I’m spending this moment waiting for my car to get its oil changed and its insides and outsides washed and I’m typing on this phone while looking up and smiling and waving every few seconds at a tiny girl in pigtails and a pink shirt with frilly short sleeves, in response to her adorable incessant “hi!” as she leans over the two-foot wall enclosing the small-child fun space. I’m feeling anxious today. My time is pressed and obligations block my path, one after another. But I don’t complain much outside of this space. Or maybe I complain a lot and I’m too self absorbed to notice. I’ve always thought of this space as a creative use of my emotional baggage. Like recycling.
When I was in 4th grade, my art teacher chose me and two other students to make paper from egg cartons—the brown cardboard kind that are more like thick paper than flimsy cardboard. To make paper from egg cartons, you have to cut up the carton material into pieces and soak the pieces in water until the water and bits of carton form a mush, which you then pour into a strainer, mash flat onto a surface, and let dry. Or something. We used our homemade paper for paper mache. We blew up balloons, which Mrs. Farmer tied for us (she had tall hair—at least a foot tall), and then taped our balloons together to make the shape of a donkey. I don’t know whose decision it was to make a donkey, but it didn’t matter because after the wet strips of homemade paper dried on the form, the result was unrecognizable. We weren’t finished though. Our donkey had much more to suffer. We then cut out one-inch squares of different colors of tissue paper. Mostly blues and greens. Then, very carefully, we put our tiny 10-year-old fingers at the centers of the squares, let the edges fold up our fingers as we dipped the centers in glue, and stuck the square centers to the donkey. The goal was to cover the paper creation completely with blue and green tissue squares. But the donkey was about 3 feet long and 2 feet high. I remember because I have a picture somewhere of the three of us holding it. To cover that stupid thing took forever. Days. Months. Lifetimes. And our fingers became permenantly stained blue and green and forever lost their ability to not stick to stuff. But in the end, the donkey was amazing. It went from this weird, ugly, naked, thing, to a beautiful fluffy blue-green donkey-steed.
I have long since left the oil changing place and gone through my day and done many things and seen many things and managed to take the fun and make it the stressful when I used to be really good at the other way around.
I love my new house, very much. But I’m going to miss my trees. I should plant a lemon one.