Sunday Morning ~ The Beginning
Kuongola mtengo ndi poyamba. ~ To straighten a tree you must start at the beginning.
~ Chewa proverb
August 22, 2021
It gets easier. You start with a little stick and the hole you dig is rather small. It doesn’t have to go deep. Pretty soon, if the soil is wet and the temperature right, a few leaves start to appear. It’s exciting to see the stick alive. You must have planted it correctly. A shoot pokes out from the top and the sapling starts bending toward the sunlight. It’s such a hopeful act to plant a tree. Thirty years ago I did this, planted trees. They were just sticks really, and I stuck them in spots near the house we were building. I thought I wouldn’t live to see them flourish. Now, Amelia, James, and I are picking fruit from those trees. It’s the fantasy I had when I planted them. I’m so happy. So grateful.
I hear there is a hurricane heading our way. A notification on my phone warned me while camping this week at Rangeley State Park. I hadn’t listened to the news in two weeks so looked to see what was happening, not sure how worried I should be with two young kids in a tent. I discovered a whole group of people who can’t find Afghanistan on a map are now experts on that country, and a hurricane may or may not hit us. I realize how easy it is to tune out reality. I should stop wondering how this can be. It’s a relief, actually, not that I’d want to make a lifestyle out of it. Tuning out and being completely present with these two young beings is good for my soul. And the time is short. I’ve missed them. I slip in and out of the pool of how I’ll miss them again.
We had a rough start with a sleepless first night of their stay. James was scared out here on the porch and decidedly announced this fact throughout the night no matter how many reassurances and tight hugs I provided. As the sky got a little light Amelia tapped me on the arm and whispered, “Meme, have we literally been awake all night?” I whispered back depressingly, “Just about.” It was hot. It’s rarely hot here during the night, especially outside, but it was that night. We were all sweaty and piled together like we were on an airplane. In fact, that’s sort of what it was like: trying to sleep on an airplane. I got up with a sore back and cranky attitude. There was no way I could do that for three weeks. We had several discussions that day about what would make him feel safe with the understanding that the option of sleeping inside for three whole weeks of my summer was not on the table. He helped me move a statue I had on the porch to the garden on the other side of the house. He said it scared him. We talked about the night noises and who makes them. We got out Zack’s old Zoobooks and found ones written about spiders. We read about how they catch their prey and weave beautiful webs. We learned they mostly don’t hurt us and how good they are for the garden. We rearranged the sleeping configuration so he felt more secure. Mostly he heard the definitive tone of my words. This was my summer bedroom and if he wanted to be near me, this is where we sleep. He can reach out if he needs reassurance, but this is where I feel safe and happy. I told him he could feel that way, too. It didn’t take long for the nights to become sweet again. In fact, he was fine the very next night. Now we all take our places, I read a chapter to them from the Little House books, we snuggle in, and in the morning, I sit with my tea at the table nearby, and write. I promised I’d stay close until they wake each morning and when I see the little heads pop out of the piles of quilts, I get back in to snuggle. We write a short story about the day, one that captures the essence of what was vivid to them. The whole world for me is right here.
We quietly watch a hummingbird sip nectar from the flowers next to our bed each morning. The humming sound alerts us and we take a break from our story. We watch it dart from blossom to blossom before floating away. As it leaves I feel a pang of sadness, reluctantly letting it go. It’s so quick. So beautiful. I have to relish the moment it gives us and be glad for it, even as I mourn it’s departure. We turn back to our story, and somehow the hummingbird never makes it onto the page.
Love to all,