Pink eye

Doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda) in fruit. My eyes look more like the pink pedicel than the white fruit with the black blossom end of this native woodland plant. 

I developed pink eye sometime over Thursday evening. I rested Friday, as much as a mother can rest with a baby. Two loads of laundry, dishes, kept the fire going, and so on. My husband took my son food shopping so I could rest.

"I'm so busy taking care of everyone, who will take care of me? I've been cooped up for a week." I said. Be honest, Momma. I didn't say anything. I wailed with tears streaking my cheeks.

I'm the running the circus poorly this week. My lately (ten days running) needy, clingy, nursy, pants-tugging, cranky, constipated baby by day turns into a frequently waking baby by night. With me, a trying to get too much done Momma by day and a lay my head down to rest but instead feeling a tickling which becomes a wracking cough with diaphragm-bursting sneezes and a painfully sore throat by night who wakes with eyelashes glued together.

During my son's nap times I've been pulling weeds from the cold frame (cilantro, collards, and chard, all thinning out but still supplying a small serving every other day. Recently discovered aphids may change all that.) and splitting knotty, 18" diameter hunks of sugar maple and black cherry with wedges and a 4 pound hammer. Crazy, yes, but they've been cluttering up the yard for a few years and burn so hot in the wood stove.

When my son awakes, I think, "Momma doesn't know how to rest."

"Take it easy," my Mom says over the phone, "You know you need to go to the doctor for that."

"I know, I've had pink eye as an adult, Mom!" I'm my own mother's cranky baby by day.


In college, I met a girl who ran away from depression. "I was depressed, so depressed. I started running. I just ran until I was no longer depressed," she told me.

I split away with the 4 pound hammer until I'm no longer depressed. I walk around the stump, giving a whack at every quarter turn so the wedge remains straight. Clink, clink, metal hammer against metal wedge. Clank, the wedge is in, the wood is splitting. I listen to the slow crack of fire-orange black cherry wood. It's like listening to a boat rend apart upon the waves.

I wonder if my husband can hear the sound from his post in the garden. His wife is splitting sugar maple, also called rock maple, also called hard maple. His wife is splitting impossible to split wood, and she has pink eye. She says she'd like to live off the land, and she's working at it. She's not buying candlemaking kits at Whole Foods, she's splitting rock maple.

The wedge is stuck, so I roll the stump on its side and hammer another wedge into the widening split. I hammer away until the tension in my body is replaced by a numb vibration caused by metal against metal. It's a strange feeling but better than crying in the messy kitchen.