Tuesday, August 29, 2006

in the air...

A cool breeze blows across me, filling my home with the promise of change and the sound of crickets. A fire burns in a backyard somewhere, its scent stirring within me a longing for clear, starry skies and burnt, gooey marshmallows. In a few weeks, the longing will be fulfilled, but for tonight that itch remains unscratched. I lean back, closing my eyes, and breathe in deep, greedy breaths—I want to suck in all that gives me life. Tonight, life smells like fresh-cut grass and glowing embers…

Max sits at the screen door, his twitching ears trying to take it all in as well. His tail sweeps the same space over and over as he dreams of catching the Japanese beetles I repeatedly end up finding dead in the bottom of my mailbox after a long night of courting the porch light. Occasionally a dull thwack comes from his post, causing him to scurry under the couch having apparently scared himself with his own boldness. Eventually his aging body will end up draping over my own, and as his motor-boat engine rumbles in my lap all will be right with the world, if but for a cool, pre-September moment.

There will be many more to come—these perfect nearly-fall moments that take my breath away with the largeness of life and the magnificence of God. Some people mourn the passing of summer—I am not one of them. I live for clear, brilliant blue September skies framing crisp, golden maple leaves, for chilly mornings and snuggle-weather nights that require a sweatshirt, a companion, and a fire, for afternoons of leaf-raking and pile-jumping and pumpkin-picking and jack-o-lantern making. They are just around the corner—I can smell them in the air.
There are memories of summer to share, but soon my attention will turn to wringing every bit of life out of my favorite time of year. If tonight’s breeze is any indication, it will be delicious…

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

what a difference a year makes

Front teeth, for example. She has both, this year. And while there are still holes in her smile, the biggest ones are filled. She's got longer skirts, shorter hair, bigger backpacks, smaller pencils. An air of confidence surrounds her--it comes with knowing and being known. And without her nervous stage mom hovering around, she's spreading her wings and taking flight, mostly in large circles around the playground.
It's quiet here this afternoon, although her brother is doing his best to fill the space with the voice that comes out of hiding whenever "Sissy" is away. I take a moment to reflect on the changes, but not too long. My own confidence is still too fresh to linger here, in the place between the now and the not yet.
My daughter is taking yet another step closer to the edge of the nest. I will try not to hold my breath. A year ago, I'd have passed out. Today, I inhale and exhale, and send up a prayer that her wings will be strong.

Friday, August 18, 2006

...and we wonder what's wrong with maurice clarett?

An Ohio judge recently decided two teenagers can complete their high school football seasons before they serve 60-day jail sentences for a car crash caused by a decoy deer placed in a country road. Two teens were injured--one of which is brain-damaged, the other of which is facing his 11th surgery for multiple broken bones. (See the story here.) Is anyone besides me completely APPALLED?!?!?! Anyone?
Our society creates the Maurice Claretts of this world with the mistaken notion that football is a sacred institution and those who play it are its gods. These young men, and their community, gain nothing by being told that starring on the HS football team and leading them to a victorious season is more important than facing the consequences of the irresponsible and dangerous behavior that have cost two families more than can ever be repaid. As a mother, as a counselor, as a Christian, as a member of a community, as a human being--I am completely disgusted and outraged.
Just like the former OSU "star," these young men are hearing loud and clear that there is something much more important in our society than character and personal responsibility. They are hearing that if they can run, throw, and sack--not cure cancer, not protect society, not prevent AIDS--that they can be above the law of reaping and sowing and not face the immediate consequences of their choices. It is a message that is far too prevalent and destructive for my liking.
Had these young men not been football players--had they been in the marching band, on the chess team, in the fall musical--this ruling would not have been rendered. When will we stop worshiping athletes and start valuing the development of young men's' character instead?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

...and still counting...

make that four raccoons.

sure am glad we did not go with the service that charges by the animal!

running tally

three raccoons

one oppossum

the neighbor's cat

(just kidding! we didn't catch the cat!)


Thursday, August 10, 2006

great, now i've got guilt

It falls under the category of it seemed like a good idea at the time... Flea infested raccoons move in under our deck, infesting our yard with fleas which we then track into the house which promptly results in our house and indoor cat getting infested (do you know how hard it is to get rid of fleas?!)...but I digress. Three raccoons, so brazen as to come out during the light of day, fighting on the deck at night, living under the space where my children play and my neighbor's cat sleeps. (A lot.) Every day she asks me--my neighbor, that is--what I'm going to do about the raccoons. I have no flippin' idea didn't seem like the response she was looking for at the time...

Not that I blame her. She has an outdoor cat and two dogs, one of which, apparently, the raccoons could eat, and they are, after all, on "her side" of the house. She has every right to be vocally concerned. I'd want them gone, too. And I do, really I do.

So, in the interest of neighbor relations and flea prevention and a rabies alert, I placed a call to Varmant Gaurd, who not-so-promptly set traps filled with peanut butter and apples around our deck. (PB and apples? Who knew?) Last night at one AM, in the midst of being unable to fall asleep, I hear rustling outside our window. Metal rattles, and then, in the dark of the night, the fatal "clink." Raccoon one, trapped. Fifteen minutes later, "clink." Raccoon two. I put the fan back in the window to muffle the rattling of their cages (as I already was having trouble sleeping), and drifted off to a fitful sleep, knowing my neighbor would be delighted. I was pretty relieved myself.

Until this morning.

Did you know that raccoons have German-shepherd-brown eyes? And that they shake and chirp when they're scared? Granted, they growl and spit like a, well, like a caged animal, when you get too close to their trap, but still...

I feel horrible. Fleas and rabies and neighbors and neighbor's cats aside, they're kinda cute. And they're scared. And they're gonna die.

And it's my fault.

Tonight the Varmant Gaurd Man brings "stinky fish" and takes the first (innocent?) victims away.

If I can't sleep, I'll tell you it's the smell of the fish below my bedroom window. But you'll know better. The guilt will be killing me...