Monday, April 23, 2007

Mothers and sons 2

Yesterday was blissful. I only realised how blissful, when I woke up last night and realised I was laughing in my dreams. I like the idea of laughter in the dark. I fell in love with my husband for any number of reasons - one of them a habit of laughing in his sleep. (I presumed, of course, that he was not laughing at me.) I had not realised, I could snatch the habit and make it mine.

Daffodils die back. You think: "Shame, glory gone." Then, tulips arrive: "Ta-da". Trees applaud with branches of budding leaves and Spring moves on. I spent a spring yesterday with my six-year-old. Him and me. Just him and me. Innocent in gardens. We watched the sea spill down stone stairs, chased each other through avenues of pink blushed blossom and cast coin wishes. Northumberland is full of castles. He wants to live in one. He told out his wish, loud and proud and made a listening stranger laugh. As for me, I cannot tell my wish. The day moved on; we plunged back into another Eden, took a jar and microscope and watched insects turn to monsters. Naturally, we tamed them and set them free.

Later, a strange thing happened. The garden at my cottage has a secret, dappled corner where a stone bench rests its tired back against a wall. Purple flowering aubretia spills over the wall down to the moss matted, wooden seat. A small plaque with an engraving is embedded in the bench: "The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth. One is nearer God's heart in a garden, Than anywhere else on earth." The man who created our beautiful cottage garden has been dead for four years. I liked him extremely. I more than liked him. The plaque was in his mother's garden; when she died, he found a place for it in his. It reminds me of him and I like to be reminded. Last night, I looked out of the kitchen window of this rented house. I was standing by the sink. I try not to stand by the sink. I find standing by the sink attracts the washing up. I have lived here 10 weeks. Yesterday, I looked up to see a small stone birdbath standing in the garden. On the side of the bowl, I could make out the faint tracery of letters: "The kiss of the sun...." Ever felt you were meant to be some place?

34 comments:

@themill said...

Nearly sounding happy?

Kaycie said...

It is wonderful to spend your day with a six year old, especially your own. You sound happy and I'm smiling for you.

jane said...

Glad you are having some really good days. My Mum had that same plaque inscription on a picture which used to hang in the hall of my childhood home. She loved her garden and that verse always reminds me of her too. I think you have just re-defined the often used phrase "quality time" with your boy. Here's to much much more of it.

Best wishes,

Jane.

jim keltz said...

"....he and I. Just he and I." if you're going to write a book that is...........

bonnylass said...
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bonnylass said...

I so enjoy reading your blog, I am sure that my part of the world is growing on you, I live in Australia and miss "The North" so much

Laura said...

You're sounding happier by the day.

Funnily enough I wrote a post about Mothers and Sons today as well so know exactly what you're feeling.

Anthea said...

How beautiful. The descriptions. And waking to laughter is always good, your own is best though. Startling. So that you lie in the dark for a bit and try to recall why you were laughing. Not that it matters, of course, it's the laughter that counts and the glow that it leaves afterward. Keep laughing.

I Beatrice said...

Don't be a pedant, Jim Keltz! Him and me was perfectly OK in the context.

It's reminiscent of AA Milne's "Wherever I am there's always Pooh. There's always Pooh and me".

Ok, different grammatical construction, I know. But the sentiment's the same. And in this case, I'm for Wife's version.

spymum said...

That was a lovely post; ten weeks is still a very short time to adjust to new surroundings, but slowly and surely new 'roots' are put down.

And it might be 'schlocky' and sentimental but I really do believe one is nearer Gods heart in a garden.

Hope both of your wishes come true!

Marianne said...

Spring and sunshine magically changes everything. It's good to hear you sounding so much happier. I've been living in rented houses now for 15 years, not by choice, but there are always unexpected compensations and I like the serendipity factor.

Mike said...
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Mike said...

Here's another plaque:
"Some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury. Consult statement on the back of this keyboard."
You'd need a garden in today's world, wouldn't you!
And I'm with wife's version in this context too.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

It's so lovely spending time with just one child...

Glad you had a good day!

Pigx

sunshine said...

"It was just him/it was just me" is the implied meaning, to me -- this puts "him and me" in the objective usage, and would be correct.

Sorry to be stuffy so early in the a.m.!

