Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Mother

        Early on a turning day, the quiet veranda beckoned. Out of the mist, the day unhurriedly dawned. With the azure sea waiting, Martha slipped on her down vest, picked up her coffee cup and navigated her way hip-first through the screen door, carefully, so as not to let it slam and waken the twins. She was jealously guarding that quiet half hour before the riotous demands for breakfast began.

       Settling in the rickety wooden deckchair, she took a deep breath and made a firm decision: for the next 30 minutes, she would quiet the loud lists forming her day and just be.
       Past the salt-scraped floor-boards, she let her gaze fall on the dewy garden. Oak leaves and acorns were starting to scatter to fill in the blanks between the last remaining cosmos and cleome. The rockery, guarded by still-blooming marigolds and copious hens and chicks would soon be joined by the wild mushrooms - boletus and the little browns - the camel-colored, earthy ones. But today, there was still the promise of warmth in the air. The fall sun was doing its best to warm the swelling sea.

        Autumn had long since been Martha’s favourite season, her internal clock tuned to the new beginnings the school year offered. But today, well into October, a deep melancholy threatened to overtake her as she thought of them - her boys. It was their last year of high school. Where had the time gone? Why was it moving ever-faster at break-neck speed? They were no longer those tawny-haired, sweaty boys tearing up and down the beach, delighted in the simple things - the cast-off crab shell, the deep blue sea glass or the intact bivalves washing up on the shore. They had run from tide-pools to her lap for quick kisses, snacks and explanations to beach questions, only to fade into their bunks at day’s end to dream blue in quiet exhaustion.

        Now her sons needed her less. Their eyes betrayed their hearts - they already had one foot out the door. As much as she told herself that it would be tragic if they forever stayed within her reach, she longed for more days when they saw her as someone with something of value to impart.
       “Enough!” Martha said aloud, “Enough.” Taking a sip of her coffee, and struggling out of her chair, she watched the ‘V’ of geese flying high overhead and heard a stirring in the kitchen.
       “Mom!” she heard and she smiled to herself.

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