Archive | August, 2012

Fall Guy

Fall, the hinge season: time of transition, from warm to chilly, from preferred (by many) to tolerated (by most).  Longer, pleasant days give way to shorter, often less pleasant ones. So-called because leaves fall from trees, which image–leaf separating from tree, doing so in obedience to the inexorable pull, life’s need to purge and eliminate so as to make space for the new–will always be associated with  my mother’s passing. She will have died 19 years ago tomorrow, and the doctor in the oncology ward where she lay in a coma used this image to try to explain to my father, my sister, and me, with all the gentleness he could muster, that we needed to let her die.  She was a leaf at the end of its life cycle, and we needed to let her detatch and fall.

For a long time now I’ve thought that if life were a film screenplay in development, even the most sentimental and wide-eyed of readers would toss it back with “You gotta be kidding me!” or “Patently unbelievable; scale back!” in its margins.  But of course art tries its darndest to imitate the incredulity of life, and not the other way around.

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First day of school

firstday
Playground squeeze, first day of school, Berkeley, CA.

He is ready.

He’s been ready for who knows how long, whether he knew it before today or not. He was ready today, from the moment he awoke, to the moment he tied his shoes on the stairs, to the moment he sat with his sister and two cousins out in front of our shared yard for the annual all-cousin first day of school portrait, to his holding hands and skipping up the street to the schoolyard with his sister, through the bumpy patch of the mosh pit crush of parents, caregivers, and schoolkids in the yard, to the transitional minutes in the classroom during which we sat and read with him, all the way up to the moment the teacher asked parents and caregivers to leave the classroom, and we did.  Some more reluctantly than others.

“Bye, Baba,” he mouthed, waving as he sat cross-legged on the colored-grid rug. And that was that.

 

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Easy come, easy go

welcomenowleaving
Kyburz, CA, in nearly its entirety.

Thus endeth our Sierra Nevada end-of-summer idyll. With neither bang nor whimper, but instead some whimsy. My kids love this sign, which I like to take as a sign that there’ll be much mirth (and healthy non-attachment) in their future.  A worthy goal, whatever the age.

 

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Summer idyll 5: trial/error

tryptich1

fallenleaftryptich2

tryptich3
Testing the waters, Fallen Leaf Lake, CA.

His Mama will strip to her skivvies and dive into any body of water she sees, with reckless disregard for the proximity of its temperature to that of a proper bath. Even if the body of water is at 6,377 feet above sea level and fed by snowmelt. Then again, she hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and spent the better part of most of her summers in one.

His sister is clearly taking after his mother.

He, on the other hand, takes after his Baba in this regard, and never saw a body of water he couldn’t find a way to resist. Including this one.

 

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Summer idyll 4: equine-imity

equinedreamer
Post-ride daydream, Camp Richardson Corral, El Dorado National Forest, CA.

Those of you who were or are horse-crazy girls will know what was on our daughter’s mind above, immediately following an hour-long saunter under the pines. Her horse: a sweet, relatively short (13-14 hands?) white gelding named Murdock.

This being California, not only were various straight African American and Latino families also milling around the corral, pre- and post-ride, but a (white) lesbian family was on hand to saddle up a kid or two of their own. I did the full range of smiling eye contact with head-nod hello, and bumped up to conspicuous loitering in their line of vision as a complete foursome after mama and daughter returned, dusty and happy, from the trail.

As I steered us out of the parking lot, the more baba-esque of the lesbian parents was leaning against their mini-van, chatting on her cell phone (this being America).  Ready this time for yet another of my eager eye contactey “Hey! Hi! Look, we’re like you!” things, she humored me with a smile and that debonair tip-of-the-index-and-middle-finger-to-the-temple salute thingie, typical of the suave movie actors of the ’30s and ’40s.

“Baba, why are you waving to her?” asked the boy child from the back seat.

“That was another baba, Little Bit, and we just like seeing each other.”

“Hail, fellow,” I thought to myself; “well met.”

 

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