Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How I Spent My Time With Mum, Part One

First, the nutshell of the whole trip (My version of the Cliff's Notes of the posts to come):

Quiet night. Thai food (cucumber salad with side of peanut sauce, mmmm...)(Coconut chicken soup almost as good as favorite place)(Tempura battered ice cream, odd)(Mum's fried bananas worth filching from her plate). Mum's cabin in the woods. Solar charged glow balls in garden, pale alien fungi or eggs, weirdly neat. Open windows. Wind chimes. Breeze. Quiet between the chimes. Lightning bug. Still. Wake in the darkness, lightning in the distance. Silence, beauty in the darkness. Early morning. Bird singing. Get dressed. Breakfast. Drive to gem show. Name tags (mine should read "faithful mule"). Find first specific vendor. Sarongs, tapestries, hey mum you need that jacket to live. Display stuff. Car. Back inside. Shop, shop, shop, eat lunch (note, when BBQ place says sauce it hot, not kidding)(yum, anyway), meet man who owns half of Pigeon Forge (big, nice, smart, hungry), but don't know that until after - talk shop re: gems and jewelry and quilting (quilting? Wow, a guy who can talk quilts...cool!), shop more. So many shiny, shiny things. Outside to tent vendors. Huge freakin' geode, want, want, want. Nineteen thousand dollars, heart broken. More sarongs. Sun hot, shoulders sore, feet hurt. Back to van. Dairy Queen. Back to mum's. Red skirt. Home. Tired. Happy. Nice.
Now, Friday night in detail:

I left my house yesterday evening to drive an hour or so North to mum's place. She lives in a patch of woods off a dirt road far North of Atlanta (if you were thinking of visiting). I listened to some music and enjoyed a little time in the car NOT playing I Spy or Find the Car for a change.

Thanks to roommate J agreeing to watch Bird until T got home, I left in plenty of time to get to mum's, so I didn't have to try and meet her at the restaurant. That was nice. I got my stuff inside (which requires climbing forty steps to the front door while praying they don't decide that today is the day they give up and fall off the house)(not exaggerating) and gave mum her Mother's day card from Bird (he made it on the computer and wrote "I love you! Bird" inside...good grief, how cute can you be??) and from me (she laughed at mine, because it was so very true) and told her my gift to her was a donation to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. She thought that was cool. I handed over two sarong shirts I'd made her yesterday afternoon before I left my place. She was pleased - I have had a pile of sarongs to make into shirts for her for over a year, and am only just now getting to them. We won't talk about the quilt I started for me three years ago. No, we won't.

We headed out to dinner - she's been telling me about a new Thai place in Clarkesville - Pacific Blue Grill, I think it's called, and she wanted me to try it. We have a favorite Thai place in Norcross, and nothing else can quite make the cut...but she swore this place came close. I am always game for Thai food. The Satay chicken was nice...but I like the cucumber salad that came with it even more. I love Thai cucumber salad dipped in peanut sauce. Holy crap, it's good. The coconut chicken soup was almost as good as our favorite place, and I will happily eat it again. Mum had spring rolls, and I tried a bite - nice and crispy, good sauce. So far, so good. She ordered Hibachi Salmon, I ordered Pad Thai. Home run times two. The waitress was attentive without being intrusive, our dinners were excellent, and we spent some time catching up on gossip and what projects we're up to. For dessert (desert, on their menu), mum had fried bananas with ice cream and I tried the tempura battered ice cream. Mine was OK, certainly worth trying once, but mum's? Was amazing. We had lots of leftovers to take back to mum's - she'll be having Thai for lunch for a week. If you're ever in the Clarkesville area, try Pacific Blue...or Blue Pacific...it's excellent

Back at mum's, we hung out for a bit on the porch. She pointed out the new garden balls she'd installed in her quasi-Zen garden. They're solar powered, charging all day and glowing softly all night. They looked like some sort of queer fungus or alien eggs floating gently above the soil. Cool. We went inside and mum had a look at the note cards I've been working on. She approved. We chatted a bit, then went to bed - two hours earlier than usual for me. I called T before I tucked in for the night, just to be sure all was well. It was.

I was in mum's guest room, on the old brass bed - the same bed in which a number of my relatives were conceived (new mattress, though) and that mum, Big Brother and I used to snuggle in at my grandparent's house when I was a kid. I'd opened the windows to let the breeze in to play, and I could hear the chimes outside. The way the sound traveled into my room, it was almost three dimensional, swirling around the room, ebbing and flowing with liquid swiftness. I lay in the darkness, listening to the chimes - some metal, some bamboo - and to the silence that fell in the stillness. A single firefly flashed his Morse message outside one of the windows, but no one answered (that I could see). It only flashed the once, then flew in search of better prospects.

The cabin was still, a deep silence that settled into my bones, peaceful and sweet. No fan groaning and off balance. No one breathing next to me, moaning or mumbling in sleep. No cats walking about, using our bodies as passages over the bed, perforating us with careless claws in need of a pedicure. No meyowling, purling, or other "play with me" noises. No child talking to himself or crying out in his sleep. No litter box scratching. No roommate closing doors too hard at odd hours. No throat clearings, toilet flushings, foot shufflings. No TV flashing, flickering, too loud, too bright, haunting the edges of my sleep. Only dark, still, abiding silence. It was...beautiful.

In this cocoon woven of soft chimes, wind song, and silence, I drifted to sleep - deep, peaceful, truly restful sleep.

I woke in the darkness, closer to dawn than dusk, hearing nature's call within me. I helped design mum's cabin and have stayed there many times, so I don't need light to find the bathroom. I didn't stub my toe, trip on a cat, prompt a plaintive meow for petting or play, or have to avoid anything on the floor. Nice. Back in the brass bed, I saw strobing light outside. It took a moment for me to understand what I was seeing - the sky above the cabin was clear, stars shining bright and merry, but in the distance, far to the south, there was a storm. Mum's cabin is in hill country (the Georgia version), the cabin halfway up a small swelling hill, surrounded by trees. What I was seeing wasn't low on the horizon, but a storm that stretched high into the night. What I was seeing was the flash of lightning, leaping between the clouds, down to the ground, high into the atmosphere. When it lit the distant sky, I could see the clouds piled on top of each other, beehive-hairdo high, spun-sugar-at-the-fair high, shining pink in the brief flares. I thought "Oh, I wonder if it's raining at home" and drifted back to sleep watching the dance of light and dark.

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