Monday, November 26, 2007

Drizzle, Fog.

Home again, home again. Out of a gray Nashville dressed up right for the occasion, down and off the plateau (only the lasts of the oak leaves left), into sunshine and back over the mountains on 70 through Hot Springs, where we ate a kind of desperately needed charmed lunch — outdoors in November in the NC mountains — at the Paddler's Pub, then south and east through Asheville and back onto the Piedmont (we've still got the dregs of the maples in places) and a welcome mix of fog and rain and that cold still winter wet that makes me feel so much more at home, in every sense of that word.

Coming through the mountains the clouds were piling up on the sides of the slopes, skittering across, breaking up and coming back together. Long lines of geese in Tennessee. Hawks. Vultures. Crows flying with and against traffic. Weather coming in.

And everyone's back home now and through their own doors, bolts thrown behind them and deep breaths and scotch and coffee and dog walks and books on the shelves where you put them, where you intend for them to be. My pronouns have gone to hell here, but so be it. I know what this home thing looks like, what it's supposed to be, what's needed, what's gained. I know it better than anyone, or at least as well. But how, then, to reconcile this up against a non-negotiable demand I've got lodged in my skull that my family come back to Nashville or Atlanta once or twice a year and box all that up and drop back into the roles that we're supposed to remember, say the words we're supposed to know back to front?

And let's say one has a kid. Expand one's family: My mother's new favorite hopeful euphemism of choice. Let's say one has two, or three. One raises these spawn the best one knows how: don't shake the baby, don't pour scalding water on the baby, don't instill some set of disastrous complexes (social anxiety, nervousness, inadequacy, general shittiness) in the kid. Tell the kid her Science Fair project is good enough, for god's sake, even when it's not. Baking soda and vinegar. Gravity. Beans in a cup in the dark. These things can be tested, proven. Mainly. But let's say one does this, raises a family, gets it all somehow to hold together without death or pestilence or famine. Get them to where they can dress and feed themselves, get them finally out of the house.

What if they don't come back? Or: What if, when they come back, they're all completely damaged anyway?

Sweet potatoes. Onions in cream sauce. Turkey. And on Saturday night, as always, the roast beast. Whiskey. Wine. Coffee.

All that maybe and probably for the last time. That way, anyway. That's what's got me half-miserable right now.

But: Drizzle. Fog. I remember this. The drought's not broken, isn't going to be any time soon. But I think I remember this weather. Something about this, goddammit, looks familiar.

No comments: