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Simple Needs

Sunday, November 12, 2006

There is nothing--nothing--that makes me feel the passage of time like visiting a maternity ward. Like holding a brand new baby, a baby so young she doesn't know her mother's cheek from her breast. Standing there with my great big lanky kids, who walk and talk and nag and sass, looking at a little proto-girl who can't even hold her head up, who slumps forward like a little bag of beans, I hear time screaming by, feel its chilly wind. I think about starting from scratch, what it was like to have another person in my arms, where once there was only a huge, taut belly. I muse on the absolute miracle of human procreation. That two people I love, and who love each other, could make another person I will also love. A perfect person.

This is Oona Lazer. She's one day old in these pictures. She is perfect. Everything on Oona works wonderfully, and she's a champion nurser, already prone to irritation when someone tries to substitute a finger or knuckle for the real thing. Watching her face cloud over when she's denied what she wants, I know there's a thinking, reasoning mind in there. She has a few things to learn. You can't get milk from your mother's cheek, for one. But you can make her laugh by gumming away at it.

Seeing Zane and Margaret embarking on the greatest ride of them all was bittersweet. I miss the fat tummies and the rounded cheeks. I miss the sound of a smile behind a pacifier, and the smell of the back of a baby's neck. I don't miss being on call 24 hours a day. Well, I still am, but there are lots fewer calls these days.Talking in the car on the way back home from the hospital, Bill and I reflected that we have maybe eight years left with Miss Phoebe, 11 with Mr. Incredible. If we do our job right, they will be out of here like arrows shot from bows, like we both were. Off to find their own way. Eight years, fewer than we've had with her already. We can't afford to waste a moment of it.

And so we are taking our babies to New Mexico with us, for ten days of arroyos and mesas and canyons, clamoring snow geese and crooning cranes. We'll try to show them a coyote, a roadrunner, mountain bluebirds, Townsend's solitaires, a Santa Fe engine. We'll make them eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For this trip, I have borrowed Shila's Panasonic DMC-FZ30 8 megapixel camera with its 35-420 lens. Ironically, this is a camera that my friend Cindy House told me about, that I told Shila about. Shila bought it; I hung back, because I had no money. Now Shila is moving onward and upward in the photo world with a new 16 megapixel Nikon. She wants this one back, make no mistake, but in cameras, it's often hard to climb back down the rungs. This camera takes pictures when you press the shutter button, not 15 seconds later. I know, as I make the first preliminary photo rambles with this machine, that there is no going back to my old camera, the Olympus C-750, with 4 megapixels and 10x zoom.. And yet I think you'll agree that it's been a fine friend; it has taken virtually every photograph in this blog for the past year. It can do a lot, but I need a camera that will catch a fleeting expression or roll of the eye, a bird before it leaves the branch. I need megapixels that will permit publication. I need, I need, I need. What do I really need? Food, shelter, something to do, the knowledge that I am needed and loved, Origins skin care products, and an eight mpxl camera, to name about 1/2000 of the things I need. Human beings are such funny animals.

Oh, to be Oona for awhile, needing only milk, sleep, warmth, love, and clean didies.


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