Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This Day

I just cleaned out the poopy nests in the hen house and carted the straw to the garden and then picked a few lingering beans which means that I am sweating like a whore on dollar night and that my feet are itching with ant bites.

I swear, summer in North Florida just ain't really worth the effort.

Although, I have to say that there are three cardinals at the feeder right now, twittering away and the light is shining through the trees as the sun gets lower and it is beautiful. It would be a hell of a lot more beautiful if I had a pool, which I do not.

I had a pool at my last house and I did love that thing. Not that I really used it that much but it made me feel rich, rich, RICH! and it had a lovely oval shape that delighted my eye and the first thing I did when we moved in was to rip out the ugly ass boxwood hedges that were planted between the pool and the huge back porch and replace them with heirloom roses and giant African basil and lemon balm and oregano and all sorts of mints and herbs, and in the winter I planted my lettuce garden there and it was a glory.
I am not sure why I didn't use the pool very much. I suppose because to me a pool means "vacation" and one cannot be on vacation all the time. We used it more, at first, both the kids and Mr. Moon and I. Mr. Moon and I especially loved it at night time and once, when Lon and Lis were visiting, we even all went swimming nekkid in the summer darkness and I will never forget THAT, I tell you!
When Lis Williamson, Ms. Modesty-Who-Always-Wears-Petticoats took off all her clothes, I thought that perhaps the world would stop spinning but it did not and truthfully, it was one of the best evenings we ever had at that house which Lis wanted me to buy desperately although not for the pool. She loved the wallpaper in the dining room mostly.

Well, we did fine with that house when it came time to sell it. We sold it right at the peak of the boom and the right people came along who had always wanted it and they bought it after walking through it once. Bless their hearts. It is a fine brick house and has some nice acres and that pool. I wonder what they've done with my cottage garden. Do the roses still bloom?

It was just never me, that house, and I never slept very well in it. The room we had upstairs faced the west and the afternoon sun beat down on it and in it and the room seemed to hold the heat and somehow the light, too. I changed the arrangement of the furniture every other month until there were no new ways to do it and still, the Feng Shui sucked. But Lord, that pool was nice and so was the bathroom we redid, all in a foamy green with a two-headed shower and I had a closet you could sleep in.
Well, pools and showers and closets ain't everything.

It was a beautiful house. I admit it. There were no trees right around the house and so the sky was like a giant bowl above us which was nice but the lack of shade was horrendous in this climate, although our garden thrived with all that sun, as did the roses, the herbs. I planted some trees there. Oh, you know I did. Live oak, Little Gem Magnolias, a Confederate Rose that's as tall as the house now. Maybe if we had stayed I would have eventually made it mine. Maybe I would have gotten chickens, maybe I would have learned to love it. But as it is, it did what it was supposed to do- give us good shelter for five years and then some money. I love the house for that.

I don't even know why I'm writing about that house tonight. I have a bit of the sads today and I don't understand that. It's been an excellent day in that Jessie called with great news- she got a job at a hospital nearby Asheville in the Mother-Baby unit which is just what she wanted. It's a small hospital, a rural one, and I think she'll learn a lot there. She is thrilled, and so is Vergil. He is taking her out tonight to celebrate. And they're both coming down this weekend! She misses us so much. She went to yoga this morning and she told me that during Savasana, she was so filled with images of hugging and kissing her family that she could hardly stand it and so, they are coming to visit.

I don't really think I have the sads. I think my chemicals are just a bit fucked up. I might even have a sinus infection, or something going on with a tooth, although really, I think it's more likely to be the sinuses. That little headache comes and goes and I have a bit of that burny-drainage and the left side of my face just feels wrong. My eyes are a bit achy. And there's the no energy thing, the desire to sleep. Perhaps I am thinking of that house with the pool because there is part of me which wishes I could submerge myself in that pool, equalizing the pressure inside with that of the outside, to open my eyes to the aquamarine of the water around me, to simply be in water. Not water that you have to fight the waves in or water that you have to keep your balance in, not cold, cold water, just regular water as still as the water in a bowl, even if it does smell of chlorine. I do not mind the smell of chlorine. I believe in bleach.

I used to lie in that pool on my back and float and look up at the stars above me in the inky sky and it was a good thing. I always felt so clean when I got out, even after a dog committed suicide in that pool. I swear it did. It was an old, blind dog and it fell in and the poor old thing drowned. To this day I believe she did that on purpose. She belonged to a then-friend of mine and I felt awful, but still, I will never forget how funny she looked at the bottom of the pool, as if she were taking an underwater stroll, upright and with her feet down. Oh, I am horrible. Mr. Moon came home and buried the dog in the August heat underneath an oak on the edge of the property. My relationship with the dog owner was never the same.

Things happen.

