This may be another of those ‘see how much I can write in half an hour‘ posts. But fifteen minutes has already passed – well, twenty, actually, if you count the five minutes I waited to ensure Felix was properly asleep before moving him to the crib – so it may actually be ‘see how much I can write in ten minutes’. Which I guess is not a great deal but you never know. In any case, he could surprise us all and sleep for an hour and a half, which would be lovely.

There are so many things I have been meaning to write. I want to write about children’s picture books, how the really lovely ones are just as good as poems, or better. And I want to write about the handful of ‘how to raise you baby’ books I have read, just in case anyone is interested. And I have half a post sitting in my draft box about stone and the elements in A. S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. And there are a few more photos I want to upload from my parents’ visit. (Yes more, at the risk of boring you all, but it was such a special time and I miss them.) And I doubt I will have time to do any of that right now.

I could also be reading now, and half wish that I was. I have started Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. It is my first e-book. Michael has loaned me his ipad to see how I like it. I have decided I’m definitely going to get an e-reader. Just have to decide between a kindle and the more expensive but more versatile ipad. (I fell a bit in love with the new nook color at Barnes and Noble, but you can’t buy books on it when you are out of the US, which defeats the purpose for me.) With the ipad you can read in the dark because it’s backlit, but some people find the backlit screen annoying and straining for their eyes. Hence the test-run. Advice welcome…

It’s been a tiring week (see previous post). And yes the boy’s gorgeous laughs do make up for it but sometimes they don’t. This afternoon we sat for nearly an hour under a tree outside our apartment, and he was happy, and now he is resting. (Well, I sat. He rolled around and cooed at the wind in the leaves.)

And yes it appears I can write rather a lot in ten minutes because it’s only been eight so far.

I also wanted to write some more about what’s happening in Norway because I have been thinking about it. They’ve started releasing photos of the victims. I looked at them and ofcourse they are sweet young educated ordinary people, and it is terrible. The youngest was fourteen and five days. And there are some older people too, some my age, some my parent’s age. And really what can you write about it because it is unbearable.

When we were with my parents in Salt Lake City we went for a drive up the Big Cottonwood Canyon one evening. Felix was a bit fussy (he finds it distracting when there are people next to him in the back seat), so we decided to stop by the side of the road so I could give him a feed. When we got going again we found the road was blocked not far ahead of us. There had been an accident. We waited around for about an hour, and then got word it would be at least another three hours, because of a police investigation, so we did the two hour drive out through the back of the canyon. It turns out a drunk driver had slammed head on into a car with a couple in their sixties. The last I heard the drunk driver and the other driver were in critical conditions in hospital. We felt so terrible, and so spooked. Because there really isn’t a magic spell that ensures it’s not us who gets slammed into by drunk drivers.

One thing I was unprepared for when becoming a mother was how intolerable the thought of death would suddenly become. I was not only protective of my baby, death suddenly seemed unacceptable for anyone, anywhere. The disaster in Japan happened when Felix was a few weeks old, and I couldn’t read any of the broadcasts. One day Michael was talking to Felix, and Felix’s little mobile was whirling around above his change table, reminding Michael of the circle of life. ‘This is the circle of life’, he told Felix. ‘You are born, and you will die. One day your parents will die. One day you will die’. ‘Don’t tell him that!’ I said. Because it seemed utterly unacceptable. It made me afraid. If this beautiful creature would die, if I would die, what was the point?

I talked to Mum about it while she was here. I said, ‘sometimes things are really not ok’. ‘That’s true’, she said. ‘But also they are ok.’ (In case you haven’t noticed, which I think you have, my Mum is very wise.) I think she is right. And when I think about things being ok, I think for some reason of the earth, of dirt and  rocks and stones and gravity, firm under my feet. The way I did in this poem. I do not know why. I do not like how frail and unpredictable life is sometimes. But I very much like being alive right now. Yes I do.

That, my friends, was twenty-five minutes, and it got a bit heavy didn’t it! And if he sleeps any longer, I’m going to read my ebook.


6 thoughts on “Naptime

  1. a beautiful 25 it is too.
    It is a great thump to the solar plexus when you have these near misses with a young one in tow. I went out driving in a storm with my babies once to pick up their older siblings and had to turn back. It took me years to get over it, I still hate heavy rain but it doesn’t carry the same charge now. My mother’s a bit of a worrier, I’ll share yours I think.

    You are bound to be upset and angry about Norway – I was lying in bed thinking about you before and how awful it must be to have something like this happen when you are away from home (or at any time of course.) It is unspeakable. The numbers alone make one speechless.

    I do like your attachment to earth when writing of loss, Meli – it is stardust, as we all are, after all. For some reason at this stage of my life knowing that we are stardust is somehow comforting…!! (we have a science student doing rocks).
    And I love the photos – have had a very full feedreader lately and haven’t remarked much, i know, but they are very good. Grandparent pics are very lovely.

  2. oh thank you genevieve. how magic is the internet? i blather on about whatever is in my head while my baby sleeps, and then you stop by and leave such a nice comment. it is indeed comforting about the stardust.

  3. I’m here to comment on less serious things. I prevaricated for a long time on the e-reader question, doing extensive background research, etc. I narrowed it down like you to the Kindle or the iPad. In the end, devoted Kindle reader friends told me to buy an iPad, because it would suit my lifestyle. And it does: weighs about the same as a Filofax, so I take it everywhere. I take notes for work, for my own research on it. When I go home or to work, I can download them from dropbox on my computer. I edit various docs on it in transit. and I download e-books. I was a bit loath to start paying writers and the book industry less for their books, but the e-reader is good for downloading those books you don’t feel you need to have a copy of but are interested in giving a brief once-over…I imagine a lot of academic books would fit in that category for you. And you can subscribe to lots of journals and newspapers (less paper round the house to recycle.) The Kindle screen is supposed to be easier on your eyes than any other e-reader including the iPad. But the iPad is more versatile. I’ve heard of academic friends downloading presentations onto it for lectures, etc.

  4. thanks! yes i think i will get an ipad, but the computer geek in the family tells me i need to wait at least till september because a new one’s coming out. (although the new one will probably be much more expensive and i’ll just end up getting the current model anyway.) meanwhile i’ve commandeered his.

    do you just type using the touch screen when you take notes etc? can you get used to that? at the moment doing that seems really slow….

    as a quite itinerant person i definitely need to get into e-books.

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