Butterfly Effect

December 11, 2006 by susan

by susan

If a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon, it's said to change the weather world-wide. And so it is here at the Clothesline. A 95-year-old woman flutters her eyes and slips away (see Barb's beautiful post below) and suddenly we have no linen to hang on the line. Goes to show you how much of the laundry gets done by beloved Barb.
And there's that seasonal thing as well. Whatever holiday, if any, you celebrate, there's work to be done.

In my case, it's all about the work I've notdone in the last six months. Okay, who am I trying to fool? Since last time we did this fool thing.
This fool thing is the Lenfestey annual Winter Solstice party, which is less neo-Pagan than you might think. When our older daughter was 20, and lamenting the long winter still before us, I pointed out that the worst was over, as the days were actually about to start getting longer. "That's something to celebrate!" I said. It's a mother's oppressive duty to be cheerful, no?
And so celebrate we did. That daughter is now nearly 37 -- about my age -- and this indoor/outdoor party has grown as well. So has the guest list, meaning that you now must take a number at the door. Minimal clothing is recommended, in order to make more space, but not to worry, we keep the lights very low, candlelight low. We all look better that way, and so does the house.

As each of our four children turned 21 they were allowed to put their names on the invitation and invite a few of their friends -- and stop hanging their stockings. In those days the party went all night, until the sun returned the next day. We'd find broken champagne flutes shattered by the fire, panty hose in the bathroom trash, an earring next to the basement sofa, and, well, use your imagination. The party has matured, and we've grown old. All we found last year was reading glasses --by the fire,
next to the toilet, on top of the CD player, under the forgotten coats, pretty much everywhere.

Now our kids are more grown-up and tied down than we are and busy in their own lives, which happen to take place far away -- in Seattle, Los Angeles and Santa Fe. Only Max will be home, serious heart-throb in tow, and we can't wait.

But first there's that upstairs sink to be repaired, plumber due tomorrow, and last year's crunchy dusty greens to be taken down, and fresh ones to go up, the 300 votives to be pried out of their crusty glass cups and restocked, not to mention the age-old question of what to wear, which only gets more difficult as I age-old myself. Well, it'll be black and probably a version of what I wear most years. Like I said, it's dark.
And even though we invite half the city of Minnepolis, and a smattering of St. Paul, inevitably I bump into the other half during this week, all of them looking forlorn, hurt or questioning. Do we have big plans for the holidays? Are the kids coming home? Did I know they moved? Or those who send hostile emails, asking if they weren't invited this year in retaliation for their support of candidate A, B, or in this case, IP? (Me? Vengeful over a little thing like politics?) In most cases, it's simply that there's no more room in this old house.
I meant this to be a short salute to Barb, and to Marte, to note how one woman's death has made the weather unsuitable for hanging the laundry. Or left us with no time to wash it.

But as I sit here writing, the low-hanging sun is streaming in, warming my back, even as it illuminates each dust mote and monkey mind takes over. The power of the sun, another cycle, dust to dust.

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Comments

Barbara Miller (not verified) | December 11, 2006 - 4:01pm

Okay, this is really beyond wonderful, Susan. I thank you. And Marte would thank you. You'd have loved her. She was a trip. A merry, elfin sort, for the most part.

And lest all the rest of y'all think we are getting a tad in-bred here at the Clothesline, be assured it's just the blogging sisterhood thing -- a place where women seem to do most of the writing, but where men are welcome, too.

Solstice. Oh, my. Let there be light!

Barbara

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