Very beautiful post about a lovely day, Wifey!!

Hilary said...

Sounds lovely-I think Northumbria Tourist Board should be paying you!!

Cathy said...

A lovely post! That verse brings to my mind hand embroidered samplers on cottage walls...

knifepainter said...

Hey as someone else said, sounds like the place is getting under your skin.

I'll resist the trite stuff.

Wishing you continuing happiness and good luck.

SAM

patsy said...

Don't fight it, the magic of the North will seep into even your battle weary heart. So pleased you are feeling more at home. I do understand the problems, having been a wife in the North myself, but now exiled to the South, would desperately love to be back.

Ian said...

I had not realised that you had only been here a few weeks. I can understand you now feeling the coldness of a first northern winter, but the summer will more than make up for it.
In time you start to see that the winter here has things that you look for too.

As you mentioned in your earlier post, the seasons have life here, you can see them come and go. I have a friend visiting from Los Angeles in July, I can't wait to show her what the realworld looks like.

Oh, with us men,we all want to live in castles. Of course the cleaning, heating, curtains and other stuff we expect to leave to others.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I believe you can rent flats in Bamburgh Castle ...

sunshine said...

to Mutterings -- This young man does not come across as one who would settle for just a flat---I am sure his imagination goes far beyond just a few rooms.

I might look into it for a vacation spot, though!

mind the gap said...

That sounds like a blissful day. Seems like you might need more of those...

Isobel said...

sunshine-
Yet more pedantry coming up--the verb "to be" does not take an object-but I still prefer WITN's version,nonetheless!

I Beatrice said...

Perhaps you can put me right on a dodgy construction of mine, in yesterdays's 'I Beatrice' offering? Para one - "Roland and she"? I fear it should probably have been "Roland and her". Always dangerous ground, that - but somehow the (probably) correct version didn't quite look right. If in doubt, leave it out, my husband tells me - and I think he's almost certainly right.

All this reminds me of something the excellent Lynn Truss said in her puctuation book: " Bertolt Brecht can do it - you can't!"

I Beatrice said...

Sorry - forgot to address my grammar query to "Isobel"

Isobel said...

I Beatrice-
Yes-strictly speaking it should be "Roland and her"-but I agree- it sounds clumsy. Your husband is right!
The hell of having taught English for 20-odd years! I must not be a pedant!

I Beatrice said...

Thanks, Isobel. It was as I feared; and I might remove offending words. Though on the other hand, I might not - it being such a dodgy business, deleting and re-posting!

I might have got away with it, had I made it part of the dialogue. But on the tongue of Beatrice herself - well, she might have been expected to know better, mightn't she?

mutleythedog said...

Your garden sounds nice - I have an allotment and this year I am growing a crop of Oak trees - do you think they will ready to harvest by October? I am thinking of pickling them. On another matter, part of the allotment is out of bounds following the discovery of a world war 2 bomb...

sunshine said...

Isobel -- you are right. It's been about 50 years since grammar class!

bernard said...

I have never felt that I was destined to be anywhere, but I have felt that I shouldn't be somewhere often. Our current home comes closest to destined to be somewhere as we love it, but are plagued by the car noise from the nearby dual carriageway, though not always.
We gained a fabulous cat which was one of 6 kittens dumped in the hedges of the carriageway a year ago, so the dual carriageway is not all bad, particularly with the hawthorn in full blossom, and the hedge growing to mask some of the noise

james higham said...

Laughing, in a positive sense. We don't see too much of that about these days.

Jayneyg said...

i am blessed to have been born in the north, abeit on the other side of the Peninnes ! i spent the whole day on Saturday with my son ( 14 next week), we were in our garden - enjoying the Magnolia tree that we planted in memory of my late mother. It always flowers around her birthday date, such a joy to share with my only son, i look at him & realise that he will soon be off to college & these special days will come along fewer & fewer in teh coming years. Enjoy your children whilst they are young !!!

Sandra Montgomery said...

Grammar note:

ACTUALLY - there is an easy way to figure out the correct way when using 'me', 'I', 'her', 'she'.

You just remove the other person and say it how you would if it was just one person. In other words...

"Would you like to come with Jane and me?" is correct because without Jane it would be "Would you like to come with me?" Not, "Would you like to come with I."

It applies in every situation.