Friday morning I was ready to be done with all of it; the classes, the waiting, the uncertainty. To claw my way out of the amber.
When I feel like I want to get out of my own skin, I need to remember that I do actually have a body. When the weather is kind, as it was on Friday morning, I go out to the garden. I need the warm sun shining on my straw hat to pour through me to the the soft dirt between my bare toes. I need to sweat and ache.
So I went out and dug up twelve pounds of volunteer parsnips that had sweetened over the winter. A few were shaped like fine white carrots. The rest were like mandrakes; twisted appendages, swollen tops shaggy with filamentous roots. Products of adverse soil conditions, they warped themselves from pushing through too much resistance. Instead of pouring all their energies into one strong, sure taproot, they had to settle for smaller scattered avenues around harder places.
Nothing is ever simple in a garden. There is the tightrope chemistry of the soil, the balance of composition and decomposition, the miracle of energy converting into matter. It is never a simple thing, but it is good and beautiful, and if tended well it will satisfy your hunger.
I carried the parsnips in and washed them off in the sink. My fingers grew stiff under the cold water. I flexed them dried them off and remembered they were mine.
On my way to lunch, I took the scenic route through our Village neighborhood. To my left was a little pond with an embarrassment of ducks, on the right a horse farm. Just past that was a stubbly field where we had bought our pumpkins the Halloween before. Now it was full of Canadian geese. Over the trees ahead I could make out the tops of mountains I haven't visited in years.
I picked O up for lunch. We headed for the Irish pub in our old neighborhood, but it had been sold to someone with café ideas. We went instead to a breakfast place across the street where O and a friend often go. I'd never been there, so I tested their skills with the basics – coffee, breakfast burrito – and split an order of stuffed French toast with O.
We eavesdropped on the old men talking in a booth behind us about emailing their grandchildren, about their blogs, about Korea. O recognized by his shuffle one of the the homeless men who passed by outside. He misses his open shop where he could watch the street all day and interact face to face with customers.
So we talked about what he wanted to do. The risks involved, steps backward, steps forward. How the boyos would be affected. I urged him to go forward with his plans. I took him by surprise by telling him I knew he wasn't happy where he was at. “As happy,” I amended. He's decided against it for now, this thing he wanted to do. And it seems like the right decision.
We finished lunch. I took him back to his folks' house, visited briefly with his parents. There are troubles there and I will leave it at that.
I picked the boyos up from school. My mom called, so I set up the webcam and she talked with her grandsons online. O came in with the mail.
“There's an envelope here for you,” he said from the other room. I could tell where it was from by his voice.
It was a big envelope.
They don't reject you with big envelopes.