Friday, July 17, 2009

This Heat Could Kill You!




You've got to get out early here in summer if you want to tip around in the garden. Otherwise they'll never find the body, just a mysterious melted puddle of something over by the azaleas.

"Well, at least she died trying!" they'll say at the funeral, where there is no casket and nothing to view. Instead they'll have a picture of neatly trimmed azaleas and a grimacing eight by ten of the face that was yours. Your soul hovers over the mourners, tut-tutting "You'd think they could've found a better picture than that?" No glory, not even in death!





Who are these people anyway?

Neighbours hardly known. Everyone here has their own little acre, like islands in a stream, and no boats about. They've seen you puttering in the garden, peering at you from behind their hibiscus. They've seen you heading off to run your errands, seen you come back. They know who comes and who goes from your house, what time they arrive, how late they stay, but they keep to themselves. After all, they left the life and the people who matter to them up north. They're only here for the sunshine and the absence of snow. They honk and wave if you're out with your secateurs as they drive by on errands of their own. Using your shirt to mop the salty sweat that's dripping into your eyes and stinging, you straighten your aching back and wave at you know not whom.....And now it dawns on them---"You know, we saw her outside that day, over by the azaleas...."

Here's a little cluster of young adults, little people swirling about their ankles. Two lovely young ladies, so different, so opposite; three handsome young men, two bearded, one getting there, grave expression, glint in the eye, and Little Guy, now tallest of them all, looking on, thinking---"It took this to get them home?"





Could it be, is it possible, they were my babies once, in the land of Long Ago? They needed me. When I think about it, no one had ever needed me that much before, or since. I learned more from them than from anything else in life..... It must be so boring for the little ones, this somber talk, these gloomy faces. No wonder they are fidgety and swirling. Why doesn't someone play the ABC song to liven things up? This music they're playing in the background could kill you. If you weren't already dead.

You think if you can just manage to keep them alive until they're toilet trained, until they finish primary school, until they find new friends at the new place, until they finish junior high, until they find a summer job, until they finish high school, until they apply to college, until they get accepted---by a college, by their peers, by the world---you'll breathe easier......

And then they learn to drive. Oh my! You're so excited for them. They're really growing up! But as they vanish down the road you start to feel queasy. And later, around midnight, you begin to wonder what they slipped into your tea....Excited? Have you lost your mind? Excited? For them to be out in the dark, behind the wheel of a lethal weapon?? You thought you were sleep deprived when they were in the cradle.....and now they have drivers licenses and they're out in the Ford or the Honda and you're getting less sleep than ever.......They may be out of diapers but we're not out of the woods yet.




But maybe they'll meet a nice girl, or boy, and settle down, and at last you'll be able to relax. But what if the nice girl decides, one day, to toss aside your darling son of the grave expression, like last season's tattered jeans, and you don't know how to console him and he doesn't call and you fret and worry and lose more sleep? And what if your dear, stubborn daughter is so far away, you cannot vet her suitors and you worry she'll be too trusting, and make bad choices.....More sleep up in smoke. Shouldn't you be trusting them at this stage to run their own lives? They only look like grownups, but really they're just children, your precious children. And the world is too cruel a place ....where dreams can get splintered on the harsh rocks of reality.....

The littlest one, the "big" sister moves imperceptibly closer, protectively, to her siblings. From my perch, up near the chandelier, I see why. A tall, feeble, but still upright old man is shuffling their way. They brace themselves for the onslaught. He always thought I was too big for my britches. And now, and now, I've had the temerity to die before him! I never did know my place!

My soul flutters above them, agitated that he's there! He often told me that he didn't want to come to our wedding, because I'd insisted on being married over there. Little upstart that I was. So why is he at my funeral? Probably wants to make sure I'm gone!

I'm looking, I'm looking. Where is he? Ah there he is....over there, see? Looking at the eight by ten and the nicely trimmed azaleas. Dark hair thinning, with just a hint of gray, brooding, lost in thought. I'd sell my soul to the devil to read those thoughts, but I'm already booked into heaven......



