Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sun Rising in the West -- Valentine's Day

The big secret is that on Valentine's Day here in South Jersey the sun comes up in the west! It comes into the south window and bounces off the woodwork and west-looking windows of the livingroom, filling the room with morning light. This is a definite harbinger of warm good things.

Another secret is that on this day the sun at about eight o'clock AM makes the shadows of the two mailboxes reach exactly the middle of the road. I am looking at evidence at this very moment. The trees and shrubs are still shrugging close to themselves with the cold, but there is summertime boldly confronting everything out there. I see the shadow of a very small bird on a limb against the neighbor's porch wall. That bird knows what I know (or actually, I just learned what he already did know) about the sun on this day.

Another secret is that I did my 70th birthday performance just last Saturday at the home of my son and his wife in Seattle. A few days early, granted, since my birthday is still about a week away, but I wanted photo evidence. I have not yet received the digital pix my son took, but I have a hint, included here at the top of the page.

Visiting my grown children and my grandchildren, grown and little, is like a rejuvenation and rehabilitation retreat. It is not that I am resting while I am there. It is more that I am actively gathering up as if there is no tomorrow every scrap of information and sweetness that is there and stuffing it into a cache like rare treasure to be taken out slowly over a long period of time to be re-savored. Some of these pearls are irretrievable except in such a cache. Thank goodness for the digital revolution which lets me take a series of shots of my daughter-in-law feeding something green to her nearly nine month old daughter. It should be noted that this hefty grandbaby has been called, during this chubby, molar-getting, drooly/smiley period "Square-face SpongePants." She has a remarkably cheeky face (and has since she was born) and the largest of blue eyes. Smiling she is the Gerber Baby of old. When she is watching with all her might, her face relaxes and, well, this is she last summer.

I am told that she is endowed with her maternal grandpa's cheeks (which are normal looking now) and I know she is endowed with her Dad's startling blue eye-color in huge eyes from her mama's family tree, but never before seen in other than brown! We have yet to really know about hair. It may be reddish, like mine, but there is really still too little of it to tell much. She is a peek-a-boo expert and also loves horsie riding on people's laps. Her favorite word is Da.

And my two and a half year old quarterback has just recently taken his mother, his grandma, and his baby sister on a tour of the Seattle Aquarium where he totally occupied the space with exhibits of his own. He kissed visiting babies of his sister's ilk on the head while guiding others, adult and youthful, to the SHARK! and the STURGEON! He patiently stalked a pigeon up and down stairs, a ramp and then up the stairs again. That was one of his favorite exhibits. He also found Nemo, his film favorite, and Nemo's buddies, conveniently displayed in a case together.

The exhibit curators were as taken with him as he was with the waterfalls, the anemones ("It's pokey, Mommom, feel it!") and starfish and otters. They loved it when he crowed "COOOOOL" about everything. Obviously they recognized a budding oceanographer in this little blond kid with the energy of a blast furnace and a mind absorbent as a blotter.
I was there for a week, and could go on and on as grandmothers are wont to do. I could tell about swings and baseball games, football games in which the quarterback wears only a helmet, small stowaways in my bed, and also the cold shoulder given when it was time to say goodbye.

Is it any wonder I turned upside down a week before my birthday? Life is wonderful, though fleeting. I plan to watch next year for the sun rising in the west. Plenty of sunshine there, as far as I'm concerned. Plenty here too.

Green Thumb