September 9, 2015
WHAT I DID DURING SUMMER VACATION
I didn’t write much this summer. I created other things–things that didn’t involve words. I built kingdoms and sat at the bottom of a Lake. I ate goat meat and met people from half a world away.
“Come and see! There’s an Elf-wood and a Dwarf mountain and a lake and an ocean in my backyard!”
But two steps down the backstairs Poppi says, “Stop! I’m sorry, you can’t come down here–I’m having a battle with Orc-Ants!”
“Ork Ants? What are Ork-Ants, Nonna?” asks five-year old grandson, Morgan.
“Well,” I answer, “you know what Orcs are, right?”
“Yeah. Theys like goblins and theys ugly and they kill dwarves and humans and elves and stuff.”
“Right. Well, Orc Ants are mean, nasty little creatures that come from the Orc world. They live in the ground, and they think elves and fairies and humans are delicious for dinner. Poppi discovered them marching up the alley into our backyard…probably coming to attack the Elves in the Elf-wood…or maybe on their way to the Lonely Mountain–there are probably Orcs in the Lonely Mountain. So Poppi is fighting them off.”
“With a squirt gun, Nonna?”
“Well, it is a sprayer…and it is filled with some nasty soap that they don’t like–it makes them sick. So they can’t fight and they will go away.”
“Poppi, I need a gun too! I want to battle Orc Ants!”
The battle raged for thirty minutes.
Afterwards, we surveyed the carnage. We took a strainer to the Lake and hauled out piles of Orc Ants. We took a hose and tsunamied the remainder of the forces down the alley.
And then we went to explore the Elf-wood and the Dwarf Mountain, looking for survivors of the Orc Ant Attack.
It appeared that all was well. The Elves were hale and hearty. The Fairies were shyly peeking from their perches in the tree.
The Dwarves apparently were out of town and missed the entire kerfuffle.
The Forest Dragon, Fengore, was on site, preparing to take one of the Elves on a reconnaissance flight to get an overview of damages.
For several days, Morgan kept an eye out for the return of the Dwarves, and an eye upon the Lonely Mountain where dwells the vicious Purple Midnight…an evil Dragon Sorceress. There she guards her treasure, and her babies…
And then suddenly, early one morning, Morgan woke up to the strangest music…it sounded a bit like mice singing tunes from the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarves…
And there they were…the whole dozen of them…back from some adventure in some distant country… Hi Ho, Hi Ho…
And so it was. And so it went. The summer.
Bike rides with Colombian Soccer players. Hikes to the creek to learn to swim with Morgan and Rowan. Dragon battles in the backyard. Fireworks and Thunderstorms. Sticky peanut butter on the front door. Picking raspberries.
And there were books. And there were boats.
I went diving in the Big Lake… My brother took me. I’d never sat on the bottom of the Lake before with 15 feet of water above my head…breathing. After they loaded all the gear on me, they said, okay, now stand up and take a great big step forward and just sort of fall into the water. Except the gear was so heavy I couldn’t stand up, none-the-less “step into the water”… I sort of launched myself, almost lost my mask, breathed water, choked and sputtered and wanted only to make it back to the boat. Okay, regroup…good to go…down we went…except Oliver had to haul me down and hang onto me or I would simply float back up to the top. Nuts to that…he sent me up top and loaded my weight belt with so much weight that when I let go of the boat, I sank 15 feet in about 15 nanoseconds. Sitting on the bottom, I looked around… Now what? And so my first lesson commenced.
And so it was. And so it went. The summer.
Working, water, weeds in the garden…and hiking with friends.
And in a puff of summer smoke, it’s over. It’s become memories. The gardens are tired and the leaves on the trees are losing their green. Last night I wore my flannel pajamas to bed. The school buses are back and the neighborhood ice cream truck has unwound its music box and unpacked its chests of treats. I am sitting at my desk with piles of papers and books waiting for me to return to my work. This work of words. This work of wading out among the stars, casting my net to capture a few shiny bits of Light to share with you.