Dull roots with spring rain
|Something so hopeful about newly-sharpened colored pencils.|
Petra was cheerful this morning, taking off her jacket as she stepped into the chilly air. "I don't mind the wind," she said, handing (of course) her jacket to me. Go and be free, kids. But hold your own jackets. Throw away your own wrappers. Find a place to put down your own empty cup.
I, on the other hand, was disproportionately annoyed by the cold morning, the chilly gusts of wind, the slate gray sky. And, truth be told I was already ready to be annoyed. I stepped into the NYC morning in the wrong "place" mentally. No calm music this morning. Just didn't bother to put it on. Even though I know it helps my mood, the kids' moods, everything. Even though putting it on consists of pressing a button. No free-writing either. Meanwhile through Writer's Boot Camp I'm pushing others to make sure they get to that free-writing first thing every morning! No excuses!
Excuses, excuses. Here are some:
- Unexpected company last night stayed until after the time the kids usually go to bed.
- The "throw everything into a pan and cook it with rice" plan Alex had—meant to take 1/2 hour—took over 2 and a half and the rice still wasn't fully cooked at the end so meanwhile he made a whole second dinner on top of it and served it and then served the original dinner and there was a massive, incredibly frustrating mess and an enormous pile of still-undercooked but otherwise horribly soggy and mashy and over-cooked (spinach/corn/beans) left late last night and all the plates and everything the kids said they wanted but didn't eat.
- A planned escape into my new writing spot in the bedroom last night (inspired by Sarah's post about her writing space on One Blue Sail) derailed by the kids' insistence (no, by our giving in to their insistence) that they sleep in our room. Ditto for planned escape this morning before they woke up.
Wally said he can't be cheery because of the cherry trees. Then he smiled, pleased with the poetic effect. Oh, and one of his closest friends from school, his "turn and talk" partner, the one who has been at every table every year, spent almost every recess with him, is moving. Yesterday was her last day at the school. He was counting down all day, "This is her last science class. This is her last time eating lunch with us." Torturing himself. She'd been sad earlier in the week and last but wasn't crying on the last day. Had seemed to disconnect or accept or just maybe braced herself for getting through it. He couldn't understand that way of coping. He processes everything dramatically and openly and literally and non-symbolically and without need of transference or projection. (Apples. Trees. Near each other.)
Wally and the friend are the two last names called for everything in class (alphabetical by first name), always #29 and #30.
"So now it will just be 29 by itself!" he says, trying to wrap his mind around how that could be, just dangling out there.
She is moving to Beijing, so there is no consolation in seeing her again any time soon, if ever (though maybe in Alaska, her mom joked good-naturally yesterday, as we both took the same cruise a day apart last summer). In fact they are moving back to Beijing, making the goodbye on this end feel that much more final.
Meanwhile my childhood best friend Heather (I've mentioned her a bunch of times on this blog in the past, for example here, and she used to comment as Roo and Moo) is coming tonight with her two sons.
The reason they finally "got it together to come" she reminded me by email today is that they coordinated the long train ride with homeschool best friends who are moving to Iowa.
So there are these close friends of our kids moving away. And we are getting together because of one of these moves, having lived now over two decades apart.
I have been thinking lately about the poetry game Heather and I would play in my backyard. We would pick a subject and write poetry on the spot and then read it out loud to each other. And then we'd give each other grades. And she'd always grade me higher than I'd grade her. On every single one. And I'd exclaim, "You keep giving me such high grades!" And she'd say (and I am telling you this because it says so much more about her generous spirit than it says about me) "I can't help it. You're so good."
I wasn't—not at poetry. But I loved the game. Loved to slow down and try to immerse myself in every moment, stay awake.
There are a few things I can do each morning—put on calm music, freewrite, yoga stretches if I'm really going all out—that can set such a positive tone for the day. Skip those, and it takes me hours to get back on course.
This morning after dropping off Wally first, for a minute I thought Petra was right that it was a beautiful day. The sun was making its way out as we rounded the corner to her daycare. The air felt gentler, everything lighter, daffodils defiant after the last snow had first left them looked rather ravaged.
But the sun quickly retreated. The gray returned. Here to stay. A gray April day. Friends moving away. T.S. Eliot told you this about April. And yet here are the lilacs out of the dead land.