Thursday, September 9, 2010

Touch Them Only Gently

By happenstance, I took myself out to lunch today; the planned meeting at the diner waylaid, me without my cellphone, the timing of communications off. When I realized my friend wasn't coming, I wavered before deciding to order anyway, to sit and listen to snippets of conversations amplified in the specific way of diners that makes it almost impossible to know who is saying what.

" she had to, you know, totally disinfect the whole thing and I was, like, eeeewww! But, you know, what else..."

"I can't believe he said that! Can you? Can you believe he said that?"

Then this, from the booth next to mine: "You need to be careful with them because they're very fragile. So you have to touch them only gently, okay?"

It was the older of two brothers, a boy of maybe 6 or 7, at most.

Did I even know the word "fragile" when I was that age? It's a word I rarely use without casting some kind of judgment, usually harsh.

But fragile is exactly the right word for right now. So much time spent opening memory boxes, casting around in hope of finding what's hidden inside. So many of those I love suffering, managing, coping as best they can. So many blue sky September days resonating with what happened on that one particular blue sky September day.

The boys left with their mom and grandmother. I dipped my spoon into a bowl of split pea soup and thought about how good each sip tasted.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


A breeze verging on "chill" is blowing, making music of the leaves and branches. Blue sky, sunshine--is there anything more lovely than these days when summer and autumn align in near-perfect tension?

My neighbors next door are leveling off a strip of their back yard, preparing to put down grass seed; there is also a small boulder that was just one of many they extracted from that patch--while she moves soil around with a shovel, he whacks at the stone with a sledge hammer. The whole yard is being tamed to within an inch of its life.

The people across the street are having their usual Sunday brunch gathering--yes, every Sunday. So someone is cooking (or at least putting out food).

The cats have been busy shedding so I ought to be busy vacuuming. And Nature knows there's plenty to do in the garden right now (the next door neighbors have been looking pointedly in the direction of my unkempt flowers and shrubs and rose bushes--the other day there was a not-so-friendly, "Wow! That's really going wild!" aimed my way).

But I'm writing and later I'll be grading papers and at some point dinner will happen. The fruits of my labors will not be immediately obvious to anyone other than me.