Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Folderol


Folderol came to me tonight while I sat on my screen porch. The rain had finally subsided and the cooler, much appreciated breezes carried only a small percent of the usual southern humidity. I was minding my own business, contentedly knitting when his image “loomed” at me (sorry for the pun:}). He whispered, not out of consideration, but conspiratorially like some thug offering watches from his coat down a dark alley. My knitting suddenly changed, more from an irritated curiosity that had been plaguing my mind. My fingers let go of the coarse green wool and reached for the perkier orange multicolored yarn. The new yarn was cast on, a waistline was formed, and then eyes stared back into mine.
“Who are you?” I questioned him as I tied tufts of frayed yarn for head embellishment and mustache.
“I’m Folderol of the forests of the green mists, also known as the Forests of Malarkey,” he replied. This was no easy feat as he was yet to sport a mouth.
“Why have you come to me and why now?” I pushed for answers.
“We need your help. There will be more like me coming...” he began.
“You know, you were going to be a hat,” I couldn’t help interrupting.
“There will be time for hats later,” he interrupted back. “We’re coming on a quest. Our Princess has gone missing and we’ve been sent by the Royal Court to bring her back.”
“What happened to her?” I asked. Now we were getting somewhere.
“She’s been in a state of limbo for several years now, hopelessly trapped by an evil monster who refuses to let her go.”
“Wow! What kind of monster is it?”
“It’s called a Procrastinator. They’re fat, lazy, and totally self-absorbed. This particular one is relentless and evasive. It’s part of the Jacobian clan. They’re notorious for never releasing their prisoners. I, myself, almost didn’t make it through.”
“Wait a minute. My name is Jacoby! I know why you’re here. I’ve been working on finishing her. Honest! I just couldn’t decide how to finish her.”
All of a sudden, it became clear. I had been working on a hand-painted doll for the past – how many years? I just couldn’t decide how I wanted her to look. But now, the pressure was on. I didn’t want any pressure this summer. Just fun. Who was this creature making these demands on me? I reached out to grab the impertinent imp.
Folderol scooted sideways, out of my grasping hand, tentacles slithering along the floor and out the screen door. I grabbed my cane and hobbled after him, down the deck stairs and into the yard. He leapt onto a lowered branch of the Sparkleberry tree, still wet from rain, and faced me, unwavering.
“You’ve been warned. We won’t stop coming until you finish her,” he threatened. “And don’t start on another one until she’s released!” And following this last command, he rose into the air, spun three times and vanished with a hiss. A green misty glow lingered for several seconds and was gone.
“Ha!” I scoffed at the now empty tree. I plodded back to my house and gathered up my knitting. I deposited it in my workroom and reached to turn off the light. The hair rose on the back of my neck. I felt someone watching me. Spinning around, I stared into the eyes of the doll. They looked at me with steady expectation. “Yeah, right,” I muttered and closed the door behind me. “Still,...”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Routines

My first day of summer and I should be able to sleep late.
5:15 a.m. A cold nose presses against my face echoed by a soft, squeaky mewing. I try to ignore this, but after another dozen wet, cold kisses (and now my traitorous bladder joins Sleep's enemies), I sit up, swing my legs off the bed and grab my cane. Back to bed a few minutes later. I hope getting me off the bed will be empowering enough for Her Pookiness for at least a couple more hours. Who am I fooling?
6:15 a.m. The furry disruptor moves to sit beside my head on my pillow. Her soft tail slaps across my cheek. I open my eyes just in time to see it snap, make its way back toward me and slam into my nose. Whoever is responsible for choosing the mule as a symbol of stubbornness never owned a cat.
Okay, here I go downstairs, one step at a time. A broken foot garners me little sympathy from my cats. H. P. sits on the large pillow next to my foot when I prop it, but she also takes it over if I leave it for any amount of time, and adopts an occasional 'tude when moved back to one side.
The feeding ritual is done: split one can of Science D. onto two plates, wash the bowls and fill with one-quarter cup Science D. dry. Fill the water bowl at the water dispenser and wait for the shoulder-butt. Here it is, soft , but intentional. Big Bear rams his head into my left shoulder from his morning station on our kitchen table next to the water dispenser. At twenty pounds, he can buckle your knees when he bestows these affections from the floor unexpectedly. But, from the kitchen table where he lords, purring like a mountain lion, he closes his amber eyes softly. He is happy. I place the water bowl on the table for now; his purrs grow louder as he laps.
I don't know how these animals train me to their bidding or how these routines become fixated in my everyday life. The origins blur themselves when I try to remember the first morning he purred while I filled the water bowl. I think his motor must have revved when I set it on the table instead of on the floor, giving him first dibs at drinking . Still rewarded for extra low rumblings, I am now obliged to do this every day.
7:30 a.m. I'm still up, now seated at the kitchen table with B. B., as my Muse also chooses this morning to show her face after a month-long hiatus. She conspires with Ms. Nature who sends an Eastern Towhee and the wild baby rabbit into my view. I hobble quickly to get the binoculars, paper and pen and seat myself facing the bay window. Of course, they're both gone before I return to sit. B. B. places his paws on the corner of my notebook and purrs. I begin to write.