Oh, Ani and I had a nearly perfect day on Friday. The sun was screaming at us to get out the door, and though we grumbled a bit about the bait and switch - it was not as warm as all that - we got over it and were on our way. Glorious.
Ani was in search of signs of spring. Shadows? Check. Wind? Check. Puddles? Yup.
We headed to one of our go-to places for cooler days when the sun is shining. The road takes us through fields, with very little shade, so we can drink in our fill of sky.
We brought along our nature journal pages, and Sky was what Ani had in mind for hers today. We looked at the horizon and what few things broke the ridgeline that we could see - a few cell phone towers, probably, and a nearby tree. Ani mostly wanted to draw the clouds...
Then we decided to draw each other, quickly, and see what we came up with...
Tada! Ladies and Gentlemen, this is undoubtedly and absolutely me:
I am so in love with this portrait of myself that I want it tattooed to my body. Is that narcissistic, or just redundant? Not sure. It started with my eyebrows and ended with my buns.
I had to sit still for my portrait, so I waited until Ani was lying down to draw hers...
I can't even begin to tell you what all we talked about. It's all talk, outward processing of everything, questions, remarks, ideas, ponderings...I do remember that she was noticing that when she scrunched up her eyes in the sun, she saw red, and then when she looked down at her white paper and opened them she saw green...and as we lay in the grass we noticed that we could see the heat rising from the path that was warming up...she exclaimed, "cool! I'm looking at heat vapor!" It is really cool!
Stop #2 was uptown, to more fully enjoy Spring Break week in a college town - no people! We headed to Ani's favorite lunch place for hot dogs with cole slaw and baked beans and fries...mmmmhmmm, we were doin' it up. Then we decided we needed more sun and more walking and walked up to the Campus Green and across to a secret garden my friend M told me about...and it was magical!
Ani ran the paths, immediately absorbed in cedar limbs and dirt passageways and briar blockades and frozen ponds...
I meanwhile was obsessed with this mystery tree. Witch hazel? I really don't know...but it was so brilliantly red and so unexpected and beautiful.
I was making guesses left and right on what things were - I think this might be a banana corm? I loved the pattern of what was left.
And there was this lovely surprise, tucked under a holly tree. A hellebore, or lenten rose. It made me instantly homesick for Seattle.
I went poking around under bushes, suspecting there might be more, and there were...
It was all surprising and beautiful and we had ourselves such a gem of a day. Even met this little guy, who I fully expected to speak up like Mr. Beaver from Narnia. Nope. Just eyed us warily...
So after all of this, and more traipsing about campus, I was convinced by my charming daughter to head to the local uptown bakery which specializes in highly sugary concoctions - I mean like cupcakes with ginormous pompadors of frosting further decorated with the hairclip equivalent of sugary candies on top. It took us forever to decide what level of decadence we were decending to but finally I selected a "star goo", which was like a buckeye on a binge, and Ani chose a fat pumpkin cookie slathered with caramel frosting. (I know a few of you are wondering - where are the photos? Do we need 52 photos of plants, but none of the cupcakes and caramels? Sorry, I don't know what I was thinking...)
Anyway. Ani thinks it was the cookie, and I almost let it go at that, but really, she got the stomach flu somewhere around dinner time. So, that is how we spent the rest of our "alone" weekend - the rest of the family flung far - "sleeping" huddled up together, one arm around the girl, the other holding the bowl; reading chapters and chapters of Caddie Woodlawn; watching thank-goodness-for-Netflix; snuggling, drinking tea, snuggling, drinking tea, snuggling..."Mama? You and me are the same in two ways: sleepy and love."
Today, after two hours straight of cheerful chatter, she crashed again, just worn out, but peaceful. We crawled out on the roof to catch some of the beautiful day and she said, "I am finding peace." This girl, she is deeply sweet when she is sick ("Mama, you take such good care of me"), and you know I would never ever wish for her to feel as awful as she did, but I found myself so grateful to have these few days with her, to just love her and care for her; I was so very happy to have nothing to do but that.