Saturday, June 05, 2010

so it's gotten steamy out there, and the garden is lush, the poison oak is encroaching, the dogs poop wherever they want out there in their pen, and my wife goes out back to lay paving stones and plant wildflowers in the back yard. that part is tough because it slowly encroaches on a kind of baseball diamond that we use, now that my little boys are old enough to do what the older ones did for years, hitting whiffle balls all over the sloping grass and tearing around. occasionally hitting one into the dog pen, and having to negotiate with overly friendly dogs to get it back. coming back in, with some chiggers and occasional poison oak, to get a shower right away and hope the aircon will temper the allergy.

at the lake we like to find the "park diagonal" sign but we didn't need it today; parked right by the front entrance, and if you sit in the lake too long the fish actuallybite you, so you have to keep moving, but this is only a problem really for us older folks, who, once we find a nice cool lake, like to sit and rest for a minute. no rest for the weary. i was exchanging exercise fantasies with my high-school grad; he'd like to run a marathon, and is actually serious enough about running in general to get out there every day, even in this heat, but i told him that i had several. one: hiking the river-to-river trail. this snakes through southern illinois wild country and half the time is using some gravel road because the farmers won't give permission. second, though, is to be a barefoot racer- just do what other people do, 5k's and stuff, but do it all barefoot. but i have a third, and this one, i probably shouldn't have told him, because it's a little subversive. that's to set out walking, from here (home), find a swimmable pond, take a dip, at night, then turn around and come home. i know there has to be a way. i've been taking stock at the local swimming holes, trying to figure out if any of them would even be feasable. so far, nothing. haven't done it.

the good news is, the family is doing well, with the exception maybe of a mother-in-law, who i'll leave out of this particular ramble, and an eight-year-old who broke an arm a bit back, and is now left out when we go to the lake as i did today with the littlest. the turtle awaits in his little corner of the pond; you are not to go back there, and in the high light of day he often doesn't show his face, but as we swim about, we often get bit by the little fish, if we let our minds ramble. it's a gentle place, wide beach, cliffs out over the lake; the "park diagonal only" sign is one i wait to see every winter, and am glad, now, that it's still there, ungrammatical as it is. when i come home, i notice that i have lines on my skin; this is where i literally didn't bother to slather sunscreen on every inch of myself, and got burned across the lines in the spots i didn't hit. this gives me selective burn; burn in a few spots; first burn of the season, a stinging feeling depending on how i sit.

the four boys regale me with stories of their lives; the eight-year-old is into baku-gan, and tells me about things i barely understand. the five-year-old spent the whole same afternoon out at the beach, under the sun, but he's black, so fortunately the selective sunburn thing didn't get him at all, really, and he was really out there quite a bit more than i was. the eighteen-year-old has a mercedes, drives it the speed-limit, but now i think must worry that some college-town jerk (of whom we have many) doesn't come along, and snap off the hood ornament, such a precious symbold that it is. and finally, the twenty-one year old, working in a camp, way out in the woods, has to figure out how to charge a phone and not have it die right away, way out in the woods there. he comes home tired; they fill his schedule & keep him busy. but it's good; he's in good health & feeling better. the grown boys, there's a tenuous balance, it seems kind of like a butterfly in the hand, you can love them, hold them gently, let them go; don't squish them, or even poke them too hard. virtually everything you do can be counter-productive- so, you do nothing? merely marvel at the fact that they are still alight, near you- that tomorrow they will surely be gone?

the road in from the lake winds around dramatically and is generally considered one of the more dangerous two-lanes in the area. in fact it has been on the county's list for widening, straightening out the curves, making it safer. in fact they have already begun some of the work on it, tearing up a little patch out there by where there are often deer, in little fields, a hilly area; people drove fast out there, and that was part of the problem. i on the other hand slow down; what's the hurry, to get back to town? the little guy falls asleep in the back. it's actually a place i could walk; it would be about six miles out to the lake, or more; quite a haul for a foot-walker, but definitely a clean body of water to wash off in, in the middle. lots of stars out there, and deer; the deer own the road, and don't feel inclined to move, just because someone's in a hurry. the only problem is, it's dangerous. the hairpin turns mean people drive quickly, and with no vision; they hit deer often, but sometimes just run off the road. they'd be totally unprepared for a foot-walker, especially at night; even a reflective vest wouldn't do much to solve the problem.

so much for the fantasies. life is rich and full, busy; it's all i can do to get any real exercise, not to mention do the many and varied chores around the house that would keep it together, if i were on top of it. i tend more to want to stay home, check in with the boys, keep the house together. the selective burn tells me: i've been out enough. relax; keep it together; make sure i've got my eyes on the various guys; a steady hand, and thou shalt not wander asunder, off to parts where they shoot first, ask questions later.

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