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Monday, August 07, 2006

Classic visit

One of my granddaughters, age seven, is here.

She never forgets a promise, and so I have to deliver on several.

We bought a small PFD (personal flotation device) and I took her kayaking on the reservoir, using Beloved's kayak, which is a real one, much larger than mine, so she could sit in my lap. The area we started out in is a knee-deep shallows of about ten acres in size, and we floated and paddled about among the water-weeds and stumps awhile.

"Let's go deeper."


"Uh-huh, where is it deeper?"

"Right here past the stumps. See, the water turns blue here and the light goes right on down out of sight."

"Ohhhh, let's go shallow!"


"Now deep!" "Shallow!" "Deep."

So we played along the edge of perceived danger until she felt like visiting the park, over by the boat basin.

Here there is a swimming area, and as we were both in our swimsuits, we joined the crowd on the beach. She immediately struck up a friendship with a Latina girl and they played together until I began to burn, turning round and round in the ninety degree sunshine. It's very eutrophic water, so I encouraged her to keep her head out of the water, and didn't do any swimming myself. I have no left eardrum and don't wish to get any of this water into my other ... places ... either, having a long history of infections, and a recently surgery, to contend with.

A young mother called her brood out of the water. They dug in their heels on the lake bottom.

I happened to be carrying my whistle, so I gave it two short blasts and hooked my thumb. They all sheepishly marched out toward the parking lot.

One of the other kids there asked, wonderingly, "Are you the lifeguard?"


In the spring Granddaughter had helped plant the garden, so we have spent a fair amount of time there. I'm hoping to teach her that the value of a garden lies in its timing -- that you don't pick all the tomatoes, but only the ones that offer their ripeness. We haven't quite closed that deal yet, so I'm ripening a lot of tomatoes in a brown bag.

She also, in the spring, had inspected the old playhouse, which had been under-utilized by her dad and his siblings, and placed an order for a finished interior. So I worked on it last month. On this visit, she pronounced it much improved and has moved iin, with me for a roommate. On the far end of the property, with no television or electric lights, I've discovered she settles in to sleep much earlier than down at the big house, which is more restful for me as well.

I lie awake a bit, watching the sky through the four windows, and the shadows cast by the tea light burning in the tin lamp, wondering at the ways that my life, and the lives of those around me, have taken.

It seems as if there is an interlude here; those who know me may think of me as having just undergone a big change, but, no, I'd say an expensive one, but in so many ways not really. It's as though the garden and the housekeeping were always the main things and remain so. But I feel something shifting that hasn't arrived yet. Not sure what.

Yesterday, Beloved and Granddaughter went off together and I settled into a long, shady afternoon of wood stacking. Did three cords. It has a rhythm that I find soothing, and I have my own way of going about it, so others usually leave me alone with it. I sit on a gardener's stool by the pile with the wheelbarrow beside me, gloves on, and gather the pieces I can reach, then shift the stool. At the woodshed I carry a pair of short pieces to the right and longer ones to the left. Eventually it fills, row on row. Extremely satisfactory activity.

For breaks I moved water. There's a little sprinkler at the end of a hose, with the water set to spray about a foot into the air, and I move from hill to hill in the corn patch when I need a stretch. Then I sit for a bit in the shade of the maple tree, watching the mountain across the valley.

I recommend mountain-watching. It gives one perspective.

risa b


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