seedling experiment

On bad days I still think

I deserved that

As a child, before I had committed any grave sins, it was just sort of a general better-watch-out-better-not-cry cycle of meta-religious justice

But as I have gotten older, in spite of all logical evidence to the contrary

I still think

All my Ys are a result of all my Xs

I happened upon a brief post about overthinkers, and the person writing it stated this -

Overthinking is a product of childhood neglect

It is the manifestation of self-doubt

Resulting from the adults in your life acting like children

I wanted to believe it, it resonated, it offered absolutely no proof or evidence, it failed to mention that there are TONS of overthinkers, many of whom had great childhoods

But the pop in pop science means well accepted by the masses

Sometimes the most disappointing thing in my world is to realize I am no different from anyone else

I had some terrible days this week and was discouraged by how much I let those days get me down

Of course, on good days I never think

I deserved that

Qui totum habet totum perdit

And honestly there have been some great days of late

With that said, when the bad days happen, it’s comforting to think,

Maybe it is coincidence

But if so

I probably did sort of have it coming

For my birthday, I decided to take the entire extended family (8 of us in total) to San Juan Island. I rented a beach house and we played games and drank wine and contemplated the ocean. 

Today was a really good day. Tomorrow was awful.

* * * 

I had to hide away parts of the previous week that were too painful to bear, and find solace in poisoning my body; expiation visited upon my hands and elsewhere by urushiol, after working gloveless in the garden, pushing contaminated bark over wildflower seedlings. I had yelled at my son the night before, tired of the cruelty in his competitiveness that had brought my daughter to tears, and he went into his room and shut the door. She came up to me and said that she could hear him crying, and wanted me to fix this. They are so many years apart in age, but very close, and I sometimes forget how easy they transition from anger to happiness with each other, as though they are complementary ingredients in a simple recipe. They are like milk and cereal, ire and joy, and I am a cup of coffee to them, comforting, but still an outsider. Still not something that is a normal part of their world.

He had buried his head into his hands on his desk and was quietly sobbing, and I wish I could take it back, but I also wonder if I'm grateful for a glimpse of a childhood that is now passing, unpreventably, into adolescence. I wonder if some parents make their children cry if only to remember their infancy. Maybe we are bitter that our happiest moments, those times when we could cradle our babies, are taken from us forever. He is so big now, maybe an inch shorter than me, that his age, 12, is illusory. I think 12 years old must be like what cinematographers call the magic hour, that 20 minute period after the sun has left the sky but the light remains. It is the nighttime hour but still daylight. It moves so quickly, and no matter what wonderful plans you may have for the evening, it is woefully melancholic. Childhood doesn't return with the following sunrise. We make one rotation on the axes of our lives.

I put my arms around him and apologized over and over and over, and he said it was okay, and we made promises to have a better day, and it was. But it affected me for the entire week so that whenever I had a down moment, I couldn't but see him in my thoughts, sad and hurt, and because of me. So I had to fill my down moments with activity, and I gardened, got stung by poison oak, which traveled from my hands to my lower body, which caused me 5 sleepless nights and one ice pack to the next.

We went together to buy a new bicycle, as he's outgrown his old one. At home, I asked him if he had checked the measurements on his squash seedlings, a science experiment for his class. He said the seedlings outside listening to music were doing the worst, and those inside exposed only to our casual, intermittent conversations were doing best.


Monica said…
Brandon. You're still there! This makes me happy.
eclectic said…
Try being beer instead of coffee next time. You might remain an outsider, but at least you'll have a lot more fun. Trust me on this.
Brandon said…
monica, i am! well, sometimes.

shari, if i were a beer i would always be topless, and that's no good either.
Anonymous said…
You're a brilliant writer

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