15 drops

I almost gave up between this post and the last one. Gave up on what, you ask? Well, I almost gave up on writing any more blog posts, for starters. But that was just a symptom of almost giving up on putting a positive spin on things. Maybe things would just be allowed to stop being spun and sit in resounding silence in all their bare and depressing not-so-greatness.

Maybe I should sink into the role of the frazzled, increasingly older looking mother and wife trying to hold the family together. End of story.

I’m not saying I’m officially not giving up, but I might as well at least attempt another blog. I did feel a little bit tempted to post a picture of our new dog, Willow.

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Well, how can one give up when her little black nose is so cute, even if she has a bit of a barking problem.

And it did rain a few beautiful drops from some wonderful clouds, and the air is so cool and refreshing.

 

Back

August already. A few things distracted me from writing over the last months. There was the whole packing, lugging and unpacking of our possessions. Then Jasmine and I were attacked by pit bulls during our morning walk and she didn’t make it. So there’s been grief and post traumatic stress to deal with. And Joseph has started high school. And Silas started a new job. Basically, not an easy summer.

We miss Jasmine. Joseph and I miss Jasmine at bedtime, when she would curl up and lick her paws peacefully while I read out loud from fantasy novels. Now we have a small tin canister of her ashes, and some pictures, and the chewy toy she liked to hide in Joseph’s blankets. But we don’t have her cheerful presence. And I have a fear of pit bulls.

But sinking down in those thoughts is not an option. Forward we go. Waiting for rain now. Waiting for the coolness of autumn. Getting to know our new neighbors. Hoping for the next things.

Degrees

Tomorrow, or the next day, it will hit 100 degrees, right in time for the first of June. How organized of the weather.

And we are still here. No disasters have struck. Even MacBeth, the Comedy was not too disastrous, and Joseph is already looking back on it with fond memories.

On our anniversary, over a plate of hummus, Silas and I decided to move ahead with plans to sell our house and hopefully move into a condo at the Fresno cohousing community. We contacted our church friend who is a realtor that evening, and two days later the first people who came to look at our house offered the full asking price and it is now in escrow.

It feels right. The Langley’s, I am coming to accept, are migratory. And once one accepts that, it’s okay. Butterflies are migratory. Canadian geese. Native Americans used to move around a lot. Gypsies. I play lots of instruments, after all, and Joseph is quite good on recorder.

Gypsies probably didn’t own thirty boxes of books, though. I’m sure butterflies don’t. It would be awkward. But that’s something migratory book lovers just have to deal with.

And so on into June, which will be hot and pungent with the smell of cardboard boxes and packaging tape.

Prepping

As I drove home from work yesterday the public radio station that I was listening to was doing a report about preppers, in this case people who buy secluded million dollar estates in Montana complete with gun lockers and food supplies and all.

Huh, I thought to myself. Who wants to survive a disaster if the only people left afterwards are rich folks who hid out in million dollar estates in Montana while everyone else suffered and died?

There should be a counter movement of preppers, and the check list would simply be :

Are you prepared to die, prepared to share your last bottle of water with the old lady next door? If not, sort out your priorities.

Anyway, its early morning right now and I’m typing this one letter at a time on a tablet. There doesn’t seem to be any other way I’ll get to write anything. It’s been a month that I’m glad to see the end of. Silas’s job search continues, Julia’s anxiety disorder has taken a turn for the worse, etc.

May might be better. It will include Julia’s graduation from high school, our anniversary, Joseph’s birthday, not to mention his classroom production of Macbeth, The Musical which I’m helping with (it’s a comedy, sure to be a comedy of errors).

Or maybe we’ll die in a disaster. Hopefully before that 8th grade performance of Macbeth, The Musical.

Spring Forward

So we moved our clocks ahead.  We sprang forward, as they say.  Another jumping metaphor.  And certainly I’m feeling jumpy these days.  I’m almost embarrassed at how unpredictable the Langleys seem to be.

