Late June: Sketches

On the longest day: rise early, missing sleep. Drive towards the risen sun, sunglasses perched. Across the cobbles of Exeter Quay snick-snicks an urban fox, slips quick paced under cover of scratchy shrubs. 

At the home of Granma Grace, an ambulance is summoned (spoiler alert: this turns out okay).
Paramedics Julia and Maria are asking us about end of life care: revive, we say, the quality of life is diminishing, the interest in it not piqued at all.
At the hospital, our Grace is so lovely everyone must be lovely by return. She brings the sparkle. 
A doctor brings her toast with maramalade, both paramedics pop in to see how she’s doing.
We’re home in time to broil chicken for her lunch, she’s having a good food day. 
(Angina medication to be revised.)
Back home there’s Grandchild 2 picking strawberries, she tells me a whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant. A cold wind whips up around us, a lovely respite.
We head for Bude, for two hot hours of training and teaching, then we slither to the sea pool at Summerleaze.
The cold wind comes, it keeps Grandad and Grandchild 2 in the shallows.
This Granma is in the water, the water is not cold. It clings around a body like silk and magic.
In the sky, a half moon, a full sun.

Hello Longest Day - here I am. In a saltwater pool contemplating diurnal pivots.
Later, one glass of wine, one bed.

Next day: in the garden is witnessed a blackbird flying by, a whole ripe cherry in its beak.
That day we pick the cherries in. (Most of them, some are for sharing.)

And then: bright round moon in a blue sky, sunset pouring orange red along the horizon, it’s so hot the night is sluggish to start, everything is: the van we bought is having an electric fault fixed, the van lent for its absence needs a jump start.
Everything is lava, the weighted and slow kind. 
We have cold fruit tea and stick some vodka in it.
We see, as the van hood slams, a fluoro-glow at the base of the willow arch - a glow worm!
And then we are running up and down the lane, sloshing our simple cocktails, ogling living lumps of light. 

And then: eat breakfast outside in spite of heat, a sort of protest. Drink cold coffee. And select a car insurance package out of a mass of text and promises and prices. The least popular job is done! 
Do other stuff but we’re too hot to remember what we are doing. Pour water on growing things. 
Wilt. Until the evening when the river water at Meldon turns my hands blue and I’m so happy to have that cold water pressed into my skin.
Sit in the car with a hot coffee, the filling moon behind us, sunset at our feet.

It’s Wednesday again: Mr and me go to visit Granma Grace, we take a stroll to the river so Dog can dip and while she splashes a little snake swims by. A young female adder, we think, but it could have been a grass snake - either way it was a joyful thing to see.
That afternoon, Mr, Dog, and Grace slouched down for a nap, while I wrote these notes and the yellow roses nodded at the open window.


Harry Hamid said…
Writing a firsthand account with using I (OK, until the last sentence) is hard. I've tried it. It's also difficult to write without to be verbs. It's awkward or beautiful and usually just awkward when I try it.

"Do other stuff but we’re too hot to remember what we are doing." That's been my summer.

Here's to a lot more adventures with Grace...
Geo. said…
I loved this post all 3 times I read it, Lisa. Your ability to convey living moments borders on supernatural. The snake is much like the occasional visitor to our back porch --a serpent from the garden. I pick him up behind the jaw and he curls round my arm as I take him out to a more rewarding future. My best wishes for Grace's comfort and improvement, and to you.
Lisa Southard said…
'I' can get in the way, though the elimination of it wasn't deliberate at first, it was practised and became almost habitual (after a few years...) I pare words out to keep simplicity, then a pattern emerges and I follow that, if that makes sense.
We've just made our Grace a ramp to get into her garden - the heat is a bit much for long walks, even after a batch of storms.
Thank you Harry, may the heat simmer good things for you :-)
Lisa Southard said…
I have found a slow worm here, and a tribe of little lizards, but no serpents in the garden as yet. Adders are not for picking up, they are not aggressive but fast, nervous and poisonous. Had a quiet day with Grace yesterday, Dog came to lie at her feet which they both enjoy.
And thank you, as always :-)
Geo said it well. Your writing ALWAYS captivates me. It's sheer magic the way your simple words and phrases so perfectly capture the essence of things. You give weight and substance to every moment. I have no simple words or phrases strong enough to tell you how much I admire that. Keep writing!!!
Just got back from Britain ourselves - really was warm! My wife saw an urban fox kit right outside our window in London.
Lisa Southard said…
Ah, these comments are so lovely - like reading hugs :-)
Thank you thank you thank you! xx
Lisa Southard said…
London must have been scorching! Hope you had a good visit. In spite of the next-door chicken thieving, I do like foxes. It's good to share the world.

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