Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earworms

At the bottom of the pond lay frogs' eggs, a bluish cloud of them attached to a submerged stick. In time, perhaps you'll have a chorus of frogs croaking to add to the hooting of the owl that kept you up last night. They'll be friends for the goldfish, who is growing more mammoth by the hour. Fish is fish, you know, and a fish always needs a friend.

It's supposed to be quiet here in the forest. While it's true your thoughts aren't interrupted by sound of siren or horn, it's certainly not quiet. The rat-a-tat of the woodpecker, the hooting of the barred owl, the wind in the trees, the call of the glass bird--they all add up to make the sound of the sea, waves rolling and crashing into the window of your office until you think you'll go mad in this box full of books and staplers and paperclips, computer and keyboard.

You think you can even hear the sun as it shines down.

Maybe the honey sun will flow into your ears, into deep-down places until it comes out through your fingertips and forms itself into words.

One can hope.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Catching Seven

The youngest gingerbread boy is on a quest. A zip-line quest for his Lego mini-figures. He ties a black cord to a bamboo basket and places it atop a very high bookcase on one side of his bedroom. After much deliberation, he stretches the cord to the opposite side of the room and ties it to a castle. The Lego mini-figure crashes. Dissatisfied, he ties the cord to his bedpost. Crashes again. He asks for help.

You take the cord, slide it through a hole in the lower shelf of another bookcase, and tie it off. He slings the Lego mini-figure down it via a wheel tinker-toy, and it glides onto the box designated as the landing zone. Sweet success.

Days pass, and each time you walk into the room with clean clothes or homework sheets, or even with the innocent intention of pulling down the window shades, the nearly invisible cord garrotes you. While you may be marginally taller than Napoleon, you can’t escape the black cord of death. But you bite your tongue because the gingerbread boy is seven, and he needs to be seven. Seven-year-olds do things with cords and Lego mini-figures, with marbles and blocks, pennies and feathers. You leave the cord up longer than you really want to.

This is the last time you’ll see seven, at least in your household. It’s a bittersweet thought. The time is coming when he won’t want you to wave as the school bus rolls down the street. He won’t welcome a hug and a kiss. He won’t ask to snuggle. So you’re permissive with the black cord of death stretched across the room; you learn to duck. Celebrate seven while you can, you think. Seven won’t last.

Few things in life do last. In your grandmother’s kitchen hung a plaque that said, “Kissin’ don’t last. Cookin’ do.” While you could dispute that, you understand the sentiment. One thing you know that lasts? Words. When sound waves peter out, and photos fade, words keep calm and carry on. Maybe that’s why you write.

Seven won’t last, but maybe you can catch it with words.

Maybe you just did.

*Cross-posted at Quirk and Quill