Colorful Voices

Around us life and death. A luna moth, missing hind wings. Jared and Beren discovered it and left it beneath the clothesline for me to see.

I hear voices, loud voices. Voices of people that I love, voices of people that I respect. I hear sourceless voices from the deep, from above and around.

I'm surprised by their volume at times. I'm surprised at how inadequate I feel at times. I'm surprised at how I feel walking through my new home. I feel surprised, as though I have not earned this place.

I tell Jared this, and he says, "Maybe now that you're rooted you can work on this, on the fact that you always worry what others are thinking. What others might expect."

I'm surprised by my reaction, one that I stifle. I want to stomp my foot, and say, "But I don't want to!"

The following morning as I slice vegetables in the kitchen, I hear voices that tell me there's a very long, intimidating to do list. I consider the items as they surface, one by one. "Really, I'm doing the best I can," I say to myself.

Happiness is so tenuous. It would not exist without sadness and disappointment. Here, in my new home, I feel profound happiness. I feel my youth is in its twilight, but I feel young still. And then, there's a seen of forever. I'll be here forever.

Forever is weighty. In forever I see endings. I see myself aging. I see Jared aging, too. Little lines around his eyes. Perhaps I'll suggest a little chickweed salve. Not to erase, but to soften to slow. I'm not ready for forever.

On a recent walk we found a nest that had fallen from a tree. Blue eggs lay cracked on the ground. I guessed it may have been a thrush's nest. It's base layer was last year's flowering garlic mustard stalks, tattered leaves above that, and then cup was lined with rootlets. Beren told Jared that the baby birds had fallen out. Not to their death, but purposefully leapt as in the video we watched of baby wood ducks plunging from their nest boxes to the forest floor.

Beren's taken to asking questions in the realm of forever. "Does cheese grow?" he asks Jared.

We're about a year past him saying, "The glue is dead," when I told him it was dried up. He recently watched a chipmunk playing in our yard, and then dash into the road. I wasn't there, but Jared related that he heard the car coming and knew... "The chipmunk got hit. I'm going see if I can help it," Jared told Beren. He told him the chipmunk was dead and that he was sad and that he'd bury the animal, which is sometimes what you do when animals die. I saw the blood on the road when I came home.

Painting at the Allentown Mayfair. Beren started with orange and then purple. We painted canvases of each color. Older children found his planes of color tempting, and inscribed their names over them. Beren stepped to the side, watched, and resumed painting.

I notice that Beren's frustrated when his paintings come out brown. He loads his brush with each color generously and swabs the surface. I suggest quietly that he might use a brush for each color. He understands and follows my suggestion.

A few days later we unpack a box labeled "CRAFTS". He carefully removes bubble wrap from around tiny glass jars of watercolor tints. We hold them to the light, each one a beautiful jewel of color.

We sharpen colored pencils over a piece of paper, and I add a lump of Modge Podge to it. "Let's use the glue to move and paint with the pencil shavings. They'll stick," I say.

I add drops of the watercolor tints to his canvas. He swirls them around. Red, blue, yellow, orange, we observe. "Look you made brown by mixing." I add a different blue and watch him pause and consider which brush to pick up next.

I'd given him knowledge and thus taken some freedom from him. Perhaps he heard my voice inside him: don't make brown or keep the brushes separate.  

"That's your mixing brush. You're mixing colors. I'll add some of this brown. It's called sepia brown. What do you think?" He takes his brush and mixes the tints. "Look, red and blue are touching. They're mixing. What's happening to the colors?"

I quiet myself, and we paint in silence.