LADY WITH BROOM

It’s spring.The first of May. Remember the ditty, “Hurray, hurray, the first of May, outdoor loving begins today.” I cleaned it up. It’s a dirty ditty.

The howling winds of April and April showers and thunder storms played havoc with my darling Red Barn. A gaping gap, amputated  branches, squished and squashed everything else hurt my feelings, saddened my heart, made me cry and close my eyes. Can it ever, will it ever, come back together again?

It took forever to find guys to come out and clean the clutter. An enormous branch, fresh and green and frothy fell halfway  into the narrow, winding road. You couldn’t see through it. You couldn’t see around it. Driving through my gates-if you could find them in the collapsed green jungle entrails-was a disaster ready to happen. Something had to give.

The first guys I hired showed up  pickled with a chain saw that sounded as though it needed a transfusion. Resourceful, they pulled out their pocket knives and began slashing wimpy leaves and tendrils and whistled while they worked. They were happy drunks. What they saw was weeks and weeks of whittling. Fortunately, for all of us, the city and county showed up and did the heavy. My happy workers took a fair share of the money I promised them and took off on a spree. Their battered old car sounded worse than the chainsaw. I hoped they’d make it home.

I sat by the side of the road and sniffled and snuffled and bleated like a goat. My nose ran. My hair came unscrewed, my spirits with it. I was all worked up and no place to go. Stinky gray sweats sweated and my rubber boots pinched my toes.  I usually smile and wave at the sky and the cars that go by, but this day I picked up a handful of pebbles and aimed to miss a passing bumper, scratch the blue.

My thoughts turned to heaven. I considered converting. All the old’a’guys- thumpers who cursed and hated my guts- had won. They knew the Guy to pray to. Nasty old critter. Gaea had deserted me. The winds of hell swooped down and,  like Mr. Peabody’s coal train, hauled me away. Warmed by the sight of sun-dimpled meadow, watching the whiteface lumber and graze, listening to the blue birds sing, smelling the scent of this beautiful day, tasting my tears, I felt sorry for myself.

I needed a drink.

I needed a broom.

I straightened my back. Sucked in my gut. Lifted my head and shuffled my feet. Moved them, surprised to find my ancient body followed. Swinging through the  gates I made it to the barn. I found the barn broom-I have house brooms, bath brooms, kitchen brooms, computer brooms, quite an assortment-rode it with youthful exuberance over the red gates and began to sweep. Whatever got in my way I swept. I swept leaves.  I swept dirt. I swept sawdust. I swept the whole goddam street.

I uncovered a red brick pavement I forgot I had.

I whistled while I worked. It’s a metaphor. Mama’s back. There’s work to do.

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