DandelionAt 5:30, I pull off my sleep mask and open the curtains. I see a faint skim of green over the back yard. I think, “It’s happening. Alaska Native Wildflowers are sprouting. They’re alive. There’s already ROI in landscaping.” Believe me, it’s a modest investment but a gracious plenty, even with Alaska prices, for a skinny city lot and a budget leaner than that. Besides, the entire front is a gravel driveway.

I put on my glasses, make the bed, muck the litter box while Leo makes a cursory swipe at his jute scratching post. This is to throw off my investigation of disfigurement of the leather sofa I bought last summer on Craig’s List. The housesitter discovered the damage while I was Outside.

Leo races upstairs and at the top leaps halfway up the wall. Listen, if someone was going to make coffee for me and serve breakfast, I would leap. But that ain’t gonna happen, so I unkink as I go. I circle my arms, roll my head, blink. Sometimes there’s just not enough night.

I flip on the electric kettle to heat water for coffee: one cup of regular and not a sip more or I’m driven to do crazy things like iron sheets. I did that the first full day I was home from Outside, when a little groggy, a little disoriented after nearly three weeks in my sister’s kitchen, I used regular instead of decaf for my second cup.  I turn up the volume on the radio I bought at the Salvation Army. It looks OK but the on/off switch doesn’t work so it’s always on and permanently set on KBBI AM890. I listen to national and Alaska news, which today includes the Pavlof volcano eruption, the Funny River fire, and a grass fire out East End Road.

I pour hot water through a paper cone into my favorite mug (dark brown pottery, made with no handle), feed Leo his preferred mix of wet and dry food. I cook a bowl of steel-cut oats in the microwave (I’ve perfected this: power level 5 so no eruptions of oatmeal lava). I dress it with blueberries and a bit of banana. Organic stuff, all of it, and expensive. Designer gruel.

I check e-mail, read Writer’s Almanac, Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily meditation (currently he’s writing on the Enneagram, which I do not get . . . I am all of the types). I read NY Times online. Good stuff in Home and Garden. By 6:30 a.m., the sun and I have been up a little more than an hour.

House June 6 2014 006I peel off pajama bottoms, pull on ratty jeans and wool socks, pop a jacket over my pajama top.  On the front porch, I poke my feet into XTraTuffs, no longer embarrassingly new. I tromp around back and unwind the new, green garden hose Matt brought over a couple of days ago.

I set the sprayer on shower mode and walk backward, waving it back and forth like a priest swinging the incense thurible. Swing to the west and water catches sunlight from the east, so every other step, I see a rainbow. Tiny white butterflies flit through the air. Sometimes they’re in couples. Hmmm. I move slowly back yard to front, eyes cast down to catch sight of infant Alaska Native Wildflowers.

Rhubarb Oasis smallIt will be a miracle when I see them. The green I saw earlier must have been the reflection of a wall of trees at the back of the lot on the hard surface of the yard. Maybe the Alaska Native Wildflowers will push up through the cracks that are forming as the ground dries. But in case they don’t, I’m not discouraging what was already here. Pushki grows along my side of the next-door neighbors’ privacy fence. Later in the summer there’ll be gigantic blooms that look like Queen Anne’s lace on steroids. Horsetail persists, along with Alaska size buttercups and dandelions. To one side of the driveway, wild roses and small alders poke through tall grass. And a patch of rhubarb survived excavation and construction. I won’t harvest it, because the enormous leaves create a small green oasis on the east side of the house.

Matt and Beth advise me to have hope and keep watering, and I will, but I’m automating the process. After a cup of decaf, I’m going to buy a sprinkler at Ulmer’s Everything But Groceries and Pets.

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