or play outside, but he was to come keep me company. Which he did, but made several attempts to escape (“just “to check something”), so I decided to engage him in the direct, wholesome labor of picking potatoes..
My son did not feel as fond of digging potatoes as I (who never fail to recall childhood memories then, the joy of discovery and so on), so I gave him time. Soon, as I expected, he underwent a kind of technology detoxification (slowing of impulses, of expectations for immediate feedback, a broadening of involvement of senses, mind, body, memory, feeling) and began to enjoy the work. We filled several buckets, and then he went on his way to read in the shade.
As I worked up the row, reserving very small or damaged potatoes for immediate use, weeding and loosening the soil for fall crops, suddenly the sun came out under the layer of tree canopy across the road that had hidden it for a time, and flowed along the ground, giving the leaves where I knelt a golden translucency. An orb-weaver’s web was lit, she shone majestic and expectant at the center of her creation.