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Song for September

September 21, 2009

So, I’m feeling a little tiny bit attached right now. September is a 30 day spree of perfection and each new brushstroke of yellow in the trees is a reminder of how fast it’s slipping away. There are the garden tomatoes that quietly turn from orange to crimson overnight. There’s the summer squash flaunting yellow-skirted flowers, teasing the 40 degree nights. Or the September sunlight itself, offering up a buffet of succulent choices: Ride bikes? Play at the river? Hike through the patchwork quilt of colorful oaks while Col loads his pockets with “special” rocks and Rose begs to sample every wild berry?

Oh and the fruit fly experiment taking place in our kitchen? It’s like tenth grade chemistry class without all the flirtatious notes sneaking around. Those wobbly-winged specks teeter around our bowls of fruit, searching out a tiny crease in a tomato’s pleather-y red skin. Col caught me trying to crush the little insects between the slap of my hands. “Why are you doing that Mama?” My innocent four year old asked. Telling your child that you’re trying to kill something because it’s bothersome makes all that parental jabbering about how we don’t even point a pretend gun at anyone and furthermore only kill animals we’re going to eat, sound like a certain former president’s vacuous sound bytes. And the whole death-lesson only got weirder because right then a bird thumped into our window and we ran downstairs to see if we could help save its precious life, after y’know, casually murdering fruit flies. It was an evening grosbeak, who with its rollicking yellow posse spent the last month stripping our chokecherry tree from top to bottom like an upended ear of corn.

evening grosbeaks at work in chokecherry

evening grosbeaks at work in chokecherry

I was moving the stunned bird to a high spot where our elderly cat couldn’t take advantage of an easy target, perhaps balancing out some sticky karma when Col caught a grasshopper. He promptly carried the winged insect to the chicken coop to dangle in front of the hens’ beaks. “That’s such a treat for them, isn’t it Mama? Those chickens say thank you to me.” Okay. Apparently Col can live with some contradictions.

My mother tells me she keeps waiting to forward this blog to some of her more squeamish friends, because of all this dead animal talk. And here I did it again. Truthfully, I think death is sort of a water-cooler topic amongst the four year set; death, poops and boobs seem to come up quite a bit around here.  Col asked me the other night at dinner, “what does it feel like to be eaten?” “What made you think of that honey?” I stalled. “I just thought of it with my own head.”  I gave him another weird politician-skirting-the-issue answer, explaining that it was a really big question and most animals are dead before being eaten like you know when a lion kills a deer by pouncing on it and breaking its neck or a coyote shakes a squirrel to death, except of course that grasshopper you fed the chickens was alive and does that answer your question honey? Col nodded and ate another bite of elk steak. Contradictions, indeed.

There’s a frost brewing in the air tonight, so say the meteorologists. We’ve got all our old sheets and towels and blankets waiting like an eager military troop to come in and shelter our tender garden vegetables.

Here’s what I’m already missing about September:

shades of green: lettuce, kale and chard

shades of green: lettuce, kale and chard

grasshopper fiends

grasshopper fiends

his "camera smile" has gotten really weird, but look at those tomatoes!

his "camera smile" has gotten really weird, but look at those tomatoes!

fruit fly heaven

the fruit fly singles bar

basil, will you be here tomorrow?

basil, will you be here tomorrow?

cosmos rioting

cosmos rioting

who's sweeter, the girl or the peach?

who's sweeter, the girl or the peach?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Barb permalink
    September 21, 2009 7:13 pm

    ok so i managed to laugh quietly until i got to this one: “weird politician-skirting-the-issue answer” at which I point i laughed till i cried (as usual – please ask your parents if you were always this funny, or was it only childrearing that brought it out… ). Keep celebrating the contradictions, they are often the heart of the matter. And of course the girl is the sweetest!

  2. Julie permalink
    September 21, 2009 10:12 pm

    I love reading how you notice the little things about your kids. We often get so caught up in the big things that we miss all of the beauty that lies within the chaos. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to cherish the little moments that can get unnoticed.

  3. siana permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:26 am

    Loved the article. Elk stake. The pictures are wonderful too.

  4. rebecca permalink
    September 23, 2009 12:31 am

    you are too funny…and so right on! it can be quite challenging answering the questions of a 4 year old. as we feed bumblebees, grasshoppers, and flies to our pet praying mantis, i have to keep myself from squirming as she munches away. aidan always apologizes to the sacrificial insect as he delights in watching “petie” (we thought she was a boy at first) devour her lunch.

  5. Peggy permalink
    September 23, 2009 9:11 am

    great post, rachel. Love the bit about death, boobs and poop being ever present in most conversations. charlie is all about death right now- “where is papa?” (in heaven) – “if he’s in heaven, how did he get there?” (the angels took him) “what do angels look like?” (i don’t know, they have wings and wear white gowns with halos??). we take so much of the information we know for granted – or I guess – we just KNOW the answers so don’t bother to take the time to think too hard about them. His questions are really making ME think!

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