The past week was one of wind and fire. A stray bullet fired in the wild scorched the earth and draped billowing black clouds over the Salt Lake valley. Everything seems barren; sterile; unyielding. I spend the week preparing for my son's 6th birthday party, which --fittingly--is pirate themed. I hang a banner of skulls and crossbones across my kitchen and rummage through storage for the orange Tupperware container holding our Halloween decorations, retrieving a life-sized cardboard skeleton and tacking it to the wall. Its paper bones rattle in the wind of the incessant, useless ceiling fan.
I am longing for bone-white paper and black ink that runs like marrow, yet I have not written a word in days.
The week is punctuated by the passing of my paternal grandfather. Days before his death, my family gathers in his bedroom at the care center. The walls of the room are adorned with sepia photos of my grandpa as a young man, vibrant color photos of him and his wife, his children --yet he is shrouded in a white blanket on his bed, still except for the breath rattling in his lungs. I press my dry lips to his wrinkled forehead, and bid him goodbye.
The landscape of my mind is barren. I cannot write a word.
On the radio, I listen to an interview with Glen Hansard. He says that it is not necessary to work, work, work all the time. That, sometimes, it is useful to have a fallow period. A time to rest. Reflect. Revive.
This week, despite the sweltering heat, there are signs of life. My children and I inspect a captured spider under a magnifying glass, marveling at its delicacy. We watch the honeybees in the garden collect nectar from the flowers. We check daily on the four hatched triops, a gift from my sister, swimming in a Mason jar filled with water on my son's bookshelf. When it is time for swim lessons, I sit on the bleachers of an indoor pool and, the muggy, chlorine-soaked air notwithstanding, watch in delight as my children become weightless in water.
I am hopeful that this season of heat will not render the field of my mind scorched, but incubated.