September was met with a heat wave. Sweaty little faces rode the bus each day.
While driving, I’ve been reading new land in an alphabet punctuated with poplar bluffs, an abandoned farm house, a headless pump-jack and a stand of buffalo berries.
Take this turn west; that hairpin north. The lost feeling is fleeting. Initially a map promised the way; marking the unknown but knowable. I doubt less, believe more in me finding the way, getting us all there, washboard at every corner, or not.
“I can’t do this much longer,” my son told me the second day of school. At 6 a.m., he’s getting up to shower and dress. He who couldn’t wait for school to start, couldn’t bear the thought of an 8:30 p.m. bedtime. I laugh and suggest 7 p.m. may be early enough.
I see myself in the courage of three Kindergarteners tentatively climbing the school bus steps, not sure where to sit or what to do with their backpacks. I am them. I get it.
Me: in that space between morning drop off and afternoon pick up. Me: focusing like never before inside that window on what needs doing, sharpening my pencil. Pick corn, process, freeze; supper in the oven and off again to school. It’s doable. It makes sense. Measured steps, balance.
I accept that there are no real disasters or mistakes: just learning experiences. I’m nourished by the notion that self-judgment can be replaced by self-refection, self-congratulation and joy in life’s tiny pleasures: the giggle of small children changing the words to a familiar song, covering their heads each time they pass beneath the shadow of a tree.
September brings many small pleasures: a lady bug that lands on my shoulder and stays there. The hawk perched on a fence post, taking flight as I drive by so I can see it stretching out to push the sky under it, a chicken finding a grasshopper. Perhaps we all learn to fly, one way or another.
A doctor told me once that she studied for years to do what she does. There was no way she could leave her post and waste all those university years. I was sad for her.
This time around I must have decided to try many things while learning living from the farm: marriage, divorce, remarriage, single parenting, teaching, gardening, bus driving; what else? Life’s a list inside a word limit.