Sunday’s solemn features


Rock Meadow, Sammamish, WA

We got back to our vitamins, raw almonds, coconut milk — shopping for the best price on gas, how the clouds cling to the hills on a Sunday morning, the treetops tucked in, gone back to sleep. Even though it’s not mine, I stand in the empty garage at Beth’s to enjoy the calm of a newly reclaimed space, just cleaned. I watch the sun set on the deck which takes a while, since we’re deep into May — and think about my friend visiting with his son, a girl we used to know who’s married now to a seaweed farmer and living on one of the islands, sending late-night texts to him, something about going through a portal together, he never wrote back. Too much spicy food makes for strange dreams: mine, a piece of pork wrapped in plastic but when I take it off, it lifts its head and it’s a baby pig, alive, and I let it go, decide I’ll turn vegetarian, but it’s just a dream.

Two men deep in their 40s air-drumming to Yes songs, making exaggerated faces. Loren’s son cops an action figure pose, low to the ground, arms in the air like a sword fighter or surfer, has that perfect combination of his mom and dad, colors combined from a palette to their likeness. Loren asks about the neighbors, looking over the deck: the woman’s fighting cancer and lives with her 30-something bipolar son. We never see them on their deck or in the windows, can’t tell if anyone’s home, funny how different our lives can be just 20 yards away.

We find out we can get back into our house (our ‘home-home’) a month earlier than planned, have started saving boxes again, breaking down, packing up, a year of goodbyes it seems: calculating how much food we’ll need for the week. Mom calls to say what’s new, how it rained but she took Ginger for a walk anyway; the cleaning lady came, the cat brought a bird into the bathroom, still breathing. I appreciate that between us there’s a goodbye and we know how to say it, there is no fear.

Dawn shows Charlotte how to paint, pulls up a video from the 80s called The Joy of Painting, with Bob Ross — he starts at the top with the sky and lets the color fade from the brush as he gets lower, then adds more paint and switches to the bottom for some water, fading as he returns to the horizon in the middle. And with the soft brush strokes and his whispers it’s like mixing pain killers with alcohol, three out of five of us on the sofa drooling, dozing, and Charlotte wakes me at the end to say Look dad, how it ended…it looks like a real scene with the leaning trees and puffy clouds, and he just imagined it that way.

Every morning around 5 there’s the sound of a car outside and a driver we never see that comes down Beth’s dead-end road and stops, turns, puts a newspaper in her mailbox, rushes off, and in the wake of the sound there’s birdsong to take its place and it goes back to quiet as the paper sits waiting for another hand to come take it, to scan the pages, to put it in a basket when it’s finished and take it out of the house, as they will me one day.



Categories: death, musings

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Ha. Nice ending.
    There are so many fictional potentials in Bob Ross: the Church of Bob Ross, alien communication sent to us through Bob Ross, Bob Ross addiction. I saw (I think) a New York Times mini-doc on Bob Ross Conventions. Worth seeking out if you can find it. No matter what the obsession, fanatics all look the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reminding me of the happy little trees guy. I know my girls would love watching him, as would I again (through closed eyelids probably).


  3. Love that last para. I’m right there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sounds pretty peaceful there –


    • It is just what the doctor ordered; I sometimes can’t believe our life and how wonderful it all seems. We need to get some spray to keep these eagles down, though. Or maybe I can learn to use a rifle and practice here, from our deck.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Speaking of Bob Ross, check out the Bob Ross lorem ipsum generator. Whenever you need a lift, let the master of serene confidence levitate you: Could help keep you out of that basket a little longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like that’s something I’ve seen, or might have from your blog. It’s great. I am all about the happy clouds. I mean it: who needs prescription drugs? Get me a comfy sofa and a lazy afternoon and nighty-night, Bob.


  6. Giving up meat isn’t a dream. It’s an abject nightmare.

    Cancer + bipolar. I never have to look far to see I’m a complainer who doesn’t really have a problem in the world. Nice body check into the boards. I needed that.

    There’s a cult of Bob Ross. He was laughed at for many years but now he’s a Zen master. That’ll show ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your dog is cause to complain. So was that guy who used to sit near you sucking stuff through straws. And all those women in your life who’ve driven you to write like that, good god. I give thanks to my complaints: honor them when setting a universal intention for yourself and getting on the train tomorrow morning, for work. Bob Ross: sign me up, I’ll change my name like that and wear a robe, whatever. Cult of Bob.


  7. But what did Charlotte find more interesting, the painting or Bob Ross?


  8. I got nothing against Bob Ross, but he was no William Alexander. Bill came first, taught him the gig, and was more entertaining to watch, if less soothing. But no one seems to remember him, everyone is all Bob Ross Bob Ross Bob Ross. And let me tell you all something, all you Bob Ross people. It hurts. It hurts deep down in my hurty place, and the hurty place of everyone who knows the lineage, the history, the roots, of this wet-on-wet oil painting in thirty minutes on tv business, that no one seems to remember the master.

    I like the pic, has a bit of an Easter Island vibe going on. And the last paragraph, as some said above. Haunting, that. Also like the sunset taking awhile cause we’re deep into May, and glad you’re going home-home a little early, I need you all to get back there and get settled again. I have no idea what y’all really need, this is about me. Just kidding, kind of. But I do think it’s time, if I may say so. But now that I think about it, maybe it’s not. I keep flashing back to the end of the Lord of the Rings, which was a story I really didn’t want to end, and how Sam was so glad to be home, and Frodo felt like he would never be ‘home’ again until he sailed off from the Grey Havens for good, never to return, and where on that spectrum of two extremes you are and I am. It’s all too deep all of the sudden and I’ve had a couple of adult beverages and the alarm is going to go off in six hours so I should get to bed. Good talk! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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