Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The Joy of Throwing
My studio. Quiet. No voices, no sound of the television, no telephone.
I take the cool clay in my hands, begin to wedge, that movement that women throughout the ages made every morning when they baked bread for their family. My mind wanders to what a simpler time might have been like.
I look outside at the mockingbird perched outside my window. It is a perfect seventy six degrees and the windows are open, breeze blowing in gently. He looks at me and gives me the greeting of a cheerful trill, then flies off.
I have six balls of clay ready. That should be enough.
I sit at the wheel, wet the bat, slap the ball of clay in the middle and begin to center. I am a wet thrower, so before I know it, I am up to my wrists in mud. Vivaldi is playing on the CD. I am in heaven.
Then I hear it. The sucking sound of the studio door opening.
I click off the CD and sit very still. Maybe….
I don’t say anything for a moment. If I just pretend I am invisible….
“MOM!!!! I know you’re up here.”
Okay, this is a fifteen year old boy, perfectly capable of foraging in the pantry for something to eat. Heck, if he lived in some other country across the world, he might be out HUNTING for something to eat. BAREFOOT!
“Chris, go look in the pantry.”
“I did. We don’t have anything.”
Of course, he’s right. I avoid the grocery store like the plague. Then it hits me -- his sixteen-year-old sister that drives.
“Ask Danielle to take you up to McDonald’s.”
“She’s PMS-ing. Mom, I’m really hungry.”
How did I get myself into this? Mother-as-savior-of-all-things-remotely-uncomfortable. Isn’t this one of the things that’s wrong with our youth? Perpetual childhood, a friend of mine calls it. He’ll want his wife to fix him food when he’s forty because I have ruined him.
Then I begin to think about what a good kid he is. How lucky I am that he’s not on the street dealing crack cocaine and piercing his nipples. How he brings home A’s and B’s and has a strong sense of helping those less fortunate. How, when he was little….
“Oh, okay. Give me a minute.”
I wipe the clay from my hands and throw a piece of plastic over my nicely centered little lump of clay. As I go to walk out of the room I look back at the window. The mockingbird is back. And I could be crazy but I think he is laughing at me. MOCKING me!
“Go to hell!” I yell at him.
I go downstairs and shut the door of the studio behind me, knowing I will get caught up in the day and that the little centered lump of clay will be there tomorrow, probably totally unusable.
I justify it. I only have a few more years of hearing my son ask me for something to eat. Only a few more years of my children living under my roof, giving me all the joy and pain that only children can do. Only a few more years….
The clay will wait.