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Entries in Ezra (64)


Fire Weather

Here is the thing about fire weather: at first you think it's just summer.  It's a welcome heat, that begs for flip flops and sun dresses and you revel in it.  Then the wind starts to blow and dry things out even more than they already are, but you take refuge in your car with your air conditioning.  It's just weather, after all.  What's a little more carbon to add to the mix?  

We are the frogs, not even noticing that the heat has been turned up below us, until


Lightning strikes and tempers flare, out of nowhere, and you didn't even see it coming, soaking in the warm bath of your stockpot while to-do lists and grant deadlines and snow tires pile up and ignite in the middle of your kitchen.  It's strange how quickly the profane rises and you think it's going to feel so good to release but really all you're left with afterward is why were you mean to Daddy?

The fires of my marriage flare up infrequently and are contained quickly, but they still leave me scratching my head.  Who is the arsonist in my kitchen?  Is it a dry year?  Where is the rain?


Smoke and despair hang thick in the air all over my home state.  It's going to take more than I'm sorry, I was out of line to make things whole.  When the conditions are right and the wind is insistent and the heat turns cruel, a single lightning strike sears the mountaintop and soon everything in its path is consumed.  It's not that we were careless, per se.  It's just that there is never enough time or resources to get all the fuel out of the way.

Thank you for digging fire lines.

Thank you for evacuating people from harm's way.

Thank you for saving us from ourselves.

Now where is the rain?


Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge

The rattlesnake stirs at my house around 7:00am these days.  Well he is Ezra when he wakes up, sprawled naked across his bed (our recent hot snap having turned pajamas into a corporal punishment analog), but shortly afterward he declares in a small voice I'm a rattlesnake and sheds the first person for the rest of the morning. 

From there on out it's all

the rattlesnake is cold


the rattlesnake wants mango

and in fidelity to his character he slithers around on his naked belly (while I cringe at the prospect of the splinters he could pick up from our century-old hardwood floors) and insists on a straw in his morning smoothie since rattlesnakes don't have hands to hold a cup.  The rattlesnake's logic is unassailable. 

Today he broke out of his snake physicality only long enough to hold the rattlesnake's favorite artifact, a wooden apple.  It's getting positively biblical around here in the mornings.


I'm not sure I've quite deciphered the rattlesnake's appearance in our family ecology, but he tends to emerge on hard mornings and his timid little third person voice makes me wonder if he turns up when Ezra feels particularly vulnerable. 

When Will and Ezra dropped me at the airport last week Will asked Ez Are you sad because Mama left? and Ezra replied No, I'm happy because I'm a rattlesnake.

Maybe the serpent in my garden knows something I don't about deflecting fear and doubt.


I thought if lots of people told me I am awesome I would start to believe it.

Apparently it doesn't work that way.

(I mean, it's nice to hear, so you should tell someone they're awesome if you think that's true, but it's not the kind of thing that's easy to internalize.  Or at least not for me anyway.)

I think what works is doing lots of work, lots of writing, lots of making pictures, lots of tinkering to develop a style.  So this is me, back to the drawing board, trying to hitchhike out of Kansas.  I'm going to pick up a fierce power animal along the way too, just in case I need to slip her on to deflect the scariest stuff.


Playground of Desire

There's a certain smell of offhand alienation and kindbud that hangs over the skate park.  I assume that's not what Ezra loves about the place but I am nervous that one day it will be.  He was mad for the skate park from his earliest encounter with it, and last night he knew we had to pass it on the way home from our school meeting.  He focused his tractor beam of desire on it and pulled us in, dinner and bedtime be damned. I promised him five minutes and set the timer on my iPhone.


Big boys.  Skinny jeans.  All manner of wheels.  Some indiscernible flow of traffic that minimizes the collision fatalities.  At least I think fatalities are rare.  They probably just maim each other with elbows and polyurethane wheels.

Five minutes pass.  I give him five more as he stares intensely and silently.  Reverently.

