Writing and wringing the moments sapless.

Violet heaven behind the house.

Between polishing, editing, and attacking the Defect/or poetry collection, I steal time for seeds and flowers. It’s hard to juggle writing, editing, the foreign country of writing/publishing networks (for which I lack a passport), gardens, homeschooling, social life, reading, travel, etc. etc. but there is not a single one of these moving pieces which I am willing to relinquish. Not even the etc.

Especially not the etc.

So the juggling is a clown show and I think of Norman Manea’s writer-as-clown analogies which, pen in one hand and shovel in the other, I am perhaps honing into a local variant.

The year’s first grapes-in-the-grass event….

A Sunday afternoon at Lake Nichol.

A windy day on the banks of Lake Nichol where the Gnome secured her first fire ant bites of the year. One lesson I’ve learned from my nature-hungry kids is that fire ant prevention rarely works. Not with a crew who insists on living and playing at ground level.

MY FIRE ANT REGIMEN…..because every Alabama mom needs one. Here’s what works for me.

  1. Iodine applications twice a day with cotton-ball. The iodine solution is the best germ-killer around and it also doubles as an excellent drying agent for the liquid pustules.
  2. Band-aids. Because both Gnome and I have been treated for staph infections which began with fire ant bites. Even if you wash your hands, the itch will be scratched. And if you go back outside and continue gardening (as we did), you need to cover those bites.
  3. Last resort for little ones who wake up itching and crying: half teaspoon of Benadryl.

Beautiful, irrepressible Prophet turns 7.

2015 is not a birthday party year- we alternate years for parties because it keeps them from overwhelming our lives and expectations- and Prophet welcomed her seventh birthday with love letters from family all over the country. Letters and gifts and the feeling of excitement when every package (including the flowers from Bunicu) are delivered for you.

On the morning of her birthday, the kids climbed into bed with me and we talked about how I howled at the moon on the night when she made her appearance in this world. Lunatic. Moon crazy. Crazy for the moon. Moonstruck. All this and more in less than three hours.

Because Prophet was curious, we watched a few videos of puppies giving birth. It was fascinating to compare them with the videos of human female- the same panting, restlessness, and motions as the contractions progressed. Gnome gobbled it up- and both girls wanted to watch again. So we did.

Since the Eldest explained the menstrual cycle to his sisters a few years ago, I’ve had to settle for second-place in the look-at-what-cool-things-our-bodies-do department. Nevertheless, there was something incredibly tender and sweet about bonding over the story of her birth and reliving with her. It surprised me when she said that was her favorite part of the day- that morning in bed giggling and laughing and talking and sharing.

Prophet craves intimacy, and I love that she can express this without guile or shame. Her presence- this perpetual convergence of head and heart- makes me a better person. Perhaps not always a nicer person…. But more courageous. And happy. Simply happy.

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