Like Mud…Almost

She had no idea, not a clue, although there were plenty of signs that something was amiss. For instance, why were things so difficult? Why did it take forever to get anything rolling? Why was there so much opposition to every move she made, every breath she took? 

“But it’s always been this way,” she would say when I nettled her. And she’d dismiss me like a fleeting thought. 

She was constantly examining the issues. “There’s got to be a way out of this,” she’d say. And when she’d say something like this I would perk up, like a deer hearing a sudden noise–all alert, listening, at the ready for action. Forever the optimist, I’d think, “maybe this time, she’s seeing the light–almost”. But always, always, she’d be overcome with opposition, points of contention, small though they were, but the pure volume, millions of them, held her back.

“I’m stuck here,” she said one day. “It’s like I’m moving through mud.” 

“That’s it, yes, you are exactly right–almost.” 

It took a pandemic before she noticed. Everything s-l-o-w-e-d down. The world ground to a halt. Don’t go out, stay at home, if you do go out, wash your hands, and for Pete’s sake, wear a fucking mask–cover your nose and mouth. No, no, don’t wear it on your chin.  That’s right pull that damn thing up over the parts of your face that breathe air in and breathe air out. 

She had time to notice, finally. It was like moving through mud. Actually it was quicksand. And the day she opened her eyes, she saw exactly where she was–in a pit of quicksand–sinking slowly. She reached forth her hand, globs of goo falling, plopping into the sand around her. And being the best of the best, golden light that I am, I reached forth too and pulled her out and set her free.

“Boy am I glad that’s over,” she said, shaking granules from herself, casting off everything that wasn’t purely, authentically her. 

© Glenda Kotchish

September 19, 2020

Virginia Piedmont

I’m in the piedmont but it feels like the mountains today. On the wooden fence, the honeysuckle is blooming still, ready for a deer tall enough to reach it and eat it for a snack. They will be by later–the deer–sometimes a herd of six or seven, sometimes just three–a doe and her two fawns. The fawns are losing their spots now and the doe’s coat is growing darker. Mid-September, the perfect time of the year here in Virginia. 

June and Waylin, the hound dogs are out. They are city dogs and have been kept inside all summer, on a leash for walks in the suburbs. A copperhead almost bit Waylin, in their backyard, up close and personal. Maybe the snakes are gone now and the hounds are allowed outside. The snake man was coming to treat the yard–whatever that means. It’s a jungle back there–a woodland tangle of growth–tall pines, a few hardwoods and lots of scrub brush. On my side of the fence, someone has clear out things but it wants to come back, ivy winding itself up the oat trees, Virginia Creeper smothering the shrubs. 

The dogs are barking now. Mountain hound dogs wouldn’t be making such a racket. If Waylin and June were mountain dogs, they’d be a little less frisky. They would be lazying around, napping under the porch, until the hunt is on–that is and then Katie bar the door. Mountain dogs would grab the snake and shake it good. I’ve seen two of hounds, one on each end, stretching a snake between them–in the country. 

But I’m in the Piedmont, in the suburbs of the city, old suburbs–almost forgotten, with creeks and lakes feeding into the river–sections of land that can’t be developed any further, perfect for the deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Here, garages are not attached, kitchens have not been updated with their shiny, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Bathrooms are small and closets hold a reasonable number of clothes. Perfect, or perfect enough if you can’t live in the mountains. Here I pretend on a cool September day, with the warm sun on my shoulders and the quiet of the outdoors, pretend that I’m up on the Blue Ridge. 

© Glenda Kotchish

September 16, 2020

Here in Tidewater

Not too long ago my husband and I moved to a small town not far from Richmond. It’s quiet and near three rivers. There are marshes and the land is flat. Both of us are used to rolling hills and mountains, so this is something new.

I have this feeling that a place holds memories and in time will share them with you. My recent writings reflect this phenomenon. I’m working on a story about early English settlements and the natives.

Stories happen. History weaves itself into them.

Glenda Kotchish

Spinning Along

I broke my ankle.   No!  I can’t have a broken ankle.   Go back together you bones!  I have things to do, scores of things and I need to be efficient to get them done.  

