Sunday, April 14, 2013

F*ck sharing

Marsh marigold in bloom today. It's that tome of year when we seek out the flowers.

Today we woke up and decided to "get the h*ll outta Dodge." We chose to hike Clayton Park, a Monmouth County nature preserve known for its wildflowers. Like everywhere, it's been a late spring and like everywhere, they need to shoot several hundred deer per square inch annually. The browse intensity was sad.

Sorry, dear readers, but I spend fall and winter waiting for spring and sending strong mental messages to the hunting community, and spring and summer mourning the passing of yet another not-successful-enough hunting season.

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This weekend, I hiked with a friend through the forest near my house. I commented to him, "I haven't been here that long, six years, and I have seen species disappear from the woods." He was silent. I felt a little nervous. Though I have made this statement many times, I felt like he was really listening and cared. I didn't want him to feel bad - because with two of us feeling bad, then the slow unravelling of the forest was witnessed on a lovely spring day. When an event is witnessed - It is true. It is happening.

I want my son to have flowers to pick. I want some flowers to be precious because we leave them, and some because we pick them. I hate hearing myself tell him, "Don't pick. There's only one. Leave it for the bees." The latter sentence is the only way I can think of to excuse my tone which sometimes borders on the "Don't touch. Hot."

In the greenhouse, I have a flat of celosia and zinnias seedlings. He and I picked out the seeds at Basil Bandwagon. Come summer, we'll have a picking garden closed off behind gates and fences. He'll pick there.

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Bloodroot, in the 'no pick' garden. We hope to collect seeds. Jared requested that Beren not pick these. He obliged, but loomed over the flowers making a snapping crab gesture with his hand.


My son's spontaneity is incredible. On the trail he picked "boody" - spring beauty, the only flower abundant enough to pluck. Sticks became fishing poles and saws. He climbed logs. We paused on a bridge. He decided to lie on his belly with his face hanging over the edge. The muddy bottom stream rushed below. He chewed on the bridge until Jared suggested that he rest his mouth on his hand. The moment was too brief, a mountain biker blasted past, but Beren resumed his downward posture immediately. Jared and I flopped back down, too.


***


I love places and times that I can abandon my thinking self. Dancing at concerts, lying on soft mossy patches, walking through intense weather, the beach.


***


Being watched

I remember when Beren was, I don't know, a year and a half old, we went to the beach. Nearby our blanket, a couple watched their toddler play in the sand. I have a hard time calling them "family" because they were acting like "a couple with a child". Beren walked over. I followed and greeted the parents. I helped to negotiate the exchange of shovels and pails - partly for the children and partly for the adults, of which I was supposedly one. "Look we can share," I was attempting to demonstrate. The couple made no gesture of welcome.

I did not feel like an adult. My body was completely covered in sand and partially covered by an old, saggy, ill-fitting bikini. The sandless couple stood above the children and me, grimacing. The tan-skinned mother wore a beautiful black bikini and a thread-thin gold necklace. The father wore his annual gym membership. They stared at me as I played with my son and their daughter. After an eternity or just a few minutes, I dragged my shrinking self and my reluctant toddler from his newfound companion. I could not bear the scrutiny.

***

I'm not sure why I titled this piece "F*ck sharing", but that's how I feel tonight. F it.

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