Friday, June 27, 2014
Everyone Was a Cousin
I don't live anywhere near my family. Last week, I lived with all of them in the mountains. There was a lake full of turtles. A small lake to reflect the trees. My cousins and I sat on the porch and watched the only motor boat allowed on the lake stir up algae.
"He likes to keep it moving," one cousin said.
We sat still. Other cousins kept the kitchen running. Work on vacation. Clouds inflated over the house and groaned. Men we didn't know stood in the grass around the water and fished before the storms fell.
Each afternoon the view beyond the porch was gray and wet. The rain lowered the atmosphere and kept the nights cool. Some of us ran around the lake.
I ran around the lake alone. Twice I thought I was being followed by a large brown dog. I turned and there was no dog. "I can run faster if I need to," I thought. I closed the circle and arrived where I started. Back to the family.
After dark, wine was passed around. Bad wine and good wine, and I couldn't tell the difference when it was poured out of the bottle and yellowed a plastic cup. My cousins talked. I listened. I was accused of taking notes, but notes came later when all the wine was drunk.
All the wine was drunk.
Someone told the story of waking up to their sleepwalking spouse pointing a gun at the wall. The spouse had a nightmare of a giant spider. Nothing could kill that spider like a gun. Since all dreams come from somewhere, the giant spider came from the smaller spiders the spouse had killed cleaning the basement.
Someone else grappled with the use of the F word in plays. They asked my opinion. I didn't say what first came to mind, which was, "Which F word?" Instead, I said I don't even hear that word as worse than any other word. Another relative weighed in for Christ. "People with good Christian values don't use the F word," she said. As if Jesus spoke English.
I ate eggs.
One afternoon, we slid down a wet rock and marveled at a waterfall. This waterfall:
While I was photographing this waterfall, my aunt asked me if my camera took good pictures, and I said, "No, I take good pictures."
Later, I lost my glasses in river rapids. Minutes before that, though, a snake froze in the grass for me to get a good look. I stared at the snake and noted the pattern of its scales. It was a garter snake. A common snake.
But it was the only snake I saw.