Ma and I perch at the kitchen table, near the open windows. She is dozing and reading, both lifelong disciplines. A heat powered breeze passes through the wind chimes which hang from the ancient, elegant pecan tree out back. The wisp enters the large airy room, then twirls through the blades of a little table top fan nearby and exits, conditioned air. Conditioned to many seasons of entering my mother's home. Since she finished raising her six kids and a carreer as a welfare social worker, she's lived exactly as she pleases. Even the over heated air, bold enough to enter, knows the law here: live and let live. Outside, spawned by triple digit dog days, the heat lays itself heavily upon the old, downtown neighborhood; drowsy, dopey, and surprisingly quiet, in a cityish sort of way.
I sit nearby. I'm attempting to ignore the screaming impulses that rage with in me. "Get up, move about, work your body, and soul, outside preferably, on every imaginable project requiring large motor skills and endurance. Now!"
This has been my daily discipline of thirty plus years.
When I'm home, I use spontanious outbursts of dance and scat-style-jazz-chant to refuel my tired muscles. This allows me to go on working somewhat endlessly, exploring and tending to a large piece of wild land, home, and family way up north where the air is always cool and moist if not frigid and possessed.
My husband and youngest adult daughter, like her grandma, have always been able to inhale extensive hunks of each day, sitting, chapter after quiet chapter. Like my mother, I dearly loved reading aloud while homeschooling our three kids. My own private reading is now better absorbed this way, but I've learned this is generally suited best for places beyond chairs, windows and doors and the quiet spaces of others.
When I was kid, to sit quietly and focus on purely intellectual activity alway's seemed an art better suited to other family members. The really smart ones. Those who's specialized talents started showing up in very early childhood. They happened also to be the ones who learned not to bug Ma on her days off. Seemed as though they were able to sit while actively engaged with their individual interest and barely notice the heat or their appetites or the yen to move. Satisfied by small bowls of dried cereal and artfully cut fruit, they taught themselves to stay put for hours. And damned if they didn't become shining independent stars academically, artistically, with business savvy and success.
My children are similarly wired. Our twenty by twenty foot cabin required octopus like management skills from me to assure their elementary level skills were piqued and their academic and artistic hungers equally triggered. I absolutely loved every step of the way but secretly their mamma still lived daily for recess, primarily so she could get out and play.
Like my mother, I have, for several years now been able to live exactly as it suits me. Wild distant explores on snow shoes all winter give way to hip waders up river in the spring. Gardening, fishing, and packing with goats, sheep and dog in the high country follows in the summer and fall. A book and art supplies always come with. I've even learned to weave while my flock pauses to graze on something particularly yummy. Granted, with all my reading aloud they are becoming a particularly bright and talented bunch. They are born dancing and singing.
I am at present temporarily disengaged from my own lusty pleasures as I care for my housebound elder mom. Far from the catabolic winds and mountain breezes, I am once again up against tackling the art of sitting, quietly, while productively engaged.
The last hour while focused on learning to edit these words on a machine I barely understand, the breeze has lost intrest in entering our open windows. A slow salty trickle is winding it's way down my achy spine. Mama, in her wheelchair, chin on her chest, I think may be dreaming of tap dancing with Fred Astaire. Her lips suck and puff little wisps of wild, unconditioned, warm air while the pages of her book flutter gently.
OOOh, hoala! Up comes a strong West wind.The fig tree next door is twirling ecstatically. Hey! Come in my love. Welcome. Please, do come in.