On Sunday, a week ago, we pulled out of the driveway, the plowed snow high on each side of our circle. We left it all to our near and dear: Jimmy to water one-hundred-forty-six plants. (Yes, I counted the other day.) He’ll feed the geese, the ducks, the birds, and the squirrels. Dave will repair the damage from the ice dams that collected after four feet of snow covered the roof; he’ll redo the bedroom ceiling that collapsed, the walls in the bathroom, and the entire laundry room. Alice will do errands for us. “Don’t worry, they say, just go.”
I love you, house, but I’m so glad to leave you, I muttered, glancing back at the ice covered bushes, the partially frozen pond, and the narrow shoveled path to the front doors.
We drove easily, no need to hurry, three-hundred miles a day to reach Lake Mary where I was speaking Thursday night and Friday morning. What a blessing to write and to read in car…reminding me of my childhood where I’d find a hidden spot to dream over a book.
I read A WIDOW’S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates first. I kept thinking about her wild and savage grief as I read, reaching over to touch my Jim, so immeasurably grateful that he came through his hospital stays in January, that we still have time. I wanted to reach out to her, to put my arms around her. But no comfort, I know. This book will be with me, fresh in my mind and heart, for a long time.
The second book I read was A RED GARDEN by Alice Hoffman. I lingered over her story, and the words she chose to write it. You can see the characters… Hannah’s pale freckled skin, Rebecca taking off her dead child’s boots so that Amy could walk into heaven in her bare feet. True Alice Hoffman!
I told Jim I could have driven forever, the two of us, as I read and read, and formed scenes for my own book.
His answer? “Watch, you’ll be homesick in a couple of days.”
And he’s right. Here I am on my way back, thinking that the year’s two worst months are over, thinking about my children, my grandchildren, the wildlife on the edge of the pond, thinking about the house I love. Hurry.