Well. Memories. And now I have no pool but I have the biggest live oaks I've ever seen and pecan trees and a Magnolia Granda Flora and an Ashe Magnolia which I planted and camellias and ferns and azaleas and chickens and a bedroom I can sleep well in. It is tiny compared to that last room and my closet is a quarter of the size but who cares? Not me. This house is made of wood and perhaps that is why I love it. The spirits of the trees it was built of speak to me, surround me, let me walk on their still-strong-after-one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old bones.

I can't even imagine that other house being a grandmother house while this one is the perfect grandmother house. Yesterday, Lily and Jason got here while Owen was still sleeping and when he woke up I said, "Do you want to see your mama?"
"No!" he said.
"But she's here," I said.
And he scrambled out of that bed and ran out of the bedroom so fast it made my head spin. Of course he always wants to see his mama, it's just that he doesn't want to leave this house. His other grandmother has a pool and he can swim there. But here he can hide in the closet. Here he can feed the chickens. Here he can see the goats and the donkey and the turkey and the frogs and the lizards and here he will learn to make forts in the bamboo. Here he sleeps well and happily.

This is a house to come home to, which Jessie will do this weekend. This is a house to ramble around in. A house to play music in and dance in and cook good things which have come from the garden and the woods and the river and the ocean and the hen house in.

This is a house to conceive babies in, to be born in, to die in.

This ain't no vacation house. This is a home.

But I wouldn't mind if there was a pool. I think maybe I'd insist that it be painted black so that it would look like a pond and I'd have ferns all around it. Moot point. Ain't gonna happen.
And that's all right.

The stars shine here as brightly as they did at that other house. I just have to peek through the trees to see them. Tree-framed stars are all right with me.

Someday perhaps Mr. Moon and I will live down in Apalachicola and that will be wonderful too. Right on the bay so we'll have stars galore and the estuary where the river meets the Gulf and a little town where we can walk to restaurants and the library and the bookstore and the grocery store. I think grandchildren will love that. Mr. Moon will teach them to fish and catch crabs and I will teach them how to cook them. On these days when I have the sads, it's hard to believe that dreams can come true but then I look around and see that oh yes, they most certainly do.
My happiest moments as a child were spent in the woods and on a dock over a river. On these black dog days, I think of that and I think of all the beautiful places I've lived and may live yet and although there is that crazy-person part of me which can't really take it in, there is the sane-person part of me which knows it's all true.

And that right now, this is truly where I belong and I am home. Sweating and itching as I may be, I am home. And this weekend, my baby is coming home to this place, right here, and it will be so fine when we all gather together as we are able, as we, this family, is wont to do.

And I know it will all be okay and it will all be sweet as the honey the bees make from the flowers I have planted, I have tended. I wonder where those bees live. I think maybe in a tree in the deep swamp behind my house where the frogs are singing their night song right now.

I am surrounded by golden riches, known and unknown, seen and unseen. And once again, I have written my way into knowing that. Another sweetness, that one. One I never imagined. Yet, still- here and true.

Thank-you, if you are here reading this. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me.

Sweet dreams, wherever you are, whether you have to peak through trees or buildings to see the stars, whether your bedroom is fine and fancy or plain and simple. Just that- sweet dreams.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I love this post, well except for the dog drowning. Your memories are so rich, your life. You have more life in one memory than I have in 10 years. I love your pool imagery and just how you talk about the different houses. Petticoat Lis skinny dipping is pretty cool too. I think you should have a pool with ferns around it, and a black bottom, why not?
    Mr Moon can make it happen, as soon as he finishes that other thing, the little koi pond!
    Thanks for writing and remembering and sharing.
    Hope you feel better.
    My face is all swollen today from allergies I guess, my eyes especially and I just want to hide away with cold compresses.

  2. I think back at times and also feel sad. I don't know that we will live anywhere else. This is home. This house and the boat. There aren't as many years left as I have already lived. Options are lessening as we get older. But I am okay with that. I just wish somedays to slow it all down.

  3. This home we have has a pool that I so rarely use. We were excited to buy a home that had a pool when the girls all still lived at home. They did enjoy it but now Tim seems to be the one who uses it the most after a hot day on the job in the summer.

    Home...I miss our old home. I have tried hard to fall in love with this home but in all honesty it has been a money pit. Someday we will make money off the sale but that is a ways off more because of the dumb economy. For now we bleed...

    Memories of how we feel. The sads. Mary while you may feel the sads your writing always gives me thoughts to think upon.

  4. I love the way you feel about where you live, your sense of peace and appreciation and place.

  5. And I kind of believe in bleach, too, even though Marlon Brando thought it was the devil.

  6. Yay for Jessie's new gig! And yay for Jessie visiting!

    Who is the suicidal dog owner?? I simply must know...! I have no memory of this.

    xoxo Word v = Sense

  7. I got lost in the memories of the house and forgot to say congrats to Jessie, Thanks Petit fleur!

  8. The way you have described your house has always made it seem like a home to me. The last house, as nice as it may have been, just doesn't seem to fit you.

    I really want to move back into the hills and leave this mosquito-ridden swamp. Still dreaming until we can ever sell our house. I must have patience and everything will happen in time.

