Interests Du Jour


Lately August has been carrying around a laminated, teaching brochure on Texas spiders. She carries it everywhere. She had previous been toting an educational brochure on Gulf Coast sea life. She has a special love for ephemera. Since she was a baby she's been holding on tightly to postcards, business cards, brochures, instruction manuals and flyers with the same affection she has for her stuffed animals and dolls. One of her most loved objects to carry under her arm is the Carson McCullers' book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. She's been loving it for two years now.

A new favorite pastime for her is going over the brochure and having me or her Papi read the names of the spiders. She can now pick out the orb weavers from the jumpers. We have visited the community garden looking for spider webs and hoping to find spiders that are in the brochure but our visits have been surprisingly unsuccessful thus far. In collecting ingredients for her fairy potions we have stumbled across other insects and look at them under the microscope or magnifying glass. She tells me insects have six legs and spiders eight. Recently we watched a documentary on spiders and I found books at the library that had new spider photos, names and facts. All this spider study has educated me as well. I have a new appreciation for the spider's silk, a truly amazing material.

In addition to spiders there has been a huge interest in sea creatures. It began with the collection of Jean Painleve DVDs I have and then the Octonauts cartoons. She is able to repeat the facts that are given about each featured animal on the show. She loves for us to go over the sea life brochure with her. Again,sea creatures are something I have never become truly familiar with outside of a very basic knowledge. I follow her lead and wonder what else I will find myself researching and studying along with this curious little mind. She is the little guide who is teaching the teacher and it's been terrifically fun so far.





Notes on Iris

Jacob brought home a perfectly entertaining and functional keyboard a few weeks ago. She learned rather quickly how to get all sorts of sounds from it. I've enjoyed hearing her play her avant-garde compositions. I found myself at the keyboard doing old exercises and recalling chords, parts of songs. My fingers began to find songs again, the way they did when I was a kid.

I entitled the tune I was working on Notes for Iris. I was playing for a person who did not exist except inside of me. There was so much more to her in my mind than there ever would be...anywhere. I was several weeks pregnant but already picking notes to match the little life I was feeling. By the end of the month it was over. Iris Josephine would never be but I can pick out the keys I placed in a specific order that can tell you how much I thought of her.

It's such an odd experience to not complete a pregnancy, especially during the spring. Then I noticed the tomato plant has a stunted fruit that is no longer being fed and has stopped developing. There are a few mountain laurels that never came into full bloom. Their flowers are not even purple giving the trees a sad, greyish look.  I remember the fertile eggs my hens sat on one year and how they never hatched but spoiled instead. Still, there is not much comfort in knowing that things can stop growing in the spring and do. 

The notes from the windchime when the breeze plays them for me, creates a soothing music. Looking up at the sky when the winds are escorting a late morning storm into the city and finding a beautiful hawk floating, almost still, for a few moments. Looking down at the ground at just the right time and catching sight of the largest and most voluptuous lady bug I have seen and by its side, the teenie-tiniest lady bug I have ever seen. These are all part of a randomness I do find comfort in. Having made the most out of the unexpected surprises that last only moments then vanish. Very short songs and stories that were there just for me. Iris Josephine was like that.