It’s august again and even with global warming and dire prophecies, a trip to the outhouse once the sun has gone down exposes your nether regions to a chill vacancy. I try to think of other things besides ‘fluke men’ and hornets nests when so positioned, but a primitive corner of my brain still gibbers in fear. I’m betting this primitive corner is the reason women always go to the bathroom in pairs. It’s an evolutionary tactic to ensure survival. Back before indoor plumbing and locked bathroom doors, little mary the cave woman would have taken her next door pelt neighbour with her to go out and squat over the log….not only to protect her from ‘fluke men’.
Vulnerable positions do us good in our cocoon existence. It gets some adrenalin pumping and heightens our awareness to what is going on around us. As I sat over empty space ready to bolt and felt the cool wind blow up from below I was also aware of the family outside and the distances we have crossed.
Many family members are unable to attend though choice or desire or habit. Some others may still be with us though in a less corporeal form. Or not. And some will not be with us much longer it seems. For all those reasons it was deemed a good year to open the time capsule and so, despite another downpour, off trooped a few to dig up the mystery from yesteryear. There upon opening the capsule was the discovery of wet and rot. Much was destroyed, faded and still a mystery…..much like the past. It fades and becomes more unknown with each damp dark year hidden from our light. A few tiddbits survived to be dried out and replaced into a new and improved capsule with the contents sealed in plastic ziplock bags. We will see how undegradable they really are!
Despite to cooler weather and the usual rain, it seems most had a good time. John was his usual grumpy grouchy self come sunday morning. Both karen and Micheal seem better than they have yet been since the death of Brett. Mum was laughing and discussing her trip with Elsie and looking forward to travelling. Even Tim was present on both Friday and Saturday, a previously unheard of event!
Yes there were some greatly missed. Dad most prominently was not in his chair under the shade to chat with Nan and Bill. Brett too gone from the Friday night fire and too much beer. And the earlier departures…Frances, Al, Bruce and of course the originators of the custom; granma and granpa.
And so on another sunny day in August I found myself at the graveyeard again. This time to show my youngest sister the headstone on dad’s grave and to deposit some new offerings in the vase. This time we found some cattails and goldenrod to leave. Dad always loved nature and being outside and as we stood there looking out at the valley the grave faced, there came two doe carefully stepping across the grave yard. They stopped once or twice to nibble a few blades of grass, then nervously looked around and stepped into the trees on the edge of the ravine. My sister and I held our breaths and became as still as the gravestones as the deer passed by us. A few tears welled up in my eyes as my first thought was ‘Dad would have loved this’
And too this august, like the suprise deer there comes into our midst another being that Dad would have loved. Our newest family member, Freya. Just days old and wise-eyed and smiling like she knows some great secret. Maybe she does.