Dream Song #70
Big events are in the offing. Ron and I are going off to the beach for a long weekend with another couple and we didn’t invite the kids. This is the first time we’ve gone on a pleasure trip without them. Part of it is that Walker has chess and we’re still taking turns staying home to play with and take care of the kitten, Pippin. So Eleanor will have a last bonding experience with him. I have Pippin scheduled for his last vaccination on Aug. 12, rabies. He has to weigh five pounds before he can get that one, and he can’t run around outside like our other two cats until he has it. I also don’t want him to run around outside much before he’s neutered, but we’re going to have to schedule that after I come back from Tucson, and I suspect that as soon as he reaches five pounds, he’s going to be able to push open the cat door. Eleanor and I start our road trip on Aug. 13 and I’ll be flying back sometime the next week, before Kenyon classes begin on Aug. 27.
Finding my balance with two adult children at home has been interesting this summer. I think we’ve done okay at trying to be spontaneous, especially with planning and fixing meals. We’ve not done as many of the summer things we usually look forward to, like cookouts and trips to the lake, because the weather has been too cool and rainy and we haven’t wanted to entertain on the deck too much in the damp, mosquito-y shade with the kitten left lonely inside the house or on his leash and halter (yes, he puts up with it to get to go out). We’ve all had fun playing with Pippin and occasionally (during those rare moments when he’s calm) petting him. I was reading (in one of the books about cats I had out from the library) that we don’t often think about the fact that we’re not breeding many of our pet cats for desirable traits like being cuddly. Instead, by neutering and spaying our pets, we’re developing new generations of cats from feral toms and stray females, cats who are fierce and clever enough to survive on their own. Pippin certainly demonstrates that. This does not mean that we’re not getting him neutered as soon as we can find a day to stay home with him while he recovers. He’ll be six months old, the recommended age, at the end of September.
On the eve of our long weekend at the beach, which is itself on the eve of our 33rd wedding anniversary, I am rattling around the house trying to work through some of the stacks of books and papers so I can make more organized stacks for fall, and thinking about John Berryman’s Dream Songs, particularly #70:
Disengaged, bloody, Henry rose from the shell
where in their racing start his seat got wedged
under his knifing knees,
he did it on the runners, feathering,
being bow, catching no crab. The ridges were sore
& tore chamois. It was not done with ease.
So, Henry was a hero, malgre lui,
That day, for blunder; until & after the coach
Said this & which to him.
That happy day, whenas the pregnant back
of Number Two returned, and he’d no choice
but to make for it room.
Therefore he rowed rowed rowed. They did not win.
Forever in the winning & losing since
of his own crew, or rather
in the weird regattas of this afterworld,
cheer for the foe. He set himself to time
the blue father.
The summer seems like it is racing away from me already, and planning a 3 or 4 day trip across the country seems so perilous, all that highway driving with chances of accidents or falling asleep or actually getting to our destination and having to say goodbye to my oldest child without any definite plan about the next time she’s coming home. College has breaks. Life…not so much.
Have you had a child leave home? How do you manage to “cheer for the foe” of her burgeoning independence while feeling she’s “in the weird regattas of this afterworld,” racing competently away from you?