Friday, July 07, 2017

it feels like Monday, even though it's... Friday?

... but of course, it's Friday. Yet, it's the start of a new week for me here! Wait, no, it's the end of a week. Weird.

Thank goodness there is the predictability of breakfast on the porch to keep me grounded! (Vibrant colors, no?)

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My return is, as every return -- very wonderful. I'm still full of memories, but mainly I'm looking forward. I've given myself time (all those travel hours!) to mull over new ideas and so I feel energized. But all that is rather standard fare for me when I come home.

I suppose this time, two things really stand out for me. First of all, Ed was not exaggerating when he said that in my absence, the mosquitoes descended full force. When I step out to survey the flowers this morning, I am aghast. It's insane out there! This mosquito batch is especially vicious in the morning. It is impossible to stay out even for a minute without protection. I right one delphinium that had toppled (so much rain has fallen this spring!), cutting off a stem that was beyond repair, pick exactly four raspberries for Snowdrop (there are hundreds of ripe ones!) and run back indoors, swatting and slapping all the way.

So that's a drag, albeit a predictable drag.

I stand still long enough to do one garden photo. Here it is.

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After, I rush to finish unpacking, do major grocery shopping -- all those things that are part of any return, but also part of Friday, so that it feels almost like I have returned to a normal state.

But I haven't, really. Warsaw, Parma - they're on my mind. I pick the day's outfit (granted -- shorts and a tshirt) with care. I wear my better sneakers. And I plan an Italian meal for Sunday dinner. With elements of Parma.

Okay, all trivial stuff. Let me note the second thing that stood out for me today. If mosquitoes are the downside, then certainly picking up Snowdrop is beyond wonderful. The girl loved her days visiting many beloved family members while I was away. But now that she is back in school and in the business of doing her everyday routines, she craves predictable and if I am anything at all, it is that I am there for her, offering after-school adventures virtually every day of her very young life. And so she is thrilled to see me today! Oh, I am equally happy, but she just expresses it so vivaciously!

That smile just never fades when she is at peace with her world.

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Familiar stuff, right?  (Keeping hair out of her face...)

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But so precious!

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It is very warm (oh, I know, there is the sweater; my instincts are to let her keep it for now) and so I suggest the community pool. She's a happy girl there and each time, she grows just a little in her bravery and experimentation.

We are lucky to have a season pass, so that we can come in without waiting when it opens at 1. And so for a few minutes, we have a very quiet pool.

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But then come the busloads of kids from various summer school programs. Honestly, today, it looks like the Bear Mountain pool in New Jersey that my parents favored on hot New York City Sundays (Bear Mountain State Park is not too long a drive from midtown Manhattan). I still have photos from those family outings: shoulder to shoulder "swimming!" Not unlike today:

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There was an article in the NYTimes a few days ago about the value of community pools -- the great equalizers in summer fun. Sure, to a degree. But since there are neighborhood (private) pools sprinkled throughout the city, kids tend to remain in the ones close to their homes. Season passes at the private pools are at least five times the price of the one at the community pool and there are membership entrance fees as well. And so we have a rather segregated pool structure here.

The community pool is especially crowded with large groups of older kids. It's a great thing to see them laugh and cavort here, but it would be also great to see more of the younger kids, perhaps with families.

Of course, for Snowdrop, because the crowds are older, the shallower sections of the pool are less crazy busy and so I worry less about her being pushed or thrown off balance. I hover, but mainly to make sure that the kids who are running in from the shore (it's a nicely progressive pool in terms of depth -- sort of like a beach) don't knock her down.

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And now we are at the farmette and she wants to pick berries and though there are ripe ones, including her beloved blueberries, I gather her up and run inside. Damned bugs.

Ah, but inside, there is a present for her. And no, it's not the cardboard doll to dress with felt clothing -- a gift purchased in Parma that when opened, I saw immediately that it was beyond her age capabilities. I hastily stopped at a toy store and bought a... (kill me for it) baby, with the biggest mop of hair ever. And predictably she loves it to pieces.

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We eat fruits, read books and it feels special because it is special! Returns are like that.

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Crazy, beautiful, full of profound joy.

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