Thursday, March 10, 2016

our neighbor's tree

When Maya was born, we had this beautiful neighbor my grandmother's age named Fran. She'd have us over with the baby and she sang to her: Take me out to the ball game... We loved Fran so much. We'd chat over the fence about this and that and sit on her front porch and talk about small, good things.

She passed away not long after Finn was born, and we miss her so much. My ear always cocks a bit when I step out with the dogs, thinking she'll call over the fence, but it's quiet now. Her daughter gave us Fran's piano, and the kids love pounding away on it; Ryan loves his strangely perfect noodling (he has such a good ear).

Fran had a walnut tree in her backyard--one that leans up and into the sky with a chittering squirrel who is always scolding me for something. Every early autumn, it drops nuts, and two autumns ago, I collected as many as I could to dye yarn. This last autumn, I let them be for kindness to the squirrel (after all, this was his hoard I was disrupting) and now that the snow has folded back, we're finding all of the leftover bits.

There's a lot you can do with a collection of such stones: categorize them, count them, make prints with them, sketch them, tell stories about them, plant them (well, that last should have happened in the autumn when there was still nut-meat).

Maya tells me she loves these halves the most because they are hearts. It's funny how I always thought of them as little piggy-noses and my sweet daughter sees love.

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