“Mom?” Squints shouted down the stairs, even though he knows we have a rule in this house against shouting.
“What?” I shouted back up the stairs. I was busy crocheting; crocheting a hat to go with the scarf I made him last week. After that I’d have to make hats to match the scarves I’d made my daughters two weeks ago. I took up my crocheting again and began counting stitches to see where I’d left off.
“You know how my glasses are always slipping off my nose ever since Zoe crashed into me?”
“Well, pick them up!” I started counting my stitches again.
“Yeah?” Deep sigh.
“They fell into the toilet.”
* * *
“Neat coaster!” Filibuster said, picking up my crocheting and examining the stitches closely.
“It’s a hat.”
She set it down. “Oh.”
I picked up the hat and continued crocheting until dinner.
“Hey Mom is this potholder for me?” Squints clutched the hat to his chest.
“It’s a hat.”
He set it down. “Oh.”
That night, I continued crocheting the hat until bedtime.
“This is such a cool placemat!” V this time, the next morning. She picked it up. It flopped lazily in her hands.
“It’s a hat.” But it wasn’t. The hat hadn’t yet begun to turn. It kept expanding and growing like yeast, out of control. If I kept at it long enough, I’d have a spare tire for my car. I took the hat from V and Googled: “Why does my hat look like a pancake?” Apparently, I’m not the only one experiencing this problem. I tore the stitches out until the hat got back down to coaster size and began again.
“Neat rug, Mom!”
“Put your glasses on, Squints. It’s a hat.”
* * *
In union, a flock of starlings takes to the clouds, streaked with rain. An uneven line of geese notches a V into the sky. The trees have exchanged their green outfits for golds and reds and oranges will that eventually darken and fall in silence. There’s a carpet of helicopters on the sidewalk, and it seems as if the entire earth has quieted itself in preparation for winter: the crickets still saw away during the night, but, unaccompanied by the katydids, their call is mournful. Morning birdsong no longer wakes me. The only sounds I hear this Wednesday morning are the ticking of the clock on the mantle and the clicking of the coffee pot and the occasional hiss of the air brakes of a school bus pausing at the corner.
There’s a grove of gingko trees in a park near my home. As summer relinquishes its hold, their leaves turn yellow and their seeds become orange and soft and drop to the ground. This time of year, the seeds smell of vomit and it’s for this reason that many municipalities have removed the gingko trees. But in the park every year, a handful of gloved people will kneel in the grass at the base of the gingko tree and gather up those seeds.
I tear out the stitches from my hat and Squints fishes his glasses from the toilet and I wonder what will become of the gingko trees.
Labels: Boys, Crocheting, Daughters, Environmentalism, Girls, Sons