Items found around a tree near the Hjemkomst center last week:
one patch of unmowed grass
two small fleece blankets
four-pack plastic ring (empty)
one potato chip can (empty)
two pair of gloves
one fleece pullover
one can of pork and beans (empty)
one plastic grocery bag
one granola bar wrapper
Whew! Dylan and I just got home from our longest run ever, roughly thirteen and a half miles. We were out for one hundred and fifty-three minutes, which means we averaged nearly five and a half miles per hour. It also means my legs hurt and it is time for us to eat the orange Jello we mixed up this morning.
The trails are now open and mostly clear on both sides of the river. It is just tranquil enough along the banks that I might forgive it for the record flooding this year. There are so many more opportunities to see wildlife near the river! Yesterday we saw a young deer while playing with some new friends in Bridgeview park. Today we saw a duck skimming the water for a hundred yards or so and a ridiculously brave yellow and black bird that looked like it might challenge us for the right of way before casually hopping to the other side of the road.
We also saw a person in a white car with a pair of binoculars who may or may not have been birdwatching. As I rounded the cul-de-sac in question, I hailed two men and asked directions in order to establish a short term relationship. I then informed them that a man in a parked car a hundred yards away was binocularing in their general direction. Was it a police detective conducting surveillance? A jealous husband waiting to pounce on an afternoon cuckold? Perhaps the man was extremely nearsighted and they were prescription binoculars.
The human wildlife is at least as interesting to observe as the non-human due to our complex social behavior. What possessed me to tip off the watchees to the existence of the watcher? Why do I smile and say hello to some strangers and not to others? What could possibly be soulful and refreshing about running to the point that blisters form on one’s feet? The long thoughts circle back on themselves as we arrive home tired and hungry and elated. Longest. Run. Ever.
Such beauteous expanse
of greenest leaves and grass
lots of room to play and
Playgrounds that amaze and
campers that unfazed
ignore the interstate and all its sounds.
The bridge to Goosenberry
reminds that we are married
we F’nM’r folk to our
There was trouble in our basement. We bought the house last Halloween knowing that we would have water issues since the basement floor lacked a sump pit. In our neighborhood this is like sitting at the front row of a Gallagher show: you are going to get wet.
My friend Dave stopped by with a giant saw one day, and we sliced a rectangle into the concrete basement floor. Perhaps 150 lbs. of saturated clay later, we had dug a pit that was rapidly filling with what Dylan reverently calls the “icky water in the basement”. Rather than being a slave to the shop-vac every time it rains, I can now count on the pump to act like the leg holes on a diaper and stop leaks before they occur.
At about the same time, young Dylan began sticking his fingers in his ears. And not in a playful kind of way either, it was spooky to watch. I knew that this was serious as we had taught him not to stick anything in his ears other than his elbow, and it had worked well up to this point. Finally, the boy revealed what was bothering him. “I hear that noise in the basement,” he said.
It was the sump pump of course, so Janelle and I did our best to assure him that his fears were groundless. Bravely confronting the hole in the floor, Dylan was told that the pump gets the icky water out of the basement and that, “There is nothing to be afraid of.”
The fingers in the ear behavior has stopped, but the fear remains. Our two year old now has a name for his fear, and knows that he doesn’t need to be afraid of it, yet the fear remains. “I don’t need to be scared of that sump pump,” he will say apropos nothing at all. “Can we go look at that sump pump, Daddy?” he will ask as we are on our way out the door.
Some people are afraid of snakes. Others are afraid of flying. Most of us are afraid of death, loss, and not keeping up with the Joneses. We have names for our fears, and knowing that they are irrational and silly we continue to indulge in them. We tell our children that there is nothing to be afraid of, hoping against all odds that they never believe otherwise. For Dylan, there is a sump pump to be afraid of.