 

You see I have to keep the world rolling, round and round on its axis–or at least my world.    I have to keep the business running and money coming in so that I can keep the debts at bay.  There’s the business loans and the house at the beach, the empty house at the beach, that no one wants, especially us.   Then there’s the insurance payments, in case one of us dies, we can pay off the debts.    The debts, they bark quietly each month for their payments,  softly at first and you better not miss one because they will start to bark loudly and gain weight, adding interest and fees–for spite.

 

And then there’s my bedsheets.   My sheets need changing.   They needed changing before I broke my ankle.    And my clothes are piling up on the chair in the bedroom.    I hang up my clothes.   Why are they piling up over there?   And the room is dusty and the bathroom, oh my–I’m embarrassed.   It was just a little dusty around the edges before I broke my ankle.  Now,  it all looks pretty scummy.      

 

I leave a trail of dishes and cups on the counters and tables.   It’s a lot of effort to pick up after myself.   I never knew how much mess I created now that I can’t pick things up so efficiently and wisp them away,  into the dishwasher.    

 

Just turning around in the kitchen to get a cup out of the cabinet is an effort–scoot, scoot, scoot, hop–open the cabinet, get the cup,  close the cabinet and repeat–in reverse.   Before, oh before,  it was blissfully smooth–pivot, reach, open, grab, close, pivot–seconds.

 

Shifting, yes that’s it.  The world, my world is shifting.   I lie to myself that I’m controlling things, running things.  I’m not, really.    The world is spinning all on it’s own.   I’m in the spin,  rolled my ankle in the process–pop goes the weasel.   It will all work out, this way or that.   No need to worry–spin away.

 

© Glenda Kotchish

April 1, 2017

 

Porch Light

Image courtesy pixabay
Image courtesy pixabay

My porch light, no lights–both of them–are possessed.   They each have a chip–the silicon kind–not the nick/dent kind.   The eleven page manual describes the various options and switches along with a nomenclature.  

(Yep, the diagram actually was entitled nomenclature--which I thought was a bit over the top, presumptuous even.) We’re talking about a porch light here–not a nuclear power plant.  Aren’t nomenclatures associated with complex notions like biology and chemistry?  You know that class in college that 98% of freshmen flunk?  Calling a picture with arrows and a legend a nomenclature is like calling a system analyst an architect.   Right?   Just where is the building, bridge, house, shed or outhouse built by any system analyst?   “Oh, but our designs are blueprints for complex systems,” the industry argues.    I think they– the IT industry–need to think up their own names for their own people and quit borrowing and mucking up perfectly good words with their obscure parallels.  Or they can just call a spade and spade and let it go at that.  I can say this because I once was a system analyst and I designed my share of systems–complex ones–but I was never by any stretch of the imagination, an architect.)

Back to the porch lights.   There are switches–many of them.   All I wanted was an on/off switch.  You know the binary thing–1 and 0.  It’s on.  It’s off.  You want the light on, switch up.   You want the light off, switch down.  Both of the lights at the same time–on, off–easy peasy.   But the system architect designed this very complex array of switches that allows the porch lights to come on at dawn and off at dusk, or vice versa.   And the determination of dawn and dusk apparently has nothing to do with the actual rising or setting of the sun.  And there’s no internal clock in those little chips–so you can’t set the time, day and night, and have the lights come on or off based on the clock.    The porch lights just come on or turn off arbitrarily.   It’s spooky, really.   

Then there’s the motion-sensitive feature.  For this to work, the switch in the house (that governs the porch lights) would have to be on, all the time, right?  And then, in theory,  if someone or something came into the designated range of the porch light, IF it was night (and dark)–then the light would come on.   Right? Nope.  Not true.  Not so.  False.   Those little suckers have a mind of their own. You can dance a jig and wave your arms two inches from the lamp and nothing happens.  Nothing.    But turn your back and the damn light comes on–slowly.   I mean slowly.   And don’t tell me it’s the energy-saving light bulb causing the slow progression from dark to light.   It’s not, because I don’t have energy-saving light bulbs in the lamps.   It’s a ghost or something.  And I think she or he is pissed.   I would be too if someone drew a picture of me and entitled it nomenclature.  

Glenda Kotchish

© April 5, 2016