Wednesday, September 15, 2010

sometimes I am a superhero.


Outside there is a clanking, a sick whine.  I don't know what it is but feel suddenly, at the pit, a cold heaviness. 

Our summers stretch late here.  Both Middlest and Young still at home for one more day.  "What is that?" they ask me.

Soon they run back in.  What it is . . . is the 100-year old Doug firs along the road.  Mowed.  This is the road department's new low.  I've seen the damage along other county roads, walking over the hills Saturday mornings - cracked branches, barked, ragged, open to pest infestation, disease. 

"Someone ought to do something about that," we say to each other, my friend and I.

Middlest and Young are outraged.  Voices hot, faces full of grief . . . and expectation.

Who am I?  A tired woman at the midpoint of a life.  Heel so painfully inflamed I can't walk my hills -  just when I need to carry double loads.  Sometimes I think I miss my Eldest, but what I miss most are the years of my competence and strength.  Those years of speaking earnestly, looking into those soft young faces, earnest words about not accepting victimhood, not standing by when wrong is done. 

I feel victimized. 

YoungSon's eyes are frightened as he describes what's gone.  Something green and lovely now matchsticks, litter.  These trees older than the road, so big they have a presence that we've read as protecting, benevolent, patient, wise.  The profanation of their sanctity, their age and heavy shade frightens me.  Their vain dependence on us who have failed them when we thought we sheltered under them.

Middlest, face fierce, pauses to catch her breath. 

I sigh, breathe deep, run my fingers through my hair.  "Well, I'm going to need my gray jacket."

"YES!" says YoungSon.  "I'll get it!" and runs to my closet.  He calls, "Where are your boots?" Because he knows the costume I wear for battling injustice. 

*   *   *

After I return with promises of reparations, I ask my children, "What will we do the day the gray jacket gets ragged and wears out?"

"You can save a piece of it," says YoungSon. "You can keep it in your pocket always."

9 comments:

Mrs. Organic said...

I love that poster (where can I get one?). And I love that you have a uniform for justice-fighting.

Lisa B. said...

Please tell me this is the beginning of a saga, a fighting for justice saga. So excellent that you've identified the wardrobe for it.

Cait said...

What happened to the tree?? Did they actually cut it down or just scrape the bark off? Is it okay?
What happened to you heel? Is it okay?

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Be okay. I love you.

Emma J said...

Branches mowed - so though the guy inside his machine said when I caught up with him "If I had my way everything in the right of way would come down." the tree is still standing. We just need to get it trimmed clean before insects and diseases get in and weaken the tree.

Heel? Just the same I've had trouble with the past 6 months - except now it's flared - sharp pain no matter what I do. Worrisome but I'll get myself into the doctor.

Emma J said...

Mrs. O - poster is actually from the Shrine to Dog that is the restroom of my favorite lunch bakery in our town. It looks vintage but I could ask if she (baker/proprietor) has made a copy?

Lisa B - I only wish. A saga of justice sounds so much more inspiriting than a saga of daily survival. Hmmm....

B said...

Yes, please ask Mrs.Bakery if we can copy it. I love it too.

That bathroom sort of makes me weird. All those dogs staring at me while I pull my pants down.

Creepy, I say.

suzanne said...

It is good to battle for trees and good you don't wear a cape while doing it. You know what they say about capes.

Emma J said...

Edna would never approve of the cape.

townmouse said...

I remember when I went away once and I came back and found the trees that lined the alley way at the back of our house had gone. Our next door neighbour had gone out to fight the good fight but she'd been ignored. She'd said to them 'if my neighbour (i.e. me) had been here you wouldn't have got away with this!'. I wish I had her faith ... it made me realise I had something though. It still makes me angry when I think about it and it was more than 10 years ago now.

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