I like the place too, actually.  The casual misfits, the comradery, the fluid beauty some of them bring to this aggressive ballet.  But oh god, he's going to want to come here by himself, like, next week.  He's going to want to be dropped off down the block because I'm so embarrassing and because he's so unwilling to be supervised.

A whiff of sticky skunk wafts by.

Don't do drugs.


And unlike all these other knuckleheads, promise to wear your helmet, okay?

And don't get maimed or angry, or annoyed at your mom lurking nonchalantly in the bushes across the street.

He cries when it's time to go home and I have to physically carry him out or he'll never leave.  I promise him we'll come back, with his bike and his skateboard, this weekend.  And a helmet.  And a bubble that will protect him from second hand smoke, and me from him growing up.


Three Minutes In The Dark

Babies can't put the bread in the toaster, because they will get burned.  Only big boys can do that.

Babies can't sit on the big potty, because they will fall in. I can do that because I'm a big boy.

Suddenly I notice that all of Ezra's shirts are too small.  Mind you, not because I observe it myself, but because he squeals when it is time to get dressed, demanding a floppy shirt.  One that wiggles.  I don't want that shirt.  That shirt is too tight.

I don't mind Ezra's hell-bent demonstrations of growing up.  I actually relish that he's not a baby any more.  But at night, after our torturously slow tooth brushing routine and our books and our what-was-your-favorite-thing-about-today, lately he asks, Will you lay with me in three minutes? 

And I do, because it's the quietest three minutes of the day.

Will gave me a necklace when Ezra was born, a thin gold chain with three small beads, one for each of us.  It has dangled there nearly every day since.  As soon as the infant Ezra gained any control of his extremities he found that necklace.  When he was nursing we sat in the blue rocking chair in his room a million times a day, and every time he latched his tiny little hand fluttered to my throat and clutched the necklace like a prayer mala.

(The other day he pointed to my breast and asked, Is that your belly? 

No, I said.  That's my breast.

What is it for?

When you were a baby it made milk and that's how you ate.

Oh.  He thought, pointed at one and then the other.  This one made milk and that one made water?)

So here we are in the big boy phase.  The other night lying next to him in three minutes, watching him sink into slowness, I felt the absentminded starfish of his big boy hand find its way to my necklace.  It was a happy jolt, jogging me into remembering those long, slow infant days. 

The gift, as we rush into Big, is this: our former selves and all our time together, all of it, is encoded into our muscle memories in a place beyond knowing.


Welcome the New Baby

SOOC test shots from my first spin with the D800

*Alert! Alert! Full camera geekiness ahead! You have been warned!*

I have been lusting for Nikon's new D800 since they announced it several months ago.  Up until now Nikon has not had a full frame camera or one with broadcast-quality video. Canon, with their 5D Mark II, has been the standard bearer for the category and I was seriously considering switching, even with the significant investment it would take to buy not only the body, but to replace my collection of Nikon lenses.

I held fast though, and was surprised and delighted when my local camera store called yesterday morning to say the camera had arrived, faster than I expected.  I was completely impatient for the work day to end so I could go claim my new baby.

Ezra, naturally, was much more interested in digging in the 15 cubic yards of mulch we had delivered Tuesday than letting me focus on the camera long enough to figure out how switch it out of automatic mode.  So the camera sat patiently on the dining room table while I impatiently dug mulch with my short (but demanding) overlord.

As soon as Will got home from work I begged him to take over Ezra and dinner duty so I could show the camera the block where we live.  It was an overcast evening and getting late, but the photos in the above collection are all straight out of the camera, edited only to crop them into the collage, but not at all to manipulate their exposure or color.

Off the bat I will say that I am completely impressed with the camera's low-light capabilities, the richness of the color it produces and the detail it (and the 50mm f1.4 lens I shot with) captures.  Rumor has it the video is pretty damn nice too, and I hope to begin to experiment with that this weekend.  Being a person who hates to read manuals of any sort, I am a bit intimidated by the complexity of the controls on this instrument but I'm determined to learn to harness its capabilities and so excited to discover where my vision will lead as I play.

Here we go!