Saturday, June 14, 2008
Today is my birthday. SJG and I were supposed to be in southeastern Wisconsin, celebrating with my father and his cats. But we can't get there. Major sections of the two big interstates that connect us to where he lives are closed indefinitely in Wisconsin because of the flooding that is devastating parts of that state, much of Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, northern Illinois, and likely Missouri. It's a catastrophe, with thousands of people evacuated and homeless. And the rain just keeps coming, day after day after day.
I'm grateful that my father is safe, that my family and friends are safe, and that SJG and I are safe. I can only imagine the shock and grief of the people in flood-stricken areas across the Midwest. But I'm also just plain old sad for me because I'm not with my father on my birthday, as has become tradition in my middle age.
My father and I are talking a lot on the phone this weekend. He called once yesterday; I called twice after that. And then we talked again this morning, and I'll call tomorrow for father's day. When he asked how SJG and I were going to mark my birthday today, I said, "There is no Plan B," and we laughed. But actually, there is a Plan B: I mowed our lawn this afternoon with the push mower (pictured above).
SJG and I used to have a lawn service, but they kept killing the grass with too much this and that, and they mowed the grass so short last year that it died during the hot summer days of July and August. So we decided to do the job ourselves this year, and I'm hooked on the mowing. I love the whir of the blades and the slight resistance of the grass--especially when it's long and thick--as I push the mower across the lawn. I love the green smell, the methodical back and forth of the effort, and the delicate covering of clippings when I'm done. I like having Buddy with me, too, enjoying his rubber balls, his bones, and the sun. And today, I thrilled to the sight of my peonies (below), which opened just as they always do every year. On my birthday.