Stepping Stones

Stones are quiet.  I love stones, an affection I have always linked to the contented hours I spent as a girl sitting atop an old stone wall in Vermont.  There is safety in stones.  I trust stones.

Almost fifteen years ago, as I turned fifty, I decided that I wanted to put a small Zen garden in the back corner of our yard, behind my vegetable patch.  The unmistakable irony is thatpath-to-tree1 the commuter rail trains pass by about twenty feet away.  Nonetheless, that was my plan, but the dream remained a dream.  Until this week, when the stones arrived and the work began…

The path starts at the entrance to my redesigned vegetable garden.  (Elevated beds have made gardening a joy once again.)  The path will continue up into the corner, leading eventually to a small stone bench beside the little weeping cherry tree, planted about ten years ago.  There will be three standing stones,  bamboo (in above ground boxes, I’ve heard the cautions about bamboo spread), other plantings and eventually a small statue.

The dream lives on and dreams take time to manifest.  So, something good did happen this week.  Here are a couple photos taken by my darling daughter (whose talented arborist boyfriend is installing the stones…)

to-house3                            nablopomo_badge_2016









The rhythmic drumbeat of the opening has always sounded like a ticking clock, which is probably not coincidental. The Chambers Brothers 1967 hit Time Has Come Today was playing in my mind this morning… Tick tock tick tock, its election day.  i-voted

It was followed by the 1976 hit by the Steve Miller Band, entitled Fly Like an Eagle, which contains the mesmerizing opening line: ”Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…” Well, the future is here, now.

Then the earworm of old music shifted to the more hopeful lyric “Time is on my side, yes it is…” Ah, the Rolling Stones from 1964, the earliest of the three songs. I am sixty-four-years-old, raised with mores** of the 1950s, solidly in the middle of the Boomer generation and the second wave of feminism. I feel honored to have lived in this country during Barak Obama’s presidency. And I am ready for our first woman President, hopeful that time is indeed on our side.

My mother died suddenly in the late spring of 2008, so she never knew Barak Obama as POTUS or the magnificent Michele Obama as FLOTUS. I am pretty sure that she would have admired them both, because she truly valued civility, intelligence and taking the high road. Besides, she had been secretly voting for Democrats for decades, subterfuge of the 1950s housewife, to cancel the vote of a Republican husband. She would have been delighted to vote for HRC today.

That Republican husband, my father, lived on, through the first five years of the Obama presidency. The best I can say to soften his sometimes-ugly bigotry is that its foundation was (willful?) ignorance. He was more vocally racist in his comments about black newscasters than about the President; his misogyny was so deeply rooted in white male privilege that it was hardly personal, although it irritated and injured me personally. In brief, he would have loved DT and I suspect our already strained father-daughter relationship might have collapsed during this campaign, unless I had been able to summon up extraordinary tolerance. Well, I am grateful that I didn’t have to go down that road. Three years since his passing, I am able to occasionally have a pleasant memory of him. Eighteen months of trumpisms might have soured me beyond recall.

So, thoughts of my parents on this Election Day 2016… I have not been able to take a truly deep breathe (and release it) for weeks. I hope tonight that I can do so.


**Mores: the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community