My literary friends ask what plays I saw in Ashland. I sketch what to me is the perfect vacation: I enjoyed family time with laughs and good conversation, home cooked meals, walking and watching the countryside, reading books, sleeping in, a bout of rose gardening, mild weather, watching videos with ice cream and blueberries at intermission, and, generally, doing what I pleased.
There are moments from our visit with “youse guys,” memories that I can flip through like the slides that show all the angles in the house for sale which make the 1,100 sq. ft. 3 bdr. 2 bth. look palatial. Those memories, not the email updates I get from Trulia for having “liked” one property, deserve a bit of composing.
Some of those moments include: Phoebe’s patio antics, John on guitar with Peggy singing the words, roses and cows with Reilly rolling in the run-off, Jarod engineering my ballpoint pen, the menfolk with their heads under the hood of the stove, the cabbages and their applications, Dolores spotting the jackrabbit, Emily & Peg walking the evening garden, the rose intervention, Peggy catching on to Take Five, the bookstore cafe, text talk with my realtor, considering the contents of the Grange, banana peel tea…
I think this morning my favorite clip begins with driving with you, top down, back to the plant nursery to study Heavenly Bamboo and get top dressing for the pruned back roses. Enjoying the moving air therapy and the leisure to study grasses. When we looked at the difference between three varieties of the shrubs you wanted to recommend to Emily for screening her porch, I took a photo of the one you thought the best curtain. Then when I was emailing it to Em, with a brief caption, I asked you if you wanted to sign your name. You thought a second and said, “The Brown Sisters,” so I signed it that way. It felt really good and solid, like a pickup truck of satisfaction.
I stood there with you, typing, feeling the best of our traits in common: the love of horticulture and earthy living, caring for our mom and daughters, we two who have endured and come out clement for the most part, only slightly cynical because we’re smart, whose heritage sprung from farmers, orators, artists, and crazies loaning us the stamina and good sense to enjoy the simple joys of nurturing plant life — well, I can’t really say how much I felt in that one instant, although 116 words later I’m still trying. I felt I belonged. Accepted.
Those little moments when it all fits and makes sense are like the bale of compost that neatly slid into my Miata’s trunk, even though it looked like it wouldn’t. Wheel barrowing it up to the roses in ICU was simply icing on the cake, to use a trite phrase. It topped off a lovely little outing.