Sunday, October 2, 2011

Queen Palm Sky

October has arrived, and with it the sharp blue skies we long for during the heartless, endless, breathless summer afternoons. With or without the filter of the tall queen palms, the blue is so deep that it stretches to infinity. And this is just our plain old front yard. Welcome back, October, with your reminder of all the promises of Fall. And welcome back, me: I have been long away from this beloved place of words, whispered and shouted, measured and thoughtless, balanced and unhinged. Welcome back, me, to the sharing of reflections and recipes and dialogue. I've been writing (lest you think I'd just been reading novels and eating bonbons these months. Oh, wait: come to think of it, I HAVE been reading novels and eating bonbons. But I've been writing, too, really). I've been writing over at GTMReserve and on a much smaller scale at BandBackTogether. They're a wide range of beautiful, for a range of reasons too wide to summarize here. Go forth and read.

And some things haven't changed. My dear old person continues to walk through pain. The small feet in the middle are mine; the big ones on the outside are his. Those little round dark spots on top of his are as browned by the sun as mine are all over, thanks to the small holes on top of the Crocs he wears most of the time for comfort. Neuropathy continues to make it more comfortable for him to walk with them on, rather than barefoot, even on the sculpted white sand on the beach. Chronic pain is a vague presence in most of our experiential vocabularies - mostly we take an aspirin or some ibuprophen and our headaches or backaches ease enough so we can think. Chronic pain that hovers above 5 or 6 on a scale of 1-10 isn't something most of us have to deal with, or even think about much, unless we suffer it ourselves or care about someone who does. For my own dear person, a walk on the beach sometimes shifts the balance of focus in his brain and allows pain to be shunted aside, at least for a little time. Walking with the power of Great Mother Ocean to one side and the prosaic but intriguing possibility that his metal detector may find a Spanish galleon on the other serves to switch some neurons or synapses off or on; we do not question too closely. We try to accept the gift as it is offered. My feet get brown, his open top-spots get brown; we laugh.

The long, comfortable weekend draws to a close with a touch of gold lighting the blue sky, peeking from behind this rooting angelwing begonia and its garden companion of little frogs. That glimmer of perfect light seated in the west touches the last of the streaky white clouds with pink and beckons the songbirds and fat brown marsh rabbits to their last meal of the evening.
Cardinals peep from every corner of the yard, reminding one another that the bird feeders are full. Barred owls settle themselves into the tall oak trees, obscured by great beards of Spanish moss, repeating their timeless call-and-response just above the canopy.

The kitchen waits quietly for me. I've promised comforting pan-fried cubed steak, mashed potatoes and milk gravy, corn and asparagus. It is at least as comforting to me to cook them as it is for my family to eat them. Did I mention pictures? Next time, my loves. Next time.