Thursday, 12 July 2012

Unexpected intermission

There's a moat of concrete surrounding three-quarters of our house. I can only suppose it's a remnant of some 1950s house-building obsession - if you're out pouring cement for the foundation anyways, why not add a wrap-around patio straight out to your driveway while you're at it? Architectural cooling must not have been in vogue. No renovation since has touched it, however, so I'm left to hose down the hot slab in the relative cool of the evening, lest that lake of fire melt our house in the night. The chore leaves me feeling rather geriatric, not to mention environmentally irresponsible, but there's no way our little air-conditioning unit can compete with the heat retained in all those yards of man-made stone.

I find myself looking longingly at the back pad behind our garage - not to be confused with the paved lane in front of it - wishing it would magically turn into a garden. It's been laying fallow ever since we sold our second vehicle, but somehow I doubt anyone would be quite as willing to haul away a couple of unneeded parking spots to go along with our excess vehicle. For the time being, I must content myself with the bounty from my CSA share - a culinary adventure in seasonal vegetables without the work of a home garden - and my little potted flowerbed of six sunflowers, arranged along our south-facing patio. I have hopes that they'll eventually create a bit of shade for our dining room window, but my visions of sunlight filtering through wide green leaves will have to wait for late August; currently, their tops barely brush the top of the foundation and, thanks to this mid-July heat wave, they're a bit of a sorry sight. I've been bending the "don't water in the heat of the day" rule, pulling sun-warmed refreshment out of the kiddie pool to sooth drooping leaves in hopes that they'll last through yet another blazing afternoon.

Spring has melted into summer, and my little hobby blog has lain dormant. I'd like to say it's because I've been busy - and there have been days (and weeks) when that has been true - but that isn't the whole story. It would be more accurate to excuse my absence in claiming that my mind has been set mostly to absorb and rarely to create.

There have been celebrations: three weddings, our sixth anniversary, mother's day, father's day, school wind-ups. Many friendships to cherish, loves to laud, family to visit, and milestones to honour - life has been full. I had the honour of acting as a bridesmaid in wedding number three, and it was just as lovely and exhausting as the first time I had such a pleasure, lo these seven years past. There's something quite unique about the community that springs up among members of a wedding party; it's a joy to see the shared love and regard for the happy couple and collection of fond memories bring even strangers together, if only for a day.

There has been music: my husband has the curious habit of ordering me the odd CD he thinks I'd like and then calling it a gift for whatever present-giving occasions have passed in the weeks (or months) of waiting for it to ship. I've received two such albums in the couple months: the works, respectively, of Eric Whitacre and the Art of Time Ensemble. I have no words for these creations, only a deep appreciation for the way they enliven my right frontal lobe, just along the Elizabethan hairline; a phrenologist would have a field day. I smile slow and hit repeat.

And finally, I have been reading. My chilly corner office has become quite the little hotbox now that winter's dead and gone, and carting my laptop out into the realm of my munchkins is precarious at best. I've mostly abandoned it in favour of my iPhone for online articles and blog posts (it makes for a smaller target in the land of tossed toys and spilled juice), and have delved into the old-fashioned world of board and paper books. There's enough of the academic left in me wishing to promote my musings on my more high-brow literary material, but for the most part I've been indulging in George R. R. Martin's oh-so-popular "Game of Thrones" and its sequels. It's been years since I've lost myself in a fantasy series - I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the weave of several narratives through the rich landscape of an imaginary world. The interchange of multiple storylines gives me time to think up my own versions what happens next to my favourite narrators before the author picks them up again. I invariably prefer the author's conclusions, which is probably why I have no desire to write an actual novel, but I enjoy the mental exercise all the same. Fun for me, but not so useful for blog fodder. If, however, anyone would like some ideas for happily-ever-after twinged fan fiction based in Westeros, look me up. Redemption, reunion, and justice await many now-dead characters from the Song of Ice and Fire. And yes, I'm aware that my inner geek is showing.

Do I have hopes for improvement? I'd like to think so. I've missed composing my little musings. I miss the way they change how I look at the world - the beauty that appears only when I make a habit of seeking it. Preschool has ended, and with it my daily meanders; I don't doubt the correlation between my lack of locomotion and my dwindling blog output. I don't know why, but my brain seems to work better when my feet are moving. Perhaps it simply gives me something to see and the time to absorb it. For the next several weeks, I have gained a new regular, if less frequent, pedestrian excursion: my CSA pick-up spot is a comfortable walk away, providing a good half hour each week for observation and contemplation - hopefully it will prove fruitful. If not, please forgive the silence.

Keep cool, dear readers.

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