|MGoBlog / flickr|
When the sun goes down and the birds are quiet, the bats come out. The light from the porch sends a warm glow and the bugs are attracted to the screen. Slivers of black flash back and forth. The bats in the last dimming of evenings light.
It’s already ten pm - long days a gift this time of the year. No fog tonight and in an hour the Milky Way will strew itself across the sky. Perseus meteor showers are really kicking into gear as August begins. The flowers blooming now: tansy, milkweed, black-eyed susans and queen annes lace. Lacey cream and golds, with pops of pink and magenta - late summer palette.
Tonight the moon rose like a solid gold orb - as it rose so did the fog, and each one made the other even more ethereal than they already were. An owl hooted from the forest as if announcing the event. Up in the sky meteors flashed back and forth like little space fireworks.
Sitting in the yard, alone tonight, all the other nights together become one rich night. My brother Matt, bringing a telescope, setting the coordinates and having it automatically position and focus. We each took turns looking at whatever he was having us turn our attention to - always oohing and aahhhing. Another year he's checking an app on his phone and we're all running outside to look at a satellite passing far overhead. Each small child learns where the big dipper is and sees Venus, low on the western horizon.
“Starlight, starbright - first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might - have the wish I wish tonight.”
The cabin is the closest I get to my childhood home these days. The dresser in the room I sleep in at the cabin was mine as a child. It is the one that my mom and Mike Roberts redecorated one summer. I was up in Houghton Lake - came back and they had repainted it white with blue and green details (color combo of the day…late sixties) I walked in and saw it - plus a Seargent Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album laying on the bed - still in the plastic shrink wrap. What treasures. Dad was in the hospital and life was a bit bleak - but I knew I was loved.
I was rummaging through the “everything drawer” looking for something or other earlier today. This set of drawers was originally part of a built-in against the wall in my parent’s bedroom. Part of a new addition that our neighbor Jim Horton worked on. There was a bedroom for me, and another for my parents. There was also a small closet with a folding door with a very cool handle, where my father kept his coats and umbrella…..anyway, I digress. In the drawer was a jar that my mom kept stamps in. Quite a collection - some of them I was familiar with and remembered using…..others, I hadn’t seen before….and one of them (this quote by Pulitzer) a timely surprise. It also led to a slew of other memories.
My addiction to political news can be traced back to mom. When I hear my granddaughter Muriel breaking into a Betty Boop song, I see my grandmother Alma singing and whistling this song in her kitchen. standing in front of the sink doing dishes. My mother, in her kitchen, watched the news. She was not a Conkrite person. We watched Huntley and Brinkley every night. As I came of age - we watched the history of the time unfold, mostly in black and white. The assassinations - she adored the Kennedys, she adored MLK. She was not an activist by any means - she hadn’t the time (five kids and a husband with mental health struggles), nor the inclination.
But she (and my father) were in support of civil rights and it was never something to be argued about in our house. By this time I was beginning high school and the Dominican nuns that Hank spoke so highly of were radicalizing his oldest in ways he didn’t yet realize.