One window ajar, first light on Pine Lake

I sat outside under a tree with King Tubby playing on my Bluetooth speakers and crocosmia fronds tickling the air, the moon a half melon, the whites of my nails. Talked to my dad across the country, the sound of the boxed wine bladder emptying into his glass, easing into a deeper layer for our chat: me with my beer and foldout chair, the two of us subsuming each other. The strange echo of days: dad, remarking on a sound file he found on his iPod of him and nana, an accidental recording but a real gift to hear her voice, he said. And I told him of the recordings I have of my now-gone stepdad John I can’t listen to, can’t go back, don’t have the heart to. And when I said goodbye it seemed abrupt though it had been 48 minutes my phone said—and I went to check in on the girls, caught under the shadow of my rule with Dawn gone for the day: the consummate project manager, checking in on status, fine-tuning, redirecting. The sunshade I had to fit into the skylight above our master bathroom to keep the heat at bay. The electronic apparatuses I unearthed from their home in a shoebox hidden in the closet, resolved to reconcile the cords and memory sticks, the attachments. Splayed across my desk, but it can wait until tomorrow. Back to the story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe my hair stylist Donnie convinced me to read; mom got me the book one Christmas but it lay unwanted in the garage dog-eared at page 11. An oil change and droll Sunday afternoon of tasks in the suburbs. Roads closed until “late 2018,” orange signs, traffic, air conditioners. Forty-two days without rain: dad says they got 10 inches this month in Pennsylvania. Maybe the climate really is fucked up now for good, he remarks. Eberhard says the same about Germany: rain and cold at times. Crows, dragon-flies, jets: when the wind blows the cottonwoods clap, the crocosmia fronds make circular patterns on my navel whispering water me, they’re invasive, they “propagate by division.” The news says eight years ago was the hottest day in Seattle, 103: the same day we left for Germany the first time, the sabbatical in 2009. Driving down to Italy, to Como for a night, stressed out as hell with two kids and no cell phone service and the European roads, arriving in Tuscany at Miriam’s villa and sucking down a Heineken in their swimming pool when Lily (4) went under and Miriam (33) saved her life. And we didn’t think much of it then, we just felt lucky.

Categories: musings, parenting, prose

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Sometimes those long distance phone calls are a lifeline back to our roots, and then the abruptness of the goodbyes and the return to our immediate surroundings…strange sometimes. Nice post Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I hang up with my Dad it feels abrupt. Dad’s don’t get taught phone goodbyes, or even phone hellos, or phone how the hell are you then? Another beautiful post. I like the idea of the moon being a melon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can change your own oil? Is that something you need to learn when you’re young? Is it too late? I mean, I know it’s not too late, but there comes a point when you think, “I could learn to do it myself but it would be much easier to have someone else do it for me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, I almost didn’t get past Crocosmia (the Galaxy where reptiles rule) but am glad I did.
    There’s an art to kaleidoscope small image pieces. Nicely painted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you say that, I spent some pedantic level of time there. Almost couldn’t get past it myself. Who has the time, really? Who knows of the kaleidoscope? Who can name the small, weak-sighted unevolved? Midnight moon is growing cold.

      Liked by 1 person

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