Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vacation Snapshots

The enormous white hosta blossom fills the car with sweet scent. “It smells like a lily,” says Sally on receiving it. Her surprise at our impromptu birthday celebration is genuine – the actual date is two weeks away. But the girls love a party and we all love her. So a cake and balloons and gifts and a card that Mia decorated and scrawled with a backwards “2ALLy.”

Sally made the girls a can of worms from yellow fleece stitched into socky tubes with googly eyes housed in an oatmeal can labeled “Worms.” From her new neighbors’ pile of abandoned moving detritus, she nabbed a giant mattress box and cut two horse silhouettes from the cardboard. Cut out handles, added some paint and the girls gallop around the backyard.

While Randy and I had a real grown-up dinner, she galloped with them, hid and sought, and played their favorite game of all, the most difficult of all, narrating their little animal's antics.

"And then the baby giraffe found a turtle friend!" Sally suggests. "No, no, no," corrects Mia. "Tell what's happening!" bellows Nora. "N. A. Z. I!" sings Sally sweetly and I laugh and laugh.

At the deserted twilight beach the smooth water is silver, luminous as a pearl. I strip, Britney style, down to underwear and wade in. Mia does the same and we jump up and down in the chill water that immediately warms on our skin. The water is clear to the sand below.

“Yeah! Donuts! Donuts!” calls little Eleanor, who one minute before needed as much gentle guidance out of the land of sleep as she did into it. I’m her Mommy Mercury, responding to her plaintive call, lying beside her on the trundle so she can sigh, close her eyes again, snatch a few more thumb-sucking moments of oblivion beside my enormous warmth.

We snap a photo in front of the mini-mart Mexican restaurant that brings us back to the real Mexico – lurid videotape covers, bins of dried peppers, piles of rainbow colored cookies, neat plastic packets of dusty herbs under low ceilings, between crammed tight aisles.

How is materialism destructive if you love this world? If your materialism is a closer kin to sensuality than consumerism? Today we will find pleasure where we can, in Randy’s morning coffee, hot and strong, my afternoon tea. Nora doesn’t eat her banana so much as enters it with care and attention and love, slowly pulling off the long peel, slicing the furry fruit into pieces, her fat thighs resting on the seat at the low table. Mia dances as she retrieves the ping pong ball.

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