vitamin D for the memory
The sun makes me happy today. Sometimes, in this stage of motherhood, I feel like one of those deep-cave fish who grew out of their use for eyeballs, just going about my day with much rote, all white, in my fishbowl.
When I was little, in Columbus City, Alabama, which is not a city or even really a town, but rather more like a place you drive through on your way to Scotsboro, we had a scary, old house with a big pitch black empty attic. The bathroom had long ago been built off the side of the back porch, which had been finished as the laundry room, but we never didn’t call it the back porch.If you heard, “Where are Daddy’s boots?” and they happened to be by the dryer, someone else would say, “On the back porch.”
I remember Mama sitting in the outside doorway of the back porch with her feet on the second step down. She was having contractions with my youngest brother, and it was an Alabama sort of September hot, and the sun was so blaring that she glowed and flashed as she writhed side to side.
There was a front porch, too, and it was huge, and at one point it was screened with a porch swing. At another point, though, I remember my sister falling off (no screen) into all the roses. Our yard was full of old roses of every color that Daddy called wild roses. There was a wall of them by our driveway, too, and bees hummed so loudly there that we could hear them even over all the trucks at the asphalt plant down the road.
I do not remember a specific rain from childhood, but I have so many memories of the sun: my Mama’s switching hips to lean into her labor, Erin’s terrified face as she was lifted from the thorns, the bees and the air oily with rose as our border collie chased my neighbor away on his bicycle.
I remember the concrete steps cracked and painted brown, where we would lie our backs down and turn up to the glow as the day slipped on and the frogs and cicadas roared in the giant oak. I remember Daddy telling me to close my eyes and listen, and my face would turn hot, and the smell of fields, potatos, and concrete got so inside me that when I miss the sun, I’m missing bitterweed and sweetfeed and that sudden halt when that frog conductor tells them all to hush.
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