The value of Coyote Poop

It’s so quiet right now, almost too quiet. The babies are both sleeping, it’s 1:58 Wednesday afternoon. We had a busy morning, school, sign language class, hike after school, the wind blew hard which made the babies extra tired! Then home, getting from the car to the nursery, changing diapers, checking for ticks, leaving the nursery not sure if the nap would happen, and here I am. It’s too quiet now. As I put on my pajamas, yes I put on my pajamas this early, my mind starts to race, I see the lunch bag that needs to be put away, clothes that need washing, I think about the floors that need cleaning after yesterday’s playdate, but I catch myself, I remind myself, “I do too much” There’s always things to do, that doesn’t mean I should do them. As we walk up the dirt trail I think about last night ‘s bedtime story, which wasn’t really a story, but an investigation, we were looking through one of Fiona’s favorite books, “Encyclopedia of Mammals” and spent a lot of time in the snake section. I especially emphasized the rattlesnake, “If you see a snake and hear a rattle, (I make the movement with my finger and make the rattle sound), walk away. Do not get near it, it bites” I wonder today if they remember what I told them last night. We walk by horse poop and coyote poop, both of which I point out to the babies. “Eat it?” Fiona asks. “No, it’s poop, but Billy might eat the horse poop or roll in it”. I don’t know why, but I’ll never forget the time my mom showed me what coyote poop looked like as we were hiking on Mount Palomar, I was older than Jack and Fiona at the time, probably around eleven, but I remember her showing me the rabbit fur in the poop. For some reason that’s one of my favorite moments. I think it influenced the way I’ve lived my life; the way I respond to the world. I can feel her presence near me on that trail, not so unlike the dirt trail me and my babies hike on today. I wonder if it was how she bent down to show me something, something that many people just walk over. We stopped and imagined the coyote being there before us.  Just as I did today. My mom never stopped noticing different animal droppings on our hikes and I guess I don’t either, and the way it’s going neither will Jack or Fiona.

This past weekend was date night! We went out and saw a movie, “The Lobster” a brilliant and weird and disturbing Film, then we went to eat at the new French Restaurant, Le Comptoir, we didn’t have reservations, so we sat at a community table, which is super fun! We ate too much and drank too much wine and finished it off with a glass of port. When we left I had to pee bad, we walked to our car to drop off some cheeses we purchased in the French store, I could feel my pants starting to get damp. I walked behind a bush in the parking lot and there was a woman on the other side of the fence.

 “I’m really sorry, I have to pee, do you mind?” I say.

“No, I just did myself “she replies.

I pull down my pants, squat, and pee. I can hear the lady talking to herself. She lost her last twenty dollars, she is looking through her stuff, she can’t find it. I hear her talking about being able to get back to her family. Alan is waiting for me up on the sidewalk. I grab my purse; I think I have a twenty but I only have fifteen. I tell Alan I’ll be right back and walk down to where the lady is. She’s wearing white shorts and has several bags. She’s still talking to herself and she sounds really upset, I almost think she’s starting to cry. I hand her the fifteen dollars, tell her that’s all I have, and she says “Thank-you, Thank-you so much” I give her a hug and she hugs back. She keeps telling me how thankful she is. I ask her if she’s O.K., “Are you sure you’ll be OK?”  I ask. “Yes” she says.  Alan and I walk up to the park, it’s a clear night and feels good to be out. I start thinking about the time I lost my last twenty dollars. Sitting on the rocks at the bay, peering into the water, I had a little beaded change purse in my hand. I think my grandma had given it to me. We were about to go score and that twenty was going to buy me a quarter. I was so upset. I kept looking for it, I thought I could find it in the water, but it had sunk deep under the rocks somewhere. I remember the feeling so well of being out there with no money, with a strange collection of things to carry around, some invisible, things no one can see but me.  Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to buy my drugs. Total devastation. Why is that memory imbedded in my mind?

               It’s getting close to the end of naptime and I feel like I need a nap now! They say it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, it’s hard to believe, but it sure would be nice.  It’s still so quiet, I wish I would have had time for my studio today. But now It’s time to clean and cook. I can hear Jack and Fiona starting to chatter. It’s time to go through the house emptying trash bins and dirty diapers. Time to vacuum and do dishes. It’s time.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist