Sunday, August 12, 2018

what if

What if I got up very very early, even before the cheepers are set loose by their automatic door opening mechanism, and what if I plunged into farmhouse cleaning and yard maintenance and animal care, with only a brief pause to answer a call from the sailing Ed -- what if I did all that before breakfast? Wouldn't that be splendid?

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Splendid -- maybe. But it would also mean that I would not eat breakfast until after the noon hour. Even working at a brisk pace, it takes well over five hours to do all that and I must admit that I cut some corners.

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And 12:30 is just too late for your first cup of coffee.

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(There have been times when Ed and I have worked hard on some outdoor project and we would be so determined to get it done that indeed the morning meal would be equally late. However, working together on a project feels good. Working alone on house cleaning, window washing, yard maintenance and animal care feels ... like work.)

Determined to make the now no longer morning meal a calming and lovely experience, I pick up the New Yorker and read an article about the indie filmmaker, Nicole Holofcener. There are many good things about the piece, but what sticks in my mind are pairings of words used to describe some of her characters: "alternating strains of wickedness and remorse..." where her protagonists "try to be good, (even as) they often find unnerving evidence that they're actually bad..." And finally, there are the "intricacies of relationships -- what makes them both maddening and indispensable."

I think about Ed's call this morning. It was later than usual. I thought nothing of it -- he may well be sailing through an area of no cell service. Just before the call came, I got a text from one of his sailing pals, with a photo of an old lighthouse that they were about to visit. It was pretty. They must have been passing it just as I was furiously pulling out weeds in a futile attempt to control the overgrowth in areas of the farmette. Ed's call came shortly after.

We sailed out in dense fog -- he tells me. I couldn't call. I was completely focused on navigating with radar and GPS coordinates.

I gave this a few seconds' thought. Finally I asked -- why did you sail in morning fog, when you knew it would lift in an hour or so?

I don't know why I asked. I'm as sure as anything of the answer: they sailed in dense fog just because of the challenge.

And now the sun was out and they are about to explore the lighthouse that I was looking at on my smart phone.

When you spend so many hours working physically in the house, then in the yard, you have plenty of time for meditative, calming thoughts. But in your efforts to be that good person -- one who tends to the hearth and home and makes sure good meals are offered, along with kind and loving words meant only for your sweetie whom you adore to pieces -- you sometimes notice yourself slipping, because unfortunately, that bad side that lurks in all of us, comes to the surface every now and then.

Suffice it to say, Ed heard no sweet and tender words from me on the phone this morning. Were I near that boat, I might have been tempted to push him into the water and make him swim to shore, though I dare say, he would have regarded that to be an equally good challenge. (I do have good moments when I'm not recalling that Ed finds my form of travel too comfortable and therefore too dull. Those moments were not present this morning.)

In the evening, the young family comes for Sunday dinner and this very special meal comes with a twist today: after dinner, the dad takes little Sparrow home, while Snowdrop and her mom stay for a girls' night at the farmhouse. In other words -- a sleepover.

First, dinner.

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The sleepover is something Snowdrop has been asking for and, too, it is special for my daughter, who thinks (as well she should!) that an evening on the porch watching fireflies flicker as the sky fills with stars to be somewhat magical.

We all three put away the cheepers. There's the shower -- a farmhouse first. And books, one after the next, night time favorites and old comfy ones...

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And now we're out on the porch. Look, Snowdrop! The fireflies are dancing their crazy dance to the tune of the cricket song!

The child falls asleep instantly. Her mom and I stay out on the porch, listening to Italian music.