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A Change in the Weather

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Friday saw a front come through with gusts of wind that had to be 60 mph. The sunrise that morning portended something big. If you were a sailor, would you stay in port today? Me, too. By early afternoon, the lawn grass was lying flat; our platform bird feeder was blown apart, the nails ripped right out of the base. Liam's willow, which had only just turned gold, danced wildly in the wind, losing hundreds of leaves with each gust. It turned from silver back to gold, its fronds whipping the light into a fine froth.
I knew it would be naked before the week was out. You have to love weeping willows, growing into the size of a barn in eight years. Leafing out in the spring before any tree with a crumb of sense even thinks about it. And then, hanging onto their leaves, defiantly green, until December. Turning gold all in a rush, and holding their leaves as we shop for Christmas trees. Yes. This is a tree what am a tree.
The cold came down, and it seemed right this time, more appropriate than 68-degree balm. Time for turtlenecks and indoor projects, mugs of hot chai and a fire in the fireplace. Today, Liam worked alongside me for much of the day, reveling in the newfound power of tracing paper. You can see his willow through the window, minus several hundred thousand leaves. It was planted the summer I was carrying him, in 1999, and it was barely big enough then to hold up a warbler.
He laboriously traced an image of Lightning McQueen from a boot box, then began coloring it with the markers Anne MacArthur (Mrs. Rondeau Ric) brought him from Canada. How many times I have sent silent thanks to Anne for this simple but perfect gift. This little marker rack is the only one our kids have ever actually used. They enjoy replacing the colors as they use them, and being able to see all the colors right there in front of them. It's a bit of genius. Organization, to my mind, is a strong foundation for creativity. To that end, I clear Liam's workspace every morning, and neaten up his materials, and that's all it takes to inspire him to spend hours on his drawings. How I love having my boy work with me, chatting, then falling silent as he concentrates. Like me, he usually has a tag sticking the wrong way out the back of his shirt. Focus. He's got it. He's saying he wants to be an artist now, and when a seven-year-old says he wants to be something, you'd better listen. I knew I was going to be an artist by age seven, and I knew I was going to study birds. Liam's chosen professions have mostly centered around trains until now. The one he hung onto longest was "cook in a dining car." He wanted to fix food for people in the dining car of a train. Phoebe used to want to sell popcorn in a movie theater lobby for a living. I think she wants to be a writer now.
The imminent arrival of my blogiversary has me in a reflective mood. I went back in the archives today to see when I made the first real post on this site: December 18, 2005. I started to look at past posts and found I couldn't. The only direction I can face now is forward.


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