Sunday, October 02, 2005

Life and Death

I have just gotten out of the tub. Since I have no shower in this house (yet, I hope) , I have had to accustom myself to taking baths. It reminds me of the times I spent in the same type of claw foot tub when I was a young girl and teen-ager on Boynton St. I relished those times with the door locked securely against intruders when I filled the tub with water so hot I could only get into it by small increments. I submerged myself as much as I could and luxuriated there, sometimes for more than an hour, daydreaming, fantasizing, planning, reviewing the recent past. Tonight I gave myself the same deep hot water, but I found that my tolerance for lying there had diminished considerably since those old days. I had no daydreams, no fantasies, no plans. I thought of how much money all that hot water cost, of my smothered beef perhaps over-cooking downstairs. I wondered if the dogs were taking advantage of my relative immobility by getting into the trash or peeing somewhere. I noticed that the shims I had put under the bureau beside the tub had over-compensated for the tilt of the floor so that it now tilts in the opposite direction. I considered where I might put more towel racks, and what color to paint the walls. I felt restless, anxious to get up and do something. So much for revisiting past pleasures.

Carrie and Gabe were here this week-end, from late Friday to noon today. I was very glad to see them and though the time was brief, it was a nice visit. We spent a lot of time talking over cups of coffee, went out to eat last night. They went with me to the gallery to see the show and to Will and Lisa's antique store. We watched a movie together last night, and Gabe helped me with a few computer questions I had. I left them for about an hour yesterday afternoon to go to the burial of Lindy's little boy who died six months ago. Even though I hated to give up the time with the kids, I really wanted to be there so Lindy would know that I was one of the throngs of people who wanted to support her.

It was a beautiful sunny day for the memorial. We all gathered near the tiny grave, probably sixty or seventy people. Ever considerate, Lindy presented the crowd with a basket of kleenex packages from which we were encouraged to help ourselves. She expressed her own feelings about the loss of her son, and then asked others to tell memories or thoughts they might have. Many people did so, including some little children who were holding bouquets of flowers. The air was filled with the sound of soft crying. David, Maxine, and I stood together, transfixed by the scene. Maxine, who was very close to the little boy, wept openly. David and I were more reserved, with tears sliding more or less silently down our faces. Lindy's husband, Evan's father, spoke, too, and Ariel played Evan's favorite song on her violin. At the end a couple sang. We were then asked to take a white carnation from two large baskets. Lindy, amazing Lindy, summoned up her courage, looked at her husband and said, "Let's do it." She removed the cover from the grave and we all filed by, dropping our flowers into the hole.

When it was over, David brought me home and I went back to my life, walking into the house where my own wonderful child was waiting. I thought about how I used to say that all I wanted from my children was that they survive. Never was I more aware of the magnitude of what I asked of them and how lucky I was that they had done it.

Today I let the chickens outside. Annie followed Demeter out into the yard as if she didn't have a care in the world and started pecking at bugs.