"Ok, I have a question for you," Jane and I amble hand in hand. "I really want to know what you think, but it's kind of hard," I offer, "so don't feel like you have to answer right away." Our feet mark time on the street's blacktop.
"Ok," she says. We swing our arms, fingers entwined. We sip cool drinks in plastic cups and stroll home from the pool. Still wet in our swimsuits, the sun warms our skin.
"What have you been learning about God? What has he been teaching you lately?"
"Hmm. That is a hard question." Droplets of water form at the ends of our hair, drip down our backs.
"You don't have to answer right away."
A few strides, "Doing what you mean," she says, "not just what you say." Her drink wobbles sideways as we scuff in gravel at road's edge.
"Sometimes," she says, "I just want to do what you say and not what you mean 'cause then I think it is closer to my way." Her sentence unfurls, rests between us. "And I think I can't get in trouble 'cause I did what you said." We striddle under a huge pine. "But, that's not right."
Pine needles soft under foot, "Wow." We meander on, "That's a good one."
We glide hand in hand. I marvel at how we traipse to the pool, play chicken-airpane-rocket, motor-boat, share the tiny locker room shower, our long hot shower, how we wander home, drip-dry hand in hand, pace out a whole afternoon. We share time. Tentative and quiet, but in the end long streamers of sentences unroll between us. They flex and weave, interweave and entwine. Invisible sinew, tendons, tissue come forth, we weave corpuscles of love, gossamer fibers of affection. They interlace: a silken net to hem us in.
1022. Sunlight on our black couch.
1023. Drawing lessons. Six of us around Mom's square dining table and how we laugh and try to sketch eggs.
1024. How Mom gives us our own sketch books and new pencils and tells us the secrets of drawing.
1025. Coconut bread.
1126. Sidewalk art.
1027. Cousin Erin, another chair around the table on Tuesday at Mom's and how it feels like she's always been there.
1028. Auntie Libby who braves the blusterous day to teach 5 cousins to swim. And how they shiver and shake and take turns with Libby. And how we nearly faint at how much they learn in just two days.
1029. Honey yogurt, plain avocado.
1030. Pork roast cooked to falling apart perfection.
1031. Barbecue sauce.
1032. Broccoli slaw, bleu cheese.
1033. A bucket of ice cream eaten right out of the carton there on the car console, just Jack and me: a date.
1034. 5 peeping chicks.
1035. Fresh eggs -- in November?
1036. Dinner with friends and how we have so many children between us that we need two full tables. And how they welcome us into their stride of life and fill and fill and fill us with love (and Hawaiian chicken sandwiches). How the children talk and talk of that late night of fun.
1037. Grappling tomato plants finally tall enough for staking.
1038. Netting for the strawberries and how the children crawl under it and pick berries with even the slightest blush of red. And how they pile them on oatmeal, how they save them for friends.
1039. Black bread made with potatoes and molasses, coffee and unsweetened chocolate.
1040. Lunch with a friend and how our children squirrel around a patio table to eat PBJ while she serves me field greens with feta and bacon and olive oil dressing inside. The may years of our friendship.
1041. Rosie up crying eight or ten times last night and how I drag my leadened body to her and pat her leg and shush and kiss and tuck blankie in tight.
1042. How us kids gather at the farm anytime someone whispers, fried chicken, and how this time it's a picnic outside and the children run so long and happy through the fields that Jack's eye's swell huge with allergies and we have to bring him down with Loratadine and a shower. How he comes home in one of Gramma's t-shirts and how still we sigh any time we think about that chicken.
1043. Visiting with the sis-in-law I see the least.
1044. How Craig and I stack towers of things to pass on to other people and how each thing breaks us free of our stuff.
1045. A confrontation at the pool and how all those years of my dad modeling strong, graceful confrontation circle back in a flash and everything turns out to be no problem.
1046. Getting to have Cerissa there with me and how she is one determined gal, poised and direct. One of those moments where you get a clear picture of who these people are that are on your team and are so glad.
1047. July -- a little hole in the year where I actually rest and relax and let the days pass in one long slur.
1048. Independence Day 1776.
1049. Warm wind through open windows and doors.
1050. How Lucy traces my face at night before bed.
1051. How Craig is absolutely immovable on matters of decision. And how all this stubbornness turns out to be the cornerstone on which we build everything. Immovable, what a virtue.