Monthly Archives: June 2020

Distractions from my Deck

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

I love my deck. I mean the actual deck needs to be redone or maybe demolished and rebuilt. But I still love my deck.

I come out here to work, to write, to read, to meditate, to play games with the kids, to be distracted.

I like to look up at the trees where I can’t see the houses behind them and imagine I live deep in the forest. A cabin, or a treehouse, but clean. No bugs.

Maybe it’s my childhood full of reading Berenstain Bears and Richard Scary that makes me think I might be able to fashion a house out of a big tree, with neat labels on everything.

In reality, even my deck umbrella has a huge spider web from corner to corner. So I’m thinking that a whole cabin in the woods would probably give me more spider issues than I really want.

I’m not as outdoorsy as I wish I were, but I do love, you know, being outdoors.

It’s quieter here, kinda. Unless you start to pay attention to the birds. Their tweeting is melodic until it gets repetitive. There’s also the mower in the next street over. Or is it a leaf blower? I don’t know. It becomes white noise until it stops and starts and stops and starts again. When there is finally a moment of no mower, no tweeting, no cars driving by, the dog usually starts barking.

Usually it’s a bark to tell us about a leaf, or perhaps a squirrel. He stands on the sunny part of the deck, lifting his paws one at a time to relieve them from the burn and he stares into the yard, barking. The other day he was barking at a deer nearly camouflaged at the back of our lawn. The deer looked up from chewing on some low brush and just stared right back at Finn. She stayed for awhile and we imagined that she and Finn could actually be bestest of friends. And then she left.

Later that day I saw her again on my walk. I turned Finn away before he could see her, and we walked the other way. But she followed me for a bit as if she had something to tell me. I’m not sure if that was a sign or a visit or just a random deer. (Again, my childhood of reading animal stories may have something to do with my thinking that the animals have messages for me.) I am on the lookout for signs from Mardi, but I think she might only send rabbits and rainbows, which doesn’t even make sense. I can see her laughing, eyebrows curled at the very thought. Rabbits and rainbows?

Yesterday I came out on my deck and thought about how nice it would be to have Mardi over for a glass of wine. She’d probably like my rainbow flowers, and she’d be nice about the mess of my house, yard, life. We’d laugh about it all. It took me just a sliver of a second to remember that she’s gone. That sliver of a second was nice though.

So I sat and closed my eyes and meditated a bit into quietness. When I opened my eyes and looked at my yard, there was a rabbit. I said, “Ha. Funny Mardi” out loud. The bunny hopped away into the woods, and I got up to make dinner for the kids.

A slice of another mystery

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

On the deck, Finn starts acting like a wack-a-loon. He’s sniffing around and we think maybe he’s been stung by a bee.

The kids are freaking out.

“Call the vet right now.”
“I think he’s having a seizure.”

We try to calm the children. We say, “Let’s just finish our dinner and watch him. He probably just got stung or something.”

We try to sit and finish dinner, but the children are preoccupied with Finn’s preoccupation. He’s really sniffing the edge of the deck, and his tail is curled under.

“He’s scared!” the kids yell.

“There’s probably a bear under the deck!” they say and the freaking out begins again.

Everyone is convinced that there is a bear hiding under our deck. They refuse to calm down until we check.

Mr. Thought asks, “If it is a bear, will I be able to outrun it back up the steps?”

The kids tell him no, but remind him that he only has to creep down the steps and look under the deck, he doesn’t have to go all the way down to the doorway where he would, perhaps, corner the bear and be attacked.

Mr. Thought practices getting over the gate quickly.

H takes Finn inside, where Finn begs to be let back out to the deck to protect us all.

Mr. Thought walks down the steps slowly, looks around, and walks back up slowly.

“I was about to give up my search when I saw the most …”

H comes back out, “What was there? Was it a bear?”

Mr. Thought begins again in a slow calm voice. “Everything is okay.”

There’s something about the way he says it though, that makes us all feel like maybe he did see a mama bear hiding in the corner under the deck.

“I was about to give up my search when I saw the most beautiful nest of baby birds!”

I can’t wait for the next time we think there’s a bear close by. Third time’s the charm, maybe?

That was last night. The birds are learning to fly today. It’s nice, but I mean I feel like we just met them and now they are all grown up.