It is the third day of playing with fishing rods and the boys have it all figured out. Small hands follow thoughts of big fish and they handle the line ever so gently but firm enough to make me wonder yet again if they’re growing too fast.
“Did you see that, mom? The fish! Did you see how it jumped?” Their voices break and bounce from here to far, much like the fish we’re eyeing. The boys are planning a fish dinner wondering every now and then if it’s cruel to the fish. It’s real, I tell them. It’s when you realize what dinner is. Gulp? But the hook… You eat what you catch, every little morsel of it and there’s no encouraging of ocean overfishing or dreadful fish farms. In their eyes I see the fine line that separates boys from growing boys. The inner workings of the world. You breathe, you eat and live in gratefulness. Will they learn? In the world that offers fast, cheap and replaceable everything, it’s easy to forget. I play the reminding witch. Again. Cast, fish some weeds, the line gets tangled. Again. I untangle their lines. Again. We can barely see the line in the dusky light but how to leave without the fish? Well, I tell them, the fish stays put for now.
We go home and I make dinner. Freshly dug white and purple potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and baby beets, and enough greens to make a sunny frittata. The case of the accidental homesteaders. The purple potatoes have rough cracked skin and rainbow entrails. The white ones are creamy and sweet. Soft.The thick smell of dirt wraps my thoughts in a bundle and hangs them up where I can’t reach them anymore. Could you ever do this? Grow your food, entirely, live like it’s been done for so long. Live in that forgotten way. The short-lived glamour that comes back to haunt you. Oh snap out of it, it’s just a basket of potatoes. But could you? Oh, not again… Could you though? Yes, I could…
The town we’ve moved to is small enough to walk in and breathe at your own place yet big enough to have all that we need. Today it rains. On and off, the sun plays tag with the raindrops and Sasha points out absentmindedly “there will be a rainbow I think…” More rain. Then it stops. The sun sploshes on sidewalks steaming the air up like a kid blowing soap bubbles. Sasha’s rainbow. Plopped by a giant hand right in the middle of those deserty mountains that I keep calling hills because they remind me of my hometwon. Draped over houses. It starts somewhere behind Mt Paul and curves right into our street. If our house had eyes instead of windows they’d grow big with wonder. And why not.
We drove up to Kamloops a couple of weeks ago. Boys, piglets and all that stuff one lugs around knowing for a fact some of it becomes useless shortly after the move. A giant snail convoy carrying a house. There’s bridges and rivers and grasshoppers here. There’s a cascade of pears in the tree in the front yard and the warm summer air cradles in our arms though it is past 9 o’clock and almost dark. Spoiled.
School time. The boys are cautious the first day and by the second day we talk about friends and odd characters. They laugh and say let’s stay here for a while. The school premises become anthill-like busy Farmer’s Market grounds on Saturday. Over tomatoes and green chard I chat with people who grow our food and delight in being offered more plums and peaches than I pay for. Because they’re so ripe and good, you’ll love them, they say. Eggs, garlic and beets. Apples? There’s tall bunches of gladiolus and I think of the two tall vases I left behind in Vancouver. They really did not fit into any boxes though… Let’s not betray the sunflower in the backyard. Colors, smiles, smells of summer and daydreams of hammocks under grapevines… Sun-kissed cheeks beg for treats. Treats first, then work. Tony carries a big bag of corn to the car, Sasha gets the eggplant heap. “What’s a baker’s dozen mom? It’s so heavy…” It sure is. I hear “My arms will fall off” too many times to count. Shrug. Smile. Wanna eat? Well then. The witch is back. How else do I teach them gratefulness?
“Can I have a peach? Does it have any hairs on it?” Well, it does, we made it to the market too late for the hairless ones. Next Saturday then. Bellies full of plums and peaches, plus some candy from the bike store we stopped by, we’re hiding in our rainbow-hugged house and smile at the simple wonder of having the sun curled up on the front porch like a big yellow cat. Gratefulness abounds. The wonder of being here, now. Thoughts are hanging low just like the pears in the front yard. Getting ripe as we speak. As we dream?…