Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Musings, 23 April 2016

Good morning,

Daylight savings time sent a stream of light through the open blind at six a.m.  I've given up on that blind.  Today I intend to measure the window and try to find a match online.  I'll order a new piece and con someone into hanging it for me.  I thought that I might repair this one, but after three or four months, I cannot pretend any longer.

In the meantime, the sun intrudes into the room earlier than I would request of it.  I stretch, and rise, and move around the room thinking about the tasks that will fill my day.  The ordinary errands of an everyday life; the chores; a trip to the cemetery; a few phone calls; a pleasant hour at the plant store.

But first: let the dog out, make coffee.  After the kettle boils for my pour-through, I trudge back upstairs with my Harvard cup and settle before the laptop, thinking about my mother and wondering if she's happy in heaven.

My mother would have liked this house.  She enjoyed wood, and character, and old things.  This place has plenty of each.  The built-in bookshelf; the cupboards in the breakfast nook; all the unpainted wood here in the upstairs; my mother would have smiled, nodded, and settled into a rocker with a book, her knitting in a holder on the floor beside her.  The television would have stayed off, or played low for my father's sake.

Mother's eyebrows would have shot clear through her forehead at the sight of my ragged sideyard and the weeds beneath the failing holly bush.  I would be asked to carry my tools down the driveway and she would sit on the old stone wall wearing worn gardening gloves, pulling weeds, singing softly while she worked.  Her legs would fold beneath her denim skirt; her arms would move rhythmically as the pile of pullings grew on the asphalt beside her feet.  She'd wear a bandanna tied around her short brown  hair.  I would fetch glasses of iced tea.  Beneath her deft ministrations, my yard would come to life.  I would not be able to keep up with her planting, her weeding, her tending, but I would spend the time sitting on a bench near her, warming myself in the glow cast by her connection to the earth.

She would hollow a well in the dirt near the downward slope of the driveway and nestle a clay birdbath into the ground.  I'd pull the hose over to where she stood and watch as she filled the vessel with water.  She'd lament the loss of the old cedar tree and cast her eyes about for somewhere to hang a bird feeder.  Her hands would raise to point and I'd follow her direction, sweeping and bagging the clippings, chasing broken pottery around the yard and gathering the shards for the trash.  The dog would find all this activity delightful, and run back and forth, yipping in her Beagle way, happy, hopeful, knowing that when the afternoon ended, my mother would take her for a walk.

When nighttime came, we'd chop carrots, onions, and potatoes for a stir-fry, and eat in my dining room, with the windows open and the cool evening wind blowing through the house.  My mother would listen to my soft mutterings, my heart-aches, my broken dreams, my shattered illusions.  I would see compassion in her luminous brown eyes and across the drawn furrows of her olive skin.  She would touch my hand and offer me a handkerchief.

Then we would look at pictures of my son, Patrick, and she would tell me that I had done well with this boy.  I would show her some of his writings, and the three guitars with their broken strings that he plays when he comes to visit.  We would stand in my breakfast nook and look at Patrick's clay hand-print hanging next to the one her baby boy, Stephen Patrick,  made fifty years ago in a kindergarten classroom.  It would be my mother's turn to shed a tear; and I would do my best to comfort her.

In the distance, outside my bedroom window, I see a tree rising tall above the others.  The shimmering light paints its leaves with gold.  It reaches towards the clouds, towards heaven, and I picture my mother seeing those same leaves from her eternal perch on a slatted wooden bench in the garden of paradise.  I find myself smiling.  I will carry that image through my day, and into evening.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.