Sunday, January 3, 2010
A new sky
I've always had a preoccupation with trees. I'm not a "nature girl" whatever that means. I'm urban. But I do like to garden, and I LOVE trees. I climbed them as a child. The higher the better. Straining for footholds, and straddling shards of bark I was safe inside their arm branches. Invisible behind leaves. Majestic up on top. The memory of climbing makes me heady still.
When he died my mom and I had to spend the winter with her, my gram, because she was all alone. It was easier for me. She lived in the suburbs and winter or not, that meant serious tree climbing.
Sure, the willow wouldn't be it's ordinary fortress with the leaves gone, but it was still a nice climb. Lower than the oak out front, but higher than the Japanese maple in the side yard.
"Are you coming inside babe? It's cold." One of them asked from the driveway.
It was cold. So cold my body was wrapped in layers of tights and jeans and scarves and gloves and a woolen hat that made my brow sweat and itch. I had boots on too because there was a scattered bit of snow. He would have said the snow was good for the lawn. But he was dead and I couldn't ask him how on earth can that be good? And those women? They wouldn't answer me. They just wanted to get inside. I didn't ever want to go back inside. Never again, anywhere. I would live in the trees.
"NO. I'm playing."I yelled without looking at them.
"You're not playing, you're lying on the ground."
And it was true. I was lying on the ground, staring at the sky, deciding what tree to try and conquer all dressed up like an astronaut. They shook their lady heads and went inside where they belonged.
I looked at the clouds. Different now. The sky changed when he died. It became sharper, less translucent, more surreal. Before, the clouds seemed like plausible pillows. After... just shifting bits of gas. Fun for making shapes, not so fun for sleeping on.
I concentrated on the winter sky. He would have said don't climb the trees in winter, you could break fragile limbs.
I stayed put. The dead grass grew up around me and my back warmed the earth like spring. The winter sun found me and blinded me burning out my eyes and then I was inside the ground and growing up from a deep wet something.
When they come find me I'll be gone.