We might, for instance, move back to Portland, if Silas got a job there.  He’s applying to every job he can find because he’d really like to move back to Portland.

Or we might not.  Silas might not get a job there.  In fact, it doesn’t seem like an easy thing to do, so far.

We might move to the North side of Fresno.  Silas’s current job is there, and Joseph is planning to attend high school on that side of town (if we don’t move to Portland).  And my parents moved to the North side of town.  So why stay here? We’ll just be driving two cars up and down the length of 41 every day in heavy traffic.

Or we might just stay here, I suppose. I did buy a weed wacker recently, and discovered that a weed wacker is a really good thing.  It really wacks those weeds. If only it could wack everything else that’s out-of-wack with everything.  Staying here would be the default plan.

Meanwhile, Julia sprang forward a bit. One day this week she said she was bored and asked if I could drive her to my parents house. It was five minutes before I planned to leave to go teach my next lessons, so I couldn’t drive her there. “You could take the bus,” I said. “Okay,” she said.

Now, Julia has never gone solo in the world, anywhere. Not even for a walk around the block with the dog. She’s usually afraid someone is going to kill her with a chainsaw. But I was careful not to exclaim “You’d really take the bus?! Oh my goodness! You’re not afraid someone is going to kill you with a chainsaw?!”

No, I just said, “Okay, let’s check the bus schedule.” And five minutes later we were at the bus stop, and I watched her get in and sit down and wave at me from the window.

I’ll hold on to that as we spring forward into whatever is going to happen next.

Leap Year

I seem to have gotten down to one post a month.  I suppose that happens.  And February, of course, was making me think of Leap metaphors. We almost made a big leap a few weeks ago by deciding to move into the cohousing community here in Fresno.  Our house was even up for sale.  But unfortunately the place we wanted to buy was taken by someone else before we could put in our offer. So our For Sale sign came down and our spirits kind of went down with it.

However, this weekend we got some tragic news from our old cohousing community in Portland.  One of our neighbors there took her life over the weekend. She leaped from a tall building. And my interest in leap metaphors vanished. I felt shocked at first, as one does when processing the fact that someone you know is no longer alive. Added shock that the person took their own life. Added shock about how she did it.  Just generally a whole lot of shock.

And then something else. I suppose it was an awareness of being alive. We take it for granted. We get caught up in how difficult it can be, being alive. But the air against one’s face, the blueness of the sky, and way it feels to take a breath. I remember that our friend who died had a favorite sculpture in Portland.  It was up on a hill in a park, and it was a mother swinging a child happily into the air. I’m remembering that for her, and for myself and for all of us. She was Quaker.  I know that Quakers talk about the inner light. For me it would be the Holy Spirit. And I think that sculpture is a good image for the loving creator who swings us up into the air of life and catches us, I believe, when we fall.

New and Old

This afternoon I’m going to the Salvation Army with stuff to donate, particularly clothes that Joseph has grown out of.  He’s probably in the middle of a growing spurt right now, currently in the last days (or months) during which he will be shorter than me.  I’m great at getting rid of things, giving things away.  I’m almost too good at it.  Sometimes Silas has to keep me in check and save things before I donate them.  I could just donate it all.  Less things that have to be dusted and fixed and kept track of and washed and put back where they belong.

So I thought I should do something new to this blog as well, and put a different picture as the header.  I considered the Christmas picture that we took of the four of us, but it wouldn’t crop to the right dimensions.  So I looked back at old pictures.  The kids when they were little.

It makes me think about how our whole lives are always part of us.  That’s something we can never clean out or give away.  Every moment of our lives is something that stays with us, and we are an ever-expanding garden of all the different moments that have been planted over the years.  So I chose an old picture, of my little children.  The littleness and innocence of their past is not something that goes away just because they are bigger and more complicated now.  Our own childhoods are still with us too, the good and the bad. I’m trying to help Julia see that too, gently, that the pictures of her looking like a boy are still part of her, not something that she needs to shut out or avoid.

And so we go on into the new year, and whatever things it will bring.