On the heart .
The goldenrod lights up the acres .
Baked, still bright fields, the fruit almost spent. Sky is, yes, blue. Goldenrod sky-the great gold staff beams upon the rocks and grasses, dries and preserves what it has arranged in pasted-up cereal boxes, the sand glued in ripples where rivulets of summer rain have massaged, combed and permed the wheat, timothy, and rye. Stands of glass feathers still pale green and pink soften slight breezes into illusory motion. I freeze-dry, a plastic statue in the kids Kellogg' s box, pasted to sand rivulets, my toes hurting from pea gravel and uneven baked clay.
It's tough on the heart. In two months my sunshine and bareskin days will grey and frost-curl into that cool Autumn. Goldenrod rules me with that iron hand which will make me give up on child freedom, trot with Mom to the dry goods store and buy those packets of colour pencils, HBs in yellow traitorous rows, a mean wood ruler for rapping my knuckles and a pile of heavy binders which will always hurt my arm from carrying the book bag of extra homework. Then I have to humiliatingly fit into thick Winter clothes and let the lady see my fat tummy and wear the next size up of school kilt and new-smelling sweaters. They itch on the too hot days and Mother denies me the day-glo and cartoons blouses. For school, young lady, she will insist.
With increasing nostalgia epileptically touched with déjà vu I will skip and walk to the old school and sit sit sit where I do not want to sit for too long. Then I will itch itch itch . Latin and Math and listening while the blues air outside deepens to the violet - gold September (which should surround the bared head outdoors in the brightening pumpkin field and in the meadows rich with asters.) The cleared mind should spend morning hours in harvest and afternoons under the sweet apples, learning what children are meant to learn. Art and real Geography lessons should come after an exciting bus trip and with a fresh, wax-wrapped picnic. Of course, chocolates.
Summer must not end. Wicked Winter will come to shorten child legs to the knee with inhibitory white snow traps. Witch Winter will kill, maim and cripple child fingers, agonize every digit.
Every day. Cruel Winter.
After College semesters the summer allowed some rest and pleasure. But the hard city said find work, do work, make something of yourself, and feed yourself. We must have food. In still, high August we looked for the jobs we thought we should have..
'I am a great designer. I will make a million dollars designing gorgeous jewelry for thousands of rich women. Buy my work; it is so Avant-Garde, so fashionable.'..
We phoned businesses, beat the street, arranged street sales and demos, asked to show our work for free, rented ourselves to artists as models, babysat our friends' brand new weenies, sold our childhood treasures, made a thousand plans on paper, followed them, wishing for better times.....' Four years of studying and they want to give me minimum wage. I am so young. I have a college diploma and I am only twenty-one. Buy me. I am Avant-Garde. I dance in Ken Lywoods' coach house under strobes and arrange gel clock glasses for the Mothers of Invention. We are the new, we are hip, and we are educated. Buy us, what's wrong with us? Why is it just minimum wage, as if I were a young teen in a clubhouse snack bar? We need money we need money. We must have money......'
Offices were empty. The owner is on vacation. Only the secretary is here. Call next week. Try next month. Here, fill this out. We must have food. Try the parents, go home with Winter-weight knickers and fresh, pointed pencils for the job search. And stick them, if you come back without a job!
My child is born. We soon lose our business and drift apart, my husband and I. ...'Where is money, why can't you support yourselves?'.... We have lived above a butcher, the stairs evilly smelling of dead chickens and sawdust. In the small, ancient apartment I have gone mad. The diapers soap in bleach in the tub. The way to dry them is to hang them over the oil stove. They achieve a soot-rime upon them and donate diaper rash to my incredible, perfect infant. It is all a horror. Children should grow in sweet spaces. I look for work in a Post Office, my breasts swollen with the heartache of weaning my child. My husband works in a soap factory and comes home with huge welts around his waist from the lye.
We leave for Toronto again. Our marriage is over. We are frightened and poor. I find friends in a commune and take two rooms. There the shared food is good and the little nursery is carefully painted. The city allows for machine washed clothes. Life is joyous and our children play side by side in the green parks. Once a month we have a coke or a coffee in a restaurant for a treat. I like to walk ten miles to downtown, the baby on my shoulders or in the stroller. My legs become strong and the class - seat deadness and itch finally leave.
I take up yoga and to studying with an Enlightenment master. It is September. An agony of ennui from the hopelessness of goldenrod season has sharpened my need to explore, to be with a family of friends. In the elegant parlour, the Master sits in the September golden light. It pools into the oak-fitted room and onto the plum pillows on the floor.
I test my new legs into the foreign lotus position and realize that the lesson is there,under the sweet apples and sky. Upon the shrine are seashells, dried blossoms, fresh flowers, bells, rainbows and crystals. The Leader tells us of the significance of each one. Class begins on a soft seat, surrounded by the arts. I have brought the ring binder and the pens, but now I may wear blue jeans and without guilt feel the silk sweep of my young hair. The fat and awkward child and the fearful post-partum immaturity leave me.
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