It's been hot here! The OC has been out of town. We've had lots of rain, between bouts of scorching sunshine. Everything is growing and needs trimming, not least the weeds. The sweat is drip,drip,dripping, the bones ache,the mind wanders.....lost in Lala Land. The moral of the story---Go call your mother! She's probably out there under the trees, la la la-ing, dehydrating, getting spider webs in her hair and mumbling to herself. Be quick about it....... unless you want them to find a mysterious puddle over by the azaleas.





I need to get out more, obviously. And not just to trim the azaleas.

17 comments:

Warty Mammal said...

I was laughing until I got into the comments about kids, then I started nodding my head.

Oh, my. I need to remind my husband to go see his folks more often, while they're still around for me to complain about.

Meggie said...

A sad caution. One I don't really wish to think about, though I have visited this site before.....

Kacey said...

Hi Molly, I have been home in Ohio for a couple of months and busily making the rounds of various doctors. My asthma is under control finally, but my computer is clogged with too much Internet junk. I'm going to have the hard drive scrubbed this weekend and hope to be back in business soon. Then, I remembered my old computer (in the sewing room) actually works, but has no sound, so I have been using it only for my "Home Director". (It turns lights and radios off and on when I am in Florida) I have so many of your posts to read, but want to take my time and enjoy each one. I have been finishing several king size quilt tops, but am taking them to a long arm quilter. I wanted to leave one for each of my kids and grands and the size boggles my mind. Now, that I have enough... I think I am going to do some applique and fun stuff...just for me to enjoy. Like Meggie said, "This post is a sad caution", but now that I am getting near the end of life...I find my children have less and less time for me and I have been trying to sort out my feelings about life. I just feel sad, I think, and wonder if they will remember me the way I was or the way they feel in their independent middle age. Oh, heck, just bury me over under the azelea bush.

Micki said...

it's a great post.I really enjoyed it!
Micki

Isabelle said...

Oh Molly! I come back from holiday, log on to the computer to find out what you've been up to and find myself at your funeral! Hang in on there for a few more years for us, there's a girl!

I know what you mean about children, though. How can they think they're grown-up enough to do without us?

jkhenson said...

Molly! What a cautionary tale! You are always such a wonderful writer! My girls are growing too fast for my liking, as it is! And already showing signs of hardly needing me at all! It feels as if the time train is on its way downhill, chugging ever faster! Your photos are lovely!!

Stomper Girl said...

Yes, well, only early morning gardening jaunts for you then Molly, you have children AND grandchildren who still need you! Not to mention blog-fans!

persiflage said...

Yes, they should ring their mothers, certainly. And the husbands should recognise the true worth of their wives. And there certainly would be an irony should we females predecease them, and then watch from 'above' to see how they all manage.
Continuing to nourish azaleas is really quite an attractive notion.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Insightful post Molly - and makes me think probably more than I should. We never cease to worry about our children...never. And it's sometimes too easy to see how our worry merely frustrates them. Oh well, it's the way of mothers and children. blessings, marlene

thailandchani said...

Lots to think about! Wish I had any insight about kids.. but I can only imagine that letting go is probably better for both sides at some point.

It's been hot here, too. Good gosh, why does the earth get so hot sometimes.. and yet we humans seem to be here anyway? By all rights... LOL



~*

raining sheep said...

It's hot here too.....and I know what you mean about kids. I look at my sons all grown up, one gone to Australia for a year to party and work :) Apparently they found a man dead in his house for weeks without anyone checking in on him. It was the 'smell' that finally alerted someone that something was wrong. That is just too sad.

Pauline said...

ha! I'm sending this to my children ;)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

What a grand adventure that was! LOVED it!

Very well written, lady.

XO
Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Lily said...

Er, what lovely photos. Must be the heat's gone to your head. Wonderful day here.. had B's bday party outside in pouring rain and the games lady just utterly failed to show up. So we played tag and walked in the woods and bounced balloons around. Now having a large glass of wine.

rhubarbwhine said...

Goodness me. Those gorgeous pictures - I was expecting a flowery peppy post! You tricked me! :)

silfert said...

*snerfl* Where'e my phone...?

Great imagery; gonna have to share this with others.

Thimbleanna said...

Ah Molly, you always have so much to think about here. If I were one of your children reading this, I'd be dialing your number NOW. I often wonder if, as parents, we'll EVER be out of the woods -- I'm thinking not. And to think we thought it was so hard when they were newborns...pfffft!