I saw the squirrel jumping its endless squirrelly jumps all over the maple tree in the front yard. It stopped, stared at us and moved on with its life and us with ours. His was playing, ours was selling. A first garage sale, you see. A great lesson in so many ways and if it sounds too righteous for some, well, that’s how it shall be.
The boys get small packages of soldiers, clowns and pirates all ready to go, dollar and a half or so a piece, but we do accept bargains we agreed. Toys purchased over the years with pleas and smiles, eyes shining and hands grabbing. See boys, all that stuff, new and all, now they’re selling for so little it’s hard not to shake your head. The wheels turn the same for most kids on this side of the world. Get toy, new, enjoy, move on to the next one, that instant jolt of pleasure that all but dies quickly. But how could it not, there’s so many toys to see and touch and grab and scream if you cannot have them… Christmas coming up, wait, my birthday list, where is it? Tsk, tsk, it’s not about that, you silly kids. The real thing that lasts should always come from inside of you, the deepest corners of sweetness get tickled when you make things happen. It’s not the opening of the box with toys. Shiny is not it, you know…
A self-proclaimed witch I am, you see, because I always remind them of kids there making toys for kids here, I remind them of non-renewable resources and waste, I tell them about consumerism and how it has countless heads, all ugly, spiky and awfully stinky. Truth. So it’s rather sad that we don’t learn yet. They know but the eyes see and the mind invents reasons. Now what’s next… A car pulls over. Kids’ stuff, nah, not interested.
I have a box with some yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets. Have one for as much as you can spare, fundraising for cancer research. It’s about hope and strong will. Good will. The two guys who stop by say this is the wrong day to stick by Lance, he’s been stripped of his titles. Oh, shame, not true, today is as good a day as any, I tell them. No, Lance was really taken out this time, they nailed him. Like I care, I tell them. You ever biked up a steep hill and repeated that a hundred times more? It hurts. Have you battled cancer and beat it and made a difference in the life of at least one person who had or has cancer? Inspire people to live, have you? Have we? I don’t care what they say about Lance. He’s the hero whose deconstruction I toss and stomp on. What’s it to anyone? Fairness, they say. Really? How fair? Who? You can be as round as a loonie, they’ll find a corner to chew on. So I will wear my yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet, I will admire him for all that he did, I tell the guys, and freedom of speech dictates that we have the right to say it as we think it so there. They seem to chew on my thought for two seconds flat and then spit it out. Cheeky me, I don’t even pay attention to theirs. This let’s take down Lance business is so old and played and unfunny. I missed taking a good ride today for this garage sale, go figure. They leave, new people come by. Little people looking for bargains. The drum goes. It’s a noisy one. A drum, right?
Some books go, soldiers bid goodbye like good soldiers do, shiny little cars on their way. It’s a good day. I am in wonderful company and make basil green tea for the occasion. Beautiful ladies sip my tea and chat. We sit in the shade, talk about neighborhoods that once were, good places to live, how the world changes and we lose ourselves to stuff and let the world gnaw at our brains more than common sense would ever allow. The boys hop, jump, despair at the lack of customers and learn not to take it personally when a car drives by, slows down for people to peek at our things and then drive away. Watermelon fills their tummies, friends join in and they all laugh. What else to do. Mom, what if we only make a few bucks, then what? Then you’re grateful for all that you get and move on with your life. The witch that I am. I told you so. Mom, can I climb the tree? No Sasha, you’re not tall enough. Bring a ladder then? No, uneven terrain. Can you lift me? Oh, just go and play nicely on the ground like all little humans. Minutes later find him on top of the car, a little Buddha laughing his heart out. At me. A wizard of my own I have indeed. Like breeds like.
1pm. Time to wrap things up. Pack it up, forward it to church sale and that’s all how it should be. The boys are happy. Mom, we made some money after all. Coins cling in the jar, take them inside to share them nicely. What to buy next? Already? Silly kids, don’t just yet. But mom… Even witches like me yield to sweet pouting.
We see it when it’s too late. The squirrel. In the middle of the road, lying on his side, he looks asleep. Just like that, in the middle of the road. Oh no, mom, is he dead? Yes. Are you sure? I saw the ear move. No, that’s just the draft from cars driving by. Now what? Braving the cars with a bag wrapped around my hand, I lift him up. The tiny grey-furred wrapped body is still warm. Limp and warm and I could not be sorrier. I never held a squirrel before. Poor jumpy thing. What would a scolding do now, the grey fluff is soulless. Sun-kissed little body goes in the bag. Later on we dig a hole in the front yard next to our gerbil’s resting place. A rodents’ cemetery as Sasha put it. The dirt is stubborn and dry. I dig the hole deep enough to prevent tomb robbers from interfering with the circle of life we’re about to enroll the squirrel in. Sigh. We put him in, pet his head gently and cover him up. Dust in his eyes. Literally. Rocks on tops. Sigh some more and head inside for a late lunch.
Midday is hot and noisy. Boys settle, we talk about being fair and not holding resentments. Their blood is moving fast and furious at times through their little bodies. But how not to, mom? That guy, oh, he’s just so smug… Just let go, I tell them, I just read this, wise people say resentment bonds you to people who you don’t want to be bonding to anymore. Forgive and let go. Move on. Really mom? Ha, never. My boys… I want them good and kind and soulful, I want them thoughtful and with self-worth. I want them unattached to worldly stuff and yet wise to now what’s the true value of things. I want them kind. Above all, I tell them, be grateful. For good people you have walking alongside, for being inspired, for being here, now, for being alive. A slice of watermelon each, they ask for ice cream. Two scoops? Sure. Three? Just today? No way. I’m still the witch, you know. Ice cream drips on the table… you’re a good witch, mom. Well, some days…