I want to smash through this fuzziness, plow through it, remember energy coursing in my muscles. Remember joy. Remember that life isn't this gross haze I've been slogging in.
My husband is walking just behind me with Violet; I am walking with Mad. Mad is carrying a clear plastic tupperware container, excited at the prospect of catching a lizard. I wonder at her dogged enthusiasm for the endeavor, and wonder at the stirring of excitement I always feel at the prospect of lizard-hunting. I'm sure that one day we'll find The Big One, meaning that we'll find some lizard, any lizard, and bring it home. Mad would be ecstatic.
Violet's been in a mood, but when she sees me ahead, she breaks into a smile and runs to me yelling "Mama!" And I am worried she's going to trip because she's still so....loose, her legs folding around each other, arms open outward, she's reaching for me.
But she makes it to me as I close the distance and I pick her up and swing her high into the air and she is all smiles, and I take a minute to appreciate her smile, the way happiness just beams from her face when she smiles, the way her eyes pop with joy.
We make it to the dead end and stop for drinks and Wayland and Mad go down a side path looking for lizards, and I peer worriedly down at them as they navigate a steep wall leading down to a chasm where the river is winding through. I don't worry too much, because I know Wayland would never let her fall, that he's careful, and then I wonder at my steady belief in that.
Violet is thrilled because Mad's leaving her stuffed cats unattended, and she's talking to them and moving them from cement block to cement block, sorting. I lean back on one of the cement blocks and stare up at the sky and wish I had my camera because the light is beating through the trees overhead in a different way. It's still summer and still hot, but it feels different somehow, less oppressive, and as the sun warms my skin and I rest and listen to Violet playing happily. I wonder why people feel compelled to take pictures of the sky, and I know it's not really so much an attempt to capture what they're looking at but how they feel when they look at it, that there are days when the sky and you match perfectly, the wide expanse, the sun the stuff of life and you believe in it, you feel it's blessing you: go ahead and hope. Really, it's why you're here.
And Wayland and Mad come back and they don't have a lizard, but they go to another side path and a few minutes later they come back out and Mad is holding her tupperware container out in front of her, looking triumphant. "Tell her," says Wayland and Mad is so excited she can't really tell me anything. She thrusts the tupperware container out and finally says lizard! And I am on my feet peering inside.
"She caught it herself," says Wayland. "I had nothing to do with it; she just plucked it from the ground and said, 'A SKINK!'"
I look at it. She was right -- it is a skink. I look at her beaming with pride.
In a few seconds the moment passes because Mad notices that Violet is playing with her cats and there is the usual fight over stuff. It is time to go home and the girls fall apart; Mad is tired and ignoring our directions, Violet is tired and crying, wanting to walk but not reallywanting to walk, so the whole walk home is trying to make her okaywith being held but mostly just juggling her weight, trying not to drop her as she thrashes angrily. And I am miserable in it, miserable again.
Life is that. A journey that is sometimes miserable, sometimes not, toward a goal that may or may not pan out. But you go, you do it anyway, because that moment of realization, that second of attainment - the smiling daughters, the caught lizard - is what you live for. It's what you ache for. It's what sustains you on the second leg of the journey, when all you want to do is run away, or at least stop moving, or just fast forward yourself to the next destination.
I want to learn these things, then remember I have to relearn them over and over again. I want my daughters to know these things. I want them to always look for lizards. I want them always to seize the moment, grasp opportunity, like Violet did when she played with Mad's toys. I want them to always stare up at the sky even when they are tired and restless and feel miserable, and recognize it, I want them to always want to take its picture.
Reposted from Umbrella Sewing, the old blog, because it's a good reminder today.