Driving to the vet’s office I blanked out again, forgot where I was going. It’s the same route I used to take driving to work, the road that curves by the elementary school and the playground where we used to take the kids, that boggy green belt with dead trees in the middle grown over with flowers and shrubs. Down the road past people on their phones walking their dogs, stopping at the light with the first view of the lake, those million dollar homes along the shores. We never wanted to live in the suburbs but a number of factors led us here, and now it’s our home and our lives, it’s where we put in. Up the road past the cyclists peddling, recalling when Mike and I rented bikes in France, how painful that was climbing the cliff-sides overlooking the sea, but then we stopped for dinner and shared a bottle of wine and everything was alright. It was the first time I ordered “fruits de la mer,” a pasta dish with fresh seafood. I was proud of myself I could translate the name, fruits of the sea. The last time I took Ginger to the vet was March, they’d just started the new policy of making you check in over the phone and wait in your car while they examine your pet. And it seemed ridiculous to me then but now it feels normal as I sit here waiting on my phone. How all thoughts of travel feel so much farther away now. And I don’t want to go anywhere, anyways. We piddle around the yard noting how the angle of the sun changes, how it lights up the prisms in the window, throwing bits of rainbow like confetti on the walls. And the kids have taken to staying up all night (literally), sleeping most of the day. We are like the day shift taking over for the night crew, they clock out as we clock in. When they rise around 4 we are thinking about dinner and they are getting their cereal, then fixing themselves dinner as we wake up. And so I take this road now and remember back to the days I used to drive in, and doubt it will ever be the same. There is a pervasive sense of loss in all this, a strange peace that could be a kind of acceptance or another form of dismay. The frame of our worlds collapsing down, retracting. A kaleidoscope in reverse.
Watching the hummingbird turf wars for best access to the feeders as they bluff charge each other. One winds up high and hovers there like a kite, then dive bombs the other, changing course at the last second. They don’t seem like nice birds to me, I think their proboscis makes them too self-assured. Lily has started using the term “straggot” for teenaged boys who pose like they’re bad-ass on TikTok (“straight faggot”). And we try to equate straggot with the same strain of hate from its cousin word but she insists it’s different, that “faggot” comes from a practice of rolling up gays in a carpet and lighting them on fire. Which doesn’t seem plausible to me I say, because who has extra carpeting lying around like that? We look it up and learn they actually burned heretics in carpets like that (women too), and faggot derives from slurs originally aimed at women. Well, that’s what we did on Friday night anyways. That, and I got a fire going but no one paid any attention to it so I just sat by it sulking, waiting for the stars to come out and the bistro lamps to go off. That, and I chased a fly around the house with a swatter. Dawn said they have these bug zappers now shaped like small tennis racquets and we thought we could make some sport of that.
It is a milky, languid day. All those leaning trees. I uprooted some foxgloves and threw their trumpets on the ground. Watered the scotch moss on the side of the house, trying to remember that patchwork of color that’s unique to Scotland: those parched-looking hills of green and brown, some yellow. That feeling I sometimes get of crazed infatuation for nature, just wanting to jump into it, to have it consume me. To disappear into the dark of the forest and have it erase me, to let me back in.