I can hear again. Airplanes in the cool dark November sky, humming birds starting to quiet down, there chirps become quiet and less frequent. Kids play with a basketball at the park. Motorcycles, A hum an echo of people talking, people laughing. I hear water running, my body aching, I munched it hard today at the ice skating rink. It was the kids first time skating, and Alans too. I used to skate all the time when I was a kid. I still Roller Blade. Jack wouldn’t try to Skate on the ice, Fiona was brave and came out. I skated, and it went well for a while. When everyone was done skating and were changing back into their shoes. I said “I’m gonna go one more time”. I went out and decided to skate faster since I didn’t need to keep an eye on Fiona. I started off, gliding one foot to the next. A guy in front of me said, “Whoa, that was a close one” when he almost fell. I hit some narley ice and started to fumble. Then BAM, I fell, left palm, right palm, right elbow skinned red, left front knee, skid both knees. “Are you OK?” someone asks. I look around hoping my kids didn’t see me munch it. I said, “I’m fine and laughed it off”. It hurt BAD. Skinned by the ice ain’t no joke. It burnt, and hurt, and was numb all at the same time. When I came home I took a shower and got dressed for dinner. If I would have put on my pajamas I would be in bed for the night right now.
Armageddon. I’m not feeling very comfortable with the thick, light grey, low lying, cool, eerie smoke-filled sky outside. Not one bit at all. It’s almost like in a movie, when everything gets still and then a catastrophic event happens. No one’s safe anymore. The hills look like they could ignite, like they are living creatures. I don’t hear anything right now except the kettle and the circulation fan. A few birds fly by and the trees start to rustle. I pour boiling water over coffee grounds. I think about how my personal, internal filter is completely gone. I’m exhausted after so many tragedies week after week. Jack and Fiona know about floods, hurricanes, white supremacists, gun violence, fires, smoke in the air, Trump, North Korea, sexism. I can’t protect them from all this information, and haven’t tried that hard. This is their reality, this is what they are growing up in. This is the world that they live in. I must lock them in the house today when they get home. They can’t play outside in the smoke. I don’t want them to watch T.V. either. It’s seeming stupider and stupider, those shows they watch. Especially Jack, his taste in shows is way too mature for his age. He’s starting to act like a teenager already and he’s only three and a half.
The shadows today are very strange. Muted shadows and reflections, almost an orange glow. Sun peers out through smoke, hit a book on my table. Still, I enjoy the quiet, the before every other minute I hear Mommy. I walk away for one minute, I tell Jack and Fiona where I am going, what I am doing and the minute I get there I hear Mommy. It’s an annoying phenomenon. Ten minutes. Shit that went by fast. I need more time before facing reality. Or should I say more time to not face reality, like time to go work in my studio! That is what I need today. Painting time.
What is it about Mondays? Every week lately, when I wake up Monday morning there’s a catastrophic event. Today, the Fires, burn hot, red sun, Smokey skies. Depression, fear, general sickness sets in. I panic. What will I do, kids wanna play outside. They are finally starting to relax indoors now after we spent the day at the mall. Stay away from the ash. People gather together indoors. A group of us meet to take the kids to the new My Little Pony Movie. After the popcorn, sour apple candies, and the seven-up; about fifteen minutes into the movie; Fiona crawled onto my lap; all the sudden My Little Pony had green eyed monsters running around. It got scary. Next Jack got scared, then Fiona’s two friends. Pretty soon we were all back out in the mall. I told the ticket lady the movie was too scary for three-year old’s, how do you make My Little Pony scary? And Why? She gave me a refund. We walked around the mall parenting. I was tired, from the shock and sadness over todays tragic event. I told the babies how lucky we were, to be safe from the fire.
Yesterday we went to the city, we hung out around Stockton and Grant. We ate Chinese food, walked through an ally where a man practiced Kung Fu, saw a mini Chinese parade with a paper dragon and giant drum, a loud Motorcycle parade rumbled by, Italians in Maserati’s, and the Blue Angels roared overhead. On Saturday we went to Pt Reyes, sat in the sun, wind, looking out into the great sea. Now I am back at home, it is a mess here. I can’t do anything to clean it, no energy, possibly a few loads of laundry, possibly the dishes. I feel so overwhelmed and short fused. My daughter is sitting right next to me, I tell her to give me space and she smooshes into me closer and closer. She keeps talking to me and I can’t help but laugh. She asks me why I’m laughing. I tell her she’s making me laugh, she gives me a hug. She has popsicle all over her face. Jack keeps asking me for a snack. I’m going crazy, but feel anchored , grounded by Jack and Fiona’s nudging.
Jacks says, “No, we’re just here”.
Bouncing, my weight pulling down the airplane three-person teeter totter. We’re the only ones at the park.
Civic Center. Marin Civic Center. “The Mitten” in giant book version read on the library bus. I’m the most excited child here. Thank God. I thank my lucky stars. Kids clamoring on me. In a good way. Jack, Fiona, their best friend from school, on my lap, the baby brother making googly eyes at me. I’ve got it. I’ve got my inner light back. My intuition.
My hands are slightly clammy. I’m in my studio now. Jack and Fiona sleeping. Naptime. Naptime writing and painting and notebook entries. January 12th, 2016. Political talk in parents’ group. My two compadres from Fiona’s school. One lady from Israel, one from Mexico, and the therapist. A BRIGHT RAINBOW. We talk politics. I love them. Count my lucky stars.
Jack, Fiona, and I stop by the park today after the library bus. It’s not raining but Jack falls more than regular as his feet slip of the wet rubber climbing structures. We all go on the teeter totter, I’m so big. I start bouncing it, saying “we’re on a rocket ship” going to space. “No, we’re just here”, says Jack. I think, and say out loud, “Yeah Jack, that’s cool. We’re just here, on this teeter totter on a wet, strange, Thursday afternoon.” Last night I had a dream I was watching the babies play make believe and something inside me said, just let them play, don’t play make believe with them unless they engage first.
Just pure image. I’m buzzing. In realization of my painting practice, which is really mixed media, lot’s of drawing, chance, texture, surprise. Always about memory. Time, everything’s about time.
Reading a ton lately. Trying to learn as much as possible. This story is about to end for the day. Jack and Fiona will be awake soon, and we’ve been having quality time lately. Poor Jack has another cold though. His poor nose.
I do wish I had more alone time today.