Monday, August 17, 2009

Sundays are weird now.

I have a lot of things I wanted to blog about for once, but I’m not going to. Maybe tomorrow.

Yesterday I was in a bizarre mood. As I drove home from work I gazed out the windows at the clearness and decided that when I got home I would take my yellow pad of paper and sit out on the hammock and write. Just like in old pictures. You have to wonder how much those people you see in photographs, lounging in the grass, stretched out on a blanket with a pen either behind one ear or being thoughtfully chewed, their shoes haphazardly discarded nearby, surrounded by only the natural, home in the distance; you have to wonder how much those writers actually get written. It’s a very romantic image to be sure, but not a very productive one. Grass tickles. Bugs are annoying. Sun’s bright.

I for one got nothing accomplished except…strangeness.

Pillow under one arm, writing utensils, i-pod and notes in the other; I made my way outside to the hammock along the tree line. It was nearing 8 o’clock pm and the crickets were screaming. It’s a sound you never really hear unless you are actually listening; a sound so ordinary to dirt-road life that you usually disregard it as silence. Crickets are a country quiet. That night I heard them, loud and clear, and was surprised they were not scaring away the dogs next door.

The hammock was full of sticks and leaves, oblivious indicators that we did not use it as much as one should. Settling in I was instantly in the sort of comfort where you never want to move ever again if you could only feel that contented forever. It’s sort of like the feeling you have when you first wake up in the morning after having sunk into your covers in such a way that the bed is a part of you, expect without the angry feeling accompanied with being awake (or is that just me?). I managed to write two sentences in red gel pen before succumbing to laziness and putting it aside:

‘Beth turned to me the other day at B in the B and said “we’re freelance.” I was writing Döner Bistro things and she was designing a logo for a dog show.’

That’s it. I did not even get to the point of the statement, the point that being ‘freelance’ was incredibly cool and earth-shatteringly fantastic. I sunk into the aged weave of the tattered hammock and let my point drift away in the light summer breeze that comes right before sunset, the one that brings the fireflies.

After a while I felt something head butting me from below and looked down to see whose head it was. My cat Slate had found me, as they always do, and wanted my attention. He wanted so badly for me to be touching him that he managed to get half his body through one of the bigger holes in the hammock before getting stuck halfway. I wish I had had my camera, it was adorable. I pushed him back through and picked him up properly, placing him on my lap and becoming a whole new sort of comfortable that accompanies having a cat in your lap.

Slate is thus named because he is completely gray in color, like slate. He started doing this funny thing he has always done where he digs his head into you and falls over. He likes to rub his head on things and then sort of curl up under himself, be it your hand and then falling onto your face or your chest falling onto your stomach. I have never meet a cat who has ever purposefully head butted me quite like Slate.

The bugs came eventually, and not the good kind. But I was still so comfortable; it was like I was in a trance. Before I realized doing it I was standing up, pillow and pad under my arm once more, i-pod (buds in ears (Fiction Plane)) stuck between my bra strap and sticky skin of my shoulder, pens under the other strap. Probably looking quite foolish with electronics sticking out of my bra, hugging a pillow and carrying my shoes, I started walking around my yard. No one was looking. Who cares?

Walking barefoot in the grass felt as good as having a cat in my lap on a hammock. Something about the warm air mixed with the coolness of the grass on my feet was just like having a foot massage, but so much better. When I did have a sort of foot massage, pedicure for Tiff’s wedding, it hurt and tickled in a bad way. The grass was wonderful, so I kept walking.

First place I ended up was our old tree house. I had not been to that part of the yard in ages, years is extremely safe to say. Dad and I built it ages ago. It’s not much, just boards in a tree, but it was awesome at the time. I was shocked to see it in such disrepair; I did not think a bunch of boards in a tree could age so poorly. One board was almost nonexistent, only hanging on by a few spindly lengths, a splinter of its former self. I’m sure it could not hold my weight anymore, but not because I weigh more. One shoelace like string was hanging down from the branches that I seem to remember once being a rope. I could hardly imagine GI Joe climbing up there or pipe cleaner people making the leaves their home. If I had had shoes on I might have climbed up. But I kept walking.

