Tuesday, April 25, 2006

All Things Go 

A late frost tonight, perhaps the year's last, after a damp day. Not enough to make the new grass crunch, enough to bring a wet sparkle to the garden rocks.

Willow wakes moaning in the night, cannot tell us where it hurts. Her ears have not yet recovered from the two-leg flight home on Sunday; she's been in off-and-on pain and half-deaf mornings and evenings since then, but it might be just a bad dream. I go upstairs to help, she pushes me away for mama.

Mom was up today after a trip to New York and New Jersey side of the family. My brother and his fiancee, unsure of their future, trying to decide which coast would best support their art without forcing them to earn life-money with the time they need to create. Her cousins, once as close as siblings, now proud grandparents themselves, each struggling to survive in their own way. Her aunt, in the last stages of Alzheimers, cawing at her like a crow, refusing to take her eyes from her.

As the Florida warmth leeches out of mind and body I think more and more about her great grandfather. Dad's father seemed more lucid than the last time we saw him, though he didn't change his clothes the whole time we were down there. He talks about the present more; has rebuilt himself, mostly, moved on from the loss of his wife, my grandmother.

The connection he had with Cassia brought him to life somehow, more than any I've seen in him, even with Willow before her. When I left the room he spoke to Darcie of his first child, born ill, the daughter he lost long before she passed away; when Willow pushed at her smaller sister he turned protective, though he spoke with understanding of the rivalry there.

Maybe it's a blessing of sorts, that he's finally there for himself, unhindered by future or companion, able to live in the moment, love with whole heart a small girl just barely able to speak his name, who smiles up at him with big blue eyes and just a hint of his late wife's red hair, tries to give him the stuffed bear he gave her moments before.

My brain sifts through it all, trying to make sense of the unanswered moments before they fade or crystallize. I think about my family, slowly falling to pieces, growing up, growing old, spreading to the corners of this country. I think about the small ones playing musical beds upstairs as they cry and wake, rock and fall back to sleep again, enacting in microcosm the up and down curve of adult life, and of life itself.

This afternoon while Mom tried to take our picture Willow and I danced slow in the playroom, holding each other tight tight tight. I hid the iPod on a shelf behind their chair while they shared a story and song, and, thinking about the 8 track recordings my mother's father once made of he and I, there in their New York high rise, recorded their conversation for the ages.

Once I knew where those tapes were, and cherished them. But then, once I had Cassia's first cry, and then the old iPod was stolen.

The world shines in funny ways. Sometimes its just mica in the rocks, a soft rock so easy to peel away. Sometimes its quartz, hard and unforgiving, eternal and sharp-edged, permanent as teeth. Tonight it's ice. By morning it will have melted away.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:38 PM |

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