The sky was slightly schizophrenic this morning as if it couldn't decide what to do with itself. But by noon, most of the clouds had blown eastward and in their wake a semi-summer sky appeared. Glory be to the Kachinas of the Irish seaboard, I muttered to myself as I put foot on the stoop to step outside, take a breather, inhale the air and take a bow to the day. It was almost warm, in between really and even though the clothes line is, in its tipsy drunken stance, a sorry windblown sight, I optimistically hung out a batch of laundry and kept my fingers crossed, figuratively speaking, that the fine weather would endure.
At this time of year breakfast time seemingly stretches on interminably. Eggs can be fried and bread toasted at any given hour before noon. In early June, I complained about the lack of schedule. The comings and going of hungry teens but now, early August and I have grown accustomed to the chaos, allowing it to be, allowing them to dig out the pans and sizzle the eggs, knowing that by September all will have resumed a quiet orderly pace, the house emptied by eight am. Time will be allotted for real writing then and contemplation will surface on a new level and so it goes. Everything is a circle.
In the afternoon,I decided to go into town. I had a few errands to do. At the bank ,the queue was long but I did not mind one bit because I happen to like queues, I like looking at the people, the earrings the woman in front of me wore with style, the way she had tied up her hair in a french knot that tumbled down like a handful of pick-up sticks and the curl of white fluff that I wanted to reach out and swab from the perfect man with in the otherwise perfect suit . After the bank, I headed to the kitchen store for a garlic press but they were ''out'' of them. Must have been a rush at the weekend, maybe the swine flu is causing a demand, or is that the vampire flu? Oops. On I battled to the bookstore. It's that time of year again and armed with two book lists from the boys' school, I walked in saying to myself ''you can do this Mary, be brave, just follow the list''. The list was long. I gathered the books one by one and battled my way to the till. Knowledge is heavy. Four hundred euro later I struggled out. Depleted in every sense of the word. I was feeling a little cheated and tried my best to justify the cost of the books but surely, there must be a better way.
I stopped for coffee at a sidewalk cafe and still I felt unsettled. Four hundred euro. My god, a weekend in Paris, a lamb chop supply for six months, a field of Chard. Something has to be wrong with the system. Despite my best efforts I got home tired and still resentful. Hubby was preparing dinner. Some salmon steaks and a Dal. He will take any opportunity to cook Indian food. He assumed we had potatoes in the pantry. No. I said, way too expensive......We have plenty in the garden, I wearily informed him. God, I forgot, he said and we headed down in pursuit. I just stood there and watched him as he rooted around in the treasure chest soil. Enough from one plant for at least three meals. He looked very happy, proud as punch really. There was no price you could put on his face and on his dirty hands and the way he did it, not fast or rooting but respectfully and tenderly, like the soil and its gift was a newborn in his care. I continued to watch him and I wondered what price would be allocated to what I witnessed. There was no price, there was just the moment. A man bent over the soil, feeling something that money could not ever possibly buy.