Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Chair In The Flower Bed (A Conversation While Playing Badminton)

I hit the birdie back to my teenage son. Glancing toward the house while he retrieved my way out of bounds shot, I saw something slightly unusual.

“Why is there a chair in the flower bed?” I asked.

“I had to move it off the roof when the guys came to put the new roof on,” he answered, with a swoop of his racquet.

We rallied a few moments in silence, he, my daughter, and I.

Then I laughed. “That leaves a big unanswered question.”

They both laughed, and my son offered: “It’s a good place to sit. On the roof.”

I looked at the sloped roof with its new rainy-sky-gray shingles. I looked back at my son with bemusement. “How can it possibly be a good place to sit?”

He smiled a crooked smile, pointed his racquet toward the roof’s peak, and said, “Up there, at the top. The chair fits perfectly - the legs come down on the sides and rest against the roof.”

I pictured it. “That’s dangerous! What if you fall?”

“I won’t fall. It’s safe. It fits really well on there.”

We continued hitting the birdie back and forth, and I found myself choosing to trust him. People sky-dive and bungee-jump and do all sorts of risky things.

I imagined him sitting up there, and I didn’t ask why he would want to sit on the roof.

After all, he was my son, and I remembered clearly winter nights of childhood when I walked barefoot in my flannel nightgown through the midnight snow gazing up at the stars, the moon, the inky vastness above me . . . wondering, pondering, questioning, and just being me in the world . . . a little perplexing to my parents, who always wanted me to come inside and go back to bed before I froze . . .

So, a chair on the roof — temporarily in the flower bed — made sense when I allowed it to. And while perhaps not entirely safe, it seemed natural, and necessary, and magical, and . . . good.   

P.S. If you or someone you love wonders, wanders, ponders, and perplexes, you may find comfort, as I did, in the pages of Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer? I was (am?) a “dreamer child” and when I read this book several years ago it felt good to be understood. 

1 comment:

  1. After several months of trying, here goes again... I really enjoy reading this so my return again and again to make comment has been a blessing in disquise! Thanks for your imagery and your sharing in such an open-hearted way! < 3