Mud Pie just took off into the front yard singing a funny little song only she can sing. She ran back so excited she could hardly get the words out. "Mommy I found a BIG yellow flower!" We talked about it for a minute, then she played chase with Oscar, and now he's resting on the deck and Pie is standing, simply standing in the yard listening. It's a noisy place, the forest.
We never had this in the city, and not just because Pie wasn't walking well yet. We had two or three doors, sets of stairs, cracked porch to navigate just to touch anything green. The fragrance of lilacs was tinged with the neighbors' stale cigarettes, their leftover beers toppled in the grass, rotting things in trash bags.
We had a small maple in our backyard. Only one branch had leaves. Every time I looked at it, I felt sad. It was dying, as trees do, but it was our tree, our only glimpse of Eternal amidst cracked concrete and urban blight. I felt like that tree, strangled by the city, by its dangers and mess and stench and constant closeness to humanity in all their unpredictability. I seldom fought the doors and cracked porch and uneven sidewalks.
There is a dying tree in the forest out back, but I won't let Dr. D cut it down as he would love to do. I love the tree's stark symmetry, its leafless tallness against the lush green of the woods. Here dead things are not blight, they point the way to life. In the city our maple would be cut down, hauled away or chipped. Here, if left to nature and not Dr. D's chainsaw, it will fuel generations of life of all different sorts. Bugs, birds, moss. Even if felled by Dr. D, it would fuel our stove all winter.
Here my brokenness is not death. My soul-darkness does not make me useless, fit only for the flames (or wood chipper). I may feel stripped to nothing, gangly and lifeless, but I can still grow.
And maybe, just maybe Mud Pie, Fish, St. Nick can flourish too.
Sure, my sanity is always questionable. But somehow she talked me into it. I may have even suggested it myself. A tenth birthday shindig with none other than a Murder Mystery theme.
We are waiting for you. Not patiently, even though you were due just a few days ago. Your grandparents come from out of town to take your big brothers out for malts and to the park, and to meet you. You have other plans.
Mud Pie is a doll girl. She has Barbies and an American Girl Doll, but I've cringed every time we've seen any sort of made-up-to-absurdity doll, like Bratz.
Flashback to 1985-or-so. More than anything else in the universe a certain little girl wanted a dollhouse. A real dollhouse made of wood, with real wallpaper and tiny furnishings
Mud Pie's Flat Stanley returned not long ago, so while the kiddos were asleep with flu and fevers, I took the photos Stan collected and made a little video.
Here's how my week (first week of vacay for the kiddos) has looked:
Monday: in tears (me) by 8am.
Tuesday: in tears (me again) by 11am.
Wednesday: so far so good (me) and...
The definition of Inelegant. Of tacky. Of rude. Of crass. Of immoral. Of just plain wrong. That would be: Credit Jumping. Which, for those who might not know, is leveraging an author (extorting? intimidating? coercing?) into hiring an "editor/writer" who then gains a credit for the work via shared byline or outright stolen byline - for very little work.
Keep back. The ginger is breathing fire today.
On a happy note...
Ok, I'm kidding. Mostly. But I'm so fed up with Oscar Wild. I just put him in the kennel outside and he's staying there for a nice, long doggie time-out.
Yesterday Mud Pie spent all evening lovingly hand-making...
Kylie Jean: Rodeo Queen by Marci Peschke (illus. by Tuesday Mourning). Picture Window Books, 2011.
I'll admit I was a bit skeptical when Pie pulled this off the shelf. It's very pink. But Pie Had to Have it, so into the Library Bag it went.
What is up with me? I hate sewing - loathe it - despise it. But here I am, sewing like I'm, uh, I don't even know. Martha Stewart (does she sew? Did they allow sewing machines in prison?).
Here's dress for Pie #2: