Friday, January 13, 2012
Roses, Coppertone And Damn Bees
"There is nothing perfect,” August said from the doorway. “There is only life.”
--From The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Our next door neighbors had an above ground swimming pool which was considered pretty high class in our middle class neighborhood back in the 70’s. I was about six or seven years old before Mom decided I was old enough to swim in it without her playing lifeguard. I remember feeling quite grown up and bragging about my new privileges to my younger friends, Lavonna and Lori, who just rolled their eyes and I’m sure thought, “Oh Brother, here she goes acting all like little Miss Know-It-All again.”
I can remember counting the seconds and giving an update to Mom every ten minutes of that torturous hour after lunch that I was required to wait in order to avoid succumbing to the deeply dreaded cramps whose merciless reputation was facilitated by generations of mothers. Luckily, today’s mothers are no longer subjected to the whining plea of, “Aw come on Mom, I swear I’ll just sit on the side and put my feet in. I swear I won’t get in. Can I go, Mom? Can I? Can I? Pleeeeeaaaaasssssssseee?” since the fabled cramps have now gone the way of stuck crossed-eyes and gum that stuck in your stomach for seven years.
Finally the hour would be up or Mom would finally crater and I would run out the front door and across the neighbor’s yard and around the side of their house to the gate to their back yard and that 8 ft. in diameter oasis of flimsy aluminum filled with cool chlorinated water. Along the side of their house ran a hedge of climbing roses and bees were drawn there by the sun warmed intoxicating perfume. They would happily buzz around in a drowsy lull until a golden headed little girl raced by and the new intoxicating scent of Coppertone turned their heads and they would give chase.
Sorry Mom. I didn’t sit on the side and dangle my feet for 10 minutes like I promised.
Yesterday morning I was sitting on my back patio and that same scent from so many years ago floated in from the blooming roses in my flowerbed.
“We need to leave in 10 minutes,” I hollered in to the cap’n as I put the camera and Coppertone in my beach bag. We were headed up the coast a ways with a group of friends to the village of Sisal with its uninhabited sweeping beaches.
If we had been traveling by boat, Sisal would be a hop, skip and a jump from here but we were going by automobilia and because of one inlet that lacked a bridge, we had to drive all the way inland to Merida and then back out to the coast.
When our caravan finally arrived at Sisal’s windswept dune, we spilled out of our cars like eager seven year olds. As I crested one of the dunes and looked at the miles of remote beach that stretched as far as my eyes could see I thought, “I could live here for a while. I could walk these beaches for hours without seeing a soul. I could write “my book” without interruption. I could drink without anyone knowing.”
I ran down to the water and dove in.
So today I’m just out there doing my best to stop and smell the roses and dodging those damn bees.