I have sat down to write a bit several times this week, and each time an alluring distraction has led me down the various rabbit trails that run through my life. To write is hard, really damn hard. Where the rabbit trails and distractions of the day have to be fought and beaten back so that there is one quiet moment that allows the thoughts to be captured is the hard part. Every single day there is a story to tell, a moment to grasp and jot down so that it won’t fade away like the dream you think you will never forget, but you do. And the days just go right on by and the memories continue to be born and die, all in a whirling rush that makes it so hard to stop for a moment to contemplate them.
I feel a bit of guilt that it takes a selfish decision to allocate the time to sit and write, to chronicle. Perhaps in future days my time keeping a log of some of the few stories I have jotted down will give some insight to those who will follow me as to what life was like here on this farm, and the periphery of my days. I wish that there were written journals from my family members who came before me, to know the moments and thoughts of their lives. Stories from my elder relatives are all that I know of, verbal renditions that change with each telling, growing fuzzier, the truth and the facts fading as memories do.
I have enjoyed writing since I was very young. Before I could read or write, I wanted to be read to over and over, and like an addict there was no quenching my thirst for words and stories. I still remember one of my earlier books about a little boy who had a red blanket and in each cardboard page there was a cut out where I could touch the soft fuzzy blanket all the way at the very end. My parents, and my grand father especially, used to hide it from me so that they wouldn’t have to bear reading it to me one more time that day, but I always managed to get it back. Pretty quickly I was writing my own stories, primary focus was horses of course. My voracious appetite for reading and writing came in handy as I got older and in school it showed up well in my grades, the teachers mistaking literacy for intelligence and aptitude.
Now it has become my job to read to my grand daughter. In, what seems like an all of a sudden flash of understanding, little Margaret is now absorbing words, and is putting pictures, thoughts and words together at an exponential rate. She is learning like a sponge and wants a word for everything she sees, and she forgets nothing. Books are her favorite and if no one can read to her at the moment she studies the pages of her sacred books in quiet contemplation, soaking it in. She will never find boredom as she grows up if her love of words continues and my guess is that it will.
Her parents recently asked us if we were up to a bit of baby sitting duty on a few nights. Well, heck yeah, we told them and began to pick up the sharp objects and whatever inappropriate items that a curious little girl might want to peruse and put them away. We were given a heads up that she would be asking for bubbles for entertainment. Not being well supplied with bubble making equipment and, being the dutiful grand father that he is, Mark went on a mission to solve this problem and came home with small bubble jars with the wand inside it, the one bubble at a time basic. He also bought a bubble gun which we found fired a continuous stream of perfectly round and consistently sized bubbles as long as you held the trigger, easy to get quantity but was somehow lacking in mystery. The best potential bubble devise he bought though, was the wand.
The wand came in two parts, not including the soap, a plastic dish which looked suspiciously like an upside down Frisbee and a large plastic loop with a long handle. The idea was to pour the soap into the upside down Frisbee and let the hoop down into the soap to get a film across the ring for some potentially super sized bubbles.
After she was dropped off for her visit Margaret made the rounds checking out her toys inside the house, then she started saying “side” which we finally figured out was short for out-side, so in compliance with her wishes, out we trod. Mark pretty quickly got the bubble making going to her delight, and very much to our amusement and laughter at her obvious delight. As a bubble floated across the porch she would squeal and laugh and say in the cutest possible way a baby could say it, “BUB-bles!”, at which point we would helplessly laugh too. After playing with the small bubble generators for a while it was time for the hoop and the big bubbles.
We set up out on the front yard between the house and the pond. The wind was blowing from the south at a pretty good clip so the wind would theoretically blow the bubbles towards the pool area. We began by settling the hoop into the soap and then slowly picked it up allowing the wind to push the film into the beginning of a huge long bubble. Most of my attempts popped before leaving the tray of soap but some formed tremendously long tubes of color that gracefully undulated across the yard. A few were nearly thirty feet long or so and two feet in diameter and had a very ghost like appearance and movement. Some broke off into large misshaped prisms that floated slowly along with the passing wind. On these large ones I could see the reflection of the things it passed as it drifted by, a perfect oval mirror of the house behind me, the spring grasses, the sky above and all things in between, the smiling faces of me, Mark, and Margaret’s aunt “Cray”, and the face of the little girl who chased them with delight on little legs that tried so hard to catch them, but couldn’t.
Margaret would squeal again and again and try to chase these lovely bubbles but they usually popped right before she got them. She would run back and wait for the next ones and repeat the same. We all were laughing and in such a deliciously nice place. There may be few things as good for the soul as taking time to make silly bubbles. To do so, and in the process of, make a baby laugh and happy is icing on the proverbial cake. It was a very good moment to savour, and like the bubbles, it too was beautiful, magical, floating, and ultimately, ephemeral.