I walked around the edge of the yard, past where our old garden used to be and crossed the driveway in the ‘front’ of the house. It will be the front when the house is done, but till then, it’s the side to me. Ducking under branches I made my way to the little grape vine covered swing and sat down. Hugging my pillow I was yet again extremely comfortable. I could not shake this weird feeling nor put a name on it. Every time I started staring out into the yard my eyes blurred and my mind went blank. I was actually thinking about nothing.

I remember in elementary school our librarian Mrs. Neningger (no idea how to spell that) told us a story about the Dewy Decimal System. I don’t remember anything about the story except one part where an old man was talking to a young kid, possibly his grandson. The old man said, when asked what he was thinking about, that he was thinking about nothing. The kid said that was impossible, that you are always thinking about something because if you know you are thinking about nothing you are still thinking about the fact that you are thinking about nothing, which is something. The old man looked at him sternly and said “you don’t know what I’m thinking and I’m telling you that I’m thinking about nothing. You should try it sometime.”

I remember being sort of blown away in the 3rd grade upon hearing this part of the story and trying to think about nothing, which in turn was something, and then trying to imagine what it felt like to have no thoughts. It’s as hard as thinking about colors, and thinking about the possibility that what one person sees as yellow might not be what you see as yellow, but since we all grew up calling it yellow, it is yellow. I might see a rock, and it is brown to me, but to someone else it might look purple, but what they see as purple they call brown, thus we both see a brown rock. Anyway, it was all very confusing to my elementary school mind.

The point is that in the yard yesterday I really was thinking about nothing, and it was nice. But eventually the bugs found me again. One bit me on the side of the head, so I itched my face and started walking again. I walked along the tree line to the edge of the back yard, another place I had not been in years. Weird how I have lived in this house for ever, and yet there are parts of my own yard that I have literally not visited in years. How is that possible? Oh ya, I never go outside in the summer because it’s hot. So why was I walking around my yard barefoot yesterday?

The place I remember as a burn pile is now grown over and green, almost like a hill. There is a mowed path back there and I did not even know if I was in my own yard anymore. When the new neighbors moved in no one ever told me where our property ends and theirs begins. I was at school, it didn’t matter. I got to the very back and looked over the fence as best I could through the branches and leaves of over grown nature. I thought that if I stood there long enough, maybe our cat Petey might come home from the neighbors he ran away to. He didn’t.

I kept walking, past Uncle Dale’s old cars almost completely covered with vines, past where my old bunny is buried somewhere, and looked out over the yard. We have a big yard. I wanted to roll around in the grass, but the bugs were chasing me and if I stopped for a second, they would eat me alive.

Then suddenly I was hot and I went inside.



DeeRoo said...

Yes, you have a very nice should visit it more often. By the way....that little bit of overhanging power line is fifteen feet past on the other side of the cedar trees...does that help?;)

Liz said...

Maybe you could switch to flash fiction, 'cause those two lines about being freelance were still really cool, though probably not in the way you intended them.
OR you could one day compile your blog into your fabulous memoirs. I love your descriptions here!!

Okay, literary discussions aside, I think I totally need to come visit you, because hammocks are just plain cool. (You are, too, but that goes without saying.) :)

Kelsey Austin Threatte said...

oh wow maria... I can't tell you how much this post meant to me. Especially the part about the crickets- it was just lovely. Also, before I left I thought about the same thing about visitng parts of my yard that I haven't seen in ages. It's strange. And you and beth are SO freelancers. I am so lucky to have such cool friends.

Snooty Crumb said...

That part that you said about the rock being brown, but somebody else might see it as purple but call it brown? Yeah, you have no idea how many times I've thought about that. Very nice. Makes me want to go out in my yard and write something. :)

Tanner said...

It is a testimony to your writing skills that I was enthralled by a story about you wandering around the yard doing nothing. Also, earth-shatteringly fantastic. I'm going to use that. It's, well, earth-shatteringly fantastic.

major7th said...

Ha, thanks Jeremy.