Tuesday, May 22, 2012

on rainy days, I take a shower: a wee vignette on gardening and parenting

California poppy and marigold seedlings in my garden

snaps with alyssum

I don't mean that I step outside into the rain and “shower” in a rain shower. While this conceit is quaintly poetic in a not very interesting way, what my gardening poet mama self means is in fact quite literal. Believe me, poetry aside, I know something about the literal. I live with an engineer.

I mean, on days when the weather is rainy, I step into the bathtub – a beautiful clawfoot tub one well-meaning former owner of my 116-year-old farmhouse painted green on some decorating bender which I'm sure at the time seemed like a glowing stroke of genius, and I turn on the water, which, thanks to that engineer, for the first time in 116 years, sprays from a shower pipe stationed above the green claw feet in my 5' by 7' bathroom that sits, naturally, as a modern afterthought – urban, city slicker cousin to the original outhouse – off our kitchen, itself a modern afterthought.**

I take a shower when it rains because I will probably do less gardening on these days and it seems a safe enough effort to scrub my fingernails and untangle my hair. Of course, I must qualify with “probably” because you do never know. One of my first acts of gardening after moving to Massachusetts was planting daffodil bulbs in a blizzard. But there you are.

The other part of my rainy day hygiene routine is that as a mom of a 9-month-old baby and a 7-year-old first-grader, the mornings get more than a little busy and the evenings no less so. Showering doesn't tend to happen every day, as unAmerican as that is to admit.

When I get to take showers, however, I am loathe to leave the green clawfoot. The world becomes a caressing stream of warm water, the knots in my neck show signs of wanting to unlock and ideas percolate among the synapses of my brain like gorgeous soap bubbles shimmering in rainbow colors.***

And then I get out.

“Mommy?!” “Mommy??” MOMmy!!”

** This is the kind of unending sentence that my husband tells me turns readers off. However, I like to think that someday (when I'm discovered, right?) it will be the kind of signature within my writing that marks my style. It will be, in fact, the REASON I am discovered -- some editor will be reeled in by such a layered and original voice and my college political science professor who handed me back my essays exasperated (“Kitty, can you please just give me a subject and a verb and move on!”) will have to write me an apology. (One sentence of substantial length will do, Jeff.)

***And here, I leave the literal to move toward the poetic once again, albeit in a somewhat trite fashion since these are the first comparisons that come to mind and the baby is due to wake up any minute and wouldn't it be nice to post a blog entry?
kale with rhubarb leaves

end of the allium

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