    Congrats to Miss Jessie.

  9. Hello, I am here :)

    Thanks for sharing tales of your home, as I search for mine.

  10. What a lovely dissertation on home! I loved going on this evening ramble with you.

    Congratulations to Jessie on the new job and to you on having your baby come home for the weekend. Sweet!
    x0 N2

  11. Ah, you wordsmith. Sweet dreams to you too. As you sleep in your bed (it is 2:40 in the morning there) I am here in western Canada at 11:40 being blessed by you while you sleep under the same stars. Thank you. Namaste.

  12. Yes, you've written your way here and I've followed you right close behind. What a wonderful, moving, sad and funny post all at once - like you.

    Your descriptions of the pool and your desire right now for one seemed so familiar to me. I often find myself wishing that I could be in a blue pool, right this very instant, swimming long slow laps, underwater. The urge is intense and it's rarely satisfied -- I wonder what that is.

  13. houses have souls. it sounds as if you have found the right house to shelter yours. and the right trees.

  14. I want a pool!

    Did you see the natural ones on youtube I posted a while back? Fantastic!

  15. i love you.
    i love the way you take us along like a soft curve of a moon on a dark night. the way you thread our hearts firmly to yours and come round, right as rain.


  16. Mary Moon, there must be something in the air - or the planets are aligned or misaligned or whatever - because I have had the sads, too, and woke up this morning with the black dog panting at the foot of my bed and I could barely bring myself to get up out of my nest of pillows and get moving. And yet here I am at work reading this beautiful, beautiful blog post and tears are running down my face and I must go into the ladies room and compose myself before the morning editors meeting. Oh I do love you so! And if you can wring such poetry out of your black dog days, well, then I can just soldier on myself and try to remember that this, too, shall pass.

    Your pal,

    PS. A pool would be such bliss - to float the sads away under the stars! I love night-swimming.....

  17. Beautiful post Mommy.

    What's funny is that Vergil asked me last night what I'm looking forward to the most about going to Tally, and I said, just being in our home. Of course that home wouldn't be the same if you and Daddy weren't in it, so that's why I am most excited. Also, I want to hug and kiss my family like you said.

    Thanks everybody for the congratulations on the new job. I can't tell you how excited I am about it.

  18. Oh Mary, this is beautiful beyond words. You have such a gift and you use it so well.

    I'm so happy dreams have come true for you. You deserve it. More come true all the time, don't they? Soon you will have another grandchild to have and to hold.

    YAY, Jessie, the job sounds perfect! They are so lucky to get that amazing soul. Have a wonderful weekend with your girl and her love.

  19. Yay, Jessie Moonflower! In my little funk, I forgot to say congratulations, sugar. I know you're gonna enjoy your visit home - and your family will love seeing you and your fella! You are also muchly missed in town at Liz 'n' Kati's Crone Compound (that is not a hint - I know your time will be limited and I don't want you to behold the shameful wreckage of my garden anyway). Love you, girl!

  20. Bethany- Mr. Moon says an unequivocal "NO!" to the pool idea. Darn. Or as Owen would say, "Dang!" I hope your allergies are better. I feel MUCH better today.

    Syd- I think you caught exactly what I was saying. You are wise like that.

    Ellen- Isn't it funny how pools are such delightful fantasies and such mundane realities? Thank you for your very kind words.

    A- No matter what my state of mind, I do love and adore where I live. What? Marlon Brando thought bleach was the devil? Well, maybe it is. He sure can get your whites white though.

    Ms. Fleur- I do not think you know this person. She was a St. Aug friend.

    Mel's Way- I know so many people hoping and praying for the housing bust to be over with. I feel very fortunate in that our timing was right.

    SJ- Dreams can and do come true, my love. Be patient. You are doing good and important work where you are now.

    N2- Thank you, thank you, sweet woman!

    Birdie- What a nice thought! Yes, I was deeply asleep at that point.

    Elizabeth- Could it come from when some of our ancestors lived underwater? I do not know but it is a very strong and mystic urge. Perhaps we are simply mermaids...

    Angella- Big amen to that one!

    Jo- Yes! Gorgeous!

    rebecca- I adore you. Thank-you.

    Kati- My spirits have lifted today and I feel almost fine. I hope the same happens to you, dear one. When Jessie and Vergil are here, perhaps you and Lizzie Love can come out and celebrate with us. There will be plenty of hugs and kisses to go 'round. Now tell that Black Dog to shoo, shoo, shoo!

    HoneyLuna- This house has been made more of a home by all the lingering notes of music you have played in it. Y'all bring your instruments! I can't wait! Love to you both!

    Lulumarie- Oh. I think we will have a wonderful time! Thank-you. Much love to you.

  21. You just made my heart sing.

  22. Thank you for writing this post. It is truly beautiful.

    The dog suicide story rocked. It sounds like something John Irving would have invented. COOL.


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