Saturday, April 23, 2011

Still Amateurs

I inherited a sort of nervousness from my mother. I don't like to travel, I don't like ethnic food, or new things. I hate moving. As a writer, I find it comfortable to stay home, to create worlds and problems inside my head all without leaving the house. After all, it's a dangerous and uncertain world out there.

I recently read, Manhood for Amateurs, by Michael Chabon. He described that, at one point, his life was what one would call "a dull business." But then he met his wife:

"Not very long afterward, in an ongoing act of surrender to the world beyond my window, with no possibility of knowing what joy or disaster might result, I married her. And . . . since our first date--this woman has dragged, nudged, coaxed, led, stirred, embroiled, mocked, seduced, finagled, or carried me into every last instance of delight or sorrow, every debacle, every success, every brilliant call, and every terrible mistake, that I have known or made. I'm grateful for that because if it were not for her, I would never go anywhere, never see anything, never meet anyone. It's too much bother. It's dangerous, hard work, or expensive. I lost my ticket. I kind of have a headache. They don't speak English there, it's too far away, they're closed for the day, they're full, they said we can't, it's too much bother with children along.
She will have none of that."

--excerpt, Manhood (Chabon 182-3)

I laughed. I have a person just like that in my life. I married him too. Together, life has been one grand adventure. He's drug me along every step of the way. I've been the one kicking and screaming.
And just when I thought that the we were finally settling into our lives, the world tilted again. Budget cuts, re-structuring, excuses, whatever they said, the reality is that my husband's school district cannot offer him full-time employment next year.
So the adventure begins anew. I'm dreading it. But I'm glad we're taking it together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Plowing

Grandpa could read the skies: a moon dog at dusk that meant rain was coming, or high clouds that meant he could cut hay. I watched him once touch newly plowed dirt to his tongue and then spit it out. When I asked him why he’d done that he told me that he could taste things in the dirt: minerals and moisture and richness for planting. I nodded and tasted the dirt myself when he wasn’t looking.

He was right.

I tasted iron, like when your mouth bleeds. I tasted what it smells like before it rains. The dirt tasted like earth and rain and sunshine and life. It tasted rich and gritty and ready. Grandpa nodded at me. He’d caught me after all. I spit the dirt out, smiled, and turned with him to the tractor. We both climbed aboard and circled the field again once, twice, turning the dry dirt over. Behind the plow the soil went from dry, crusty taupe to pillows of dark chocolate brown--ready for planting.

It was finally spring.