Be quiet. Be still. Don’t move a muscle. You think you will not cause change? Not true.
Just by being, you are causing changes. Every breath you take, changes something, moves something, colors something.
What if you stop breathing?
You can’t escape this, Even in death, you continue to change–your body changes and you cause changes. Your decomposition will give off odor and you will become nutrients in the soil. The bacteria will consume you, change you and become other things. Your energy passes into other forms.
Embalmed and placed in an airtight vault where you will not succumb to deterioration? You will take up space my friend–your presence will continue.
A pebble in the flowerbed, buried under a weed, flew up from the weed wacker and hit the sliding glass door. A tiny pebble–moving at just the right speed, striking at just the right spot, shattered the glass. I watched the glass ripple and break into tiny pieces. The crackling sounds were eerie. Every few minutes the cracks would ping as the break spread to the furthest edges of the door.
I put up a sign. Don’t open this door. Danger, broken glass–a reminder for myself.
This happened at home–my safe place–a place where I go and collapse on the couch, flick on the T.V. and tune out of the world and all the things that happen out there. Nothing happens here. From the couch, I look out the sliding glass door at the birds and the deer who come nibble on my plants and drink from the bird bath. They share the seeds I put out, the birds and the deer. But now that view is cracked and fuzzy, too.
It was May. School was almost over for the year, even now it was only half-days. After class, what to do with the rest of the day–go home? Boring. Not just boring but the noise of his sisters and mother, the T.V. blaring reality shows was too much to take. After the chaos and roar of school, all he wanted was a quiet place to–to what? Think? Rest? Just be.
The sun was hot for May, 90 degrees. He put on his baseball hat and sunglasses, swung his backpack over his shoulder and instead of riding the school bus home, he strode off the school grounds and headed to the river–through the suburban neighborhood of manicured lawns. The streets were shaded by huge magnolia trees, chestnuts and oaks. An occasional car speed by him as he walked–facing traffic.
Finally, he came upon a path to the river, a path through the woods–a deer path. He followed it, past the creek, behind the houses, down to the river bank. The river was wide and fast–nothing but water and ripples marking where the current flowed. He sat down on a fallen tree trunk, tossed his backpack on the ground and rested with only the river noises for company.
It only took two days before the neighborhood social media, “Nextdoor” buzzed with comments–a suspicious person in a baseball hat, The police came–trespassing was the charge.
Easter is on my mind. The earth has been in preparation for weeks, first with dandelions, then daffodils, pink buds on the red bud trees and now the dogwoods blooming. The deer are losing their grey winter coats and turning a warm tan color. The birds are building nests.
I want to celebrate, too. I want to put on a new spring dress, a hat, shoes and stockings and go somewhere where people gather. I want to hear singing–maybe Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
By 10 o’clock I was in the car and on my way to the studio, glad that it had stopped raining, the sun was out and the sky clear and blue again. It was cold, but on the first day of spring you can’t have everything. I turned on the CD player. I was almost at the end of a murder mystery audio book.
I know. CDs are old fashioned and Amazon Audible is all the go but Audible costs $25 a month and that’s $25 that I could spend on art supplies. Besides the audiobooks are free at the library although I hear they are phasing them out with digital streaming. If and when I get a new car, then it will have bluetooth and I’ll be up to date, for a minute.
That’s what the millennials say, anyway. A minute is, I think, more than 60 seconds and can be a short while or a long while–a very inclusive word.
Inclusive, another favorite word these days, although only in word. Word is another one, and I have no idea what that means. Maybe, hello? Or perhaps just another inclusive word.
In March I think a lot about my father. It’s his birthday month. He was the fourth child of nine. He talked sparingly of his childhood except that his mother was industrious and raised them with very little at hand. Dad’s father, my grandfather did not have a father. Well, of course he had a father but not one that acknowledged him. As it turned out, his father, my great grandfather was the sheriff of the county and quite the ladies’ man. I read that in a book that made reference to him. The book even had his picture, gun and all. So it would seem that my great grandmother was one of his ladies, his secretary actually. She not only bore him a son but four other children as well. This was back in the early 1800s so how about that?
In our family tree we have quite a few “squiggly lines”. The squiggly lines appeared when my grandfather passed away and someone took a look at his death certificate. It caused quite a ruckus.
My Dad was disappointed in his father because, not having an example to follow, Granddaddy knew nothing of taking care of a family. I’m told that he spent his money where he shouldn’t have and not on the family. But I liked my grandfather. He was the first one that took notice that I was good at art. He admired my coloring of a watermelon. He went on and on about how I got all the colors right. He called my sister and me knuckle-heads, which was an endearing nickname. He’d rub our heads with his knuckles and we’d laugh. He taught me to play checkers and as a result I am the champion checker player, unbeatable, in my household. At the dinner table, he would pour his coffee from the cup into the saucer and sip from the saucer much to my grandmother’s chagrin. And he ate his dessert first to be sure there was room enough in his stomach for it–no point in leaving that to chance. My grandmother was an excellent cook so I completely understood his reasoning. My mouth waters just thinking of anything she cooked, custards, cakes, pies, rolls, everything. I loved them both.
They lived in the country, in a house my Dad built for us. My mother didn’t like being so close to my grandmother, who lived at the top of the hill, so we moved to town and Grandma and Granddaddy moved down the hill into the new house. They had a farm with animals and a garden and it was lovely, rugged and comfy. The beds were iron frames,the mattresses were soft, and the pillowcases were embroidered by my grandmother. On summer nights, it was pitch dark unless there was a moon and there were a million stars. We’d sit on the front porch that didn’t have steps leading up to it–no one ever finished that part of the house. To enter the house, everyone came in from the backdoor. The front porch was accessed through the living room. It was pretty high off the ground, so as a little kid, it was kind of scary without steps. Summer evenings in the country were cool and pleasant. We’d sit on the front porch and the adults would talk and the children would listen. The adults spoke in code. They must have because we children didn’t have a clue about anything they discussed. There were family secrets, nothing truly bad, like abuse or anything, but things that were never discussed–except in code of course.
I am a grandmother myself now and the grandchildren love coming to spend the night with us. We don’t do anything special but they love it. I think I understand because I’d like to say right now, “Let’s go to Grandma’s house. Let’s go sit on the porch and play a little checkers. We can have ice tea or Kool Aid, and maybe a slice of chocolate cake with peaches and cream on the side. We can hear Grandma laugh and Granddaddy chuckle. He’ll spit some tobacco juice in the spittoon, a coffee can under the chair and Grandma will ignore it.”