Last Saturday afternoon my husband and I were with friends to kick back, enjoy some good banter and play Uno. Our discussion turned to the weather and since one of the guests is new from Massachusetts, had not yet experienced our summer monsoon season. Over the weekend Tucson was given a 30% chance of showers. Officially monsoon season begins June 15, but we can get early teasers. By mid-afternoon, a nice cloud ‘build up’ was climbing the horizon due to the forecast, and the sky darkened and lightened until right before dark. By the following morning, the sky was clear as a bluebell. But, by Sunday afternoon, the tops of whiteheads began to form and move forward, building and darkening. It did rain, but not on us…yet.
I shared how as kids, we spent many a day lying flat on our backs in yards scattered across our little township, one leg crossed over another, pointing, imagining, and pondering the creatures we saw and the stories we made up.
On the southeast wall of my studio is a big window overlooking our backyard. Inside, underneath the window is a cream wicker couch I found in Illinois at and antique shop along the Mississippi River. I’ve lined it with custom-made cushions and various throw pillows. I sit and do much reading, idea notetaking, journal, napping on a chilly winter afternoon, and cloud watch. Some time ago, one of our prompts at the writers’ group had to do with two rabbits. I immediately pulled out a card in my ‘stack’. (I am a notorious blank greeting card collector.) The card portrays one of my favorite past times as mentioned.
“Pepper, get over here, quick. Shhhhhs, not a sound.” Napier pulls his friend closer behind a tree, particularly where the grass is the highest. The two rabbits poke their pink noses through the blades and wiggle with glee. It is old man Waffle and his wife Wanda. Oh my. They don’t know it, but they truly give one a belly laugh.
Waffle sat the straw basket down and first thing, tipped it on its side with his bottom as he bent toward the ground to pick up the first old apple. Wanda gave a long, very long rigid sigh and sat it upright.
“Would you watch what you are doing? Where’s the stool? I don’t see it. Didn’t you bring it out here Waffle?” He grunted and looked up in the tree, his backside to Wanda. She peered up into the tree. “Oh, you think you put it up there, did you? Umph.” Wanda strode toward the garden shed.
“Didn’t take long did it?” said Pepper to his furry companion.
“No, only four blades. Last time I ate six before Wanda got in a miff. I’ve only had time to nibble down on four. Only four!”
Waffle hummed as he found a few more old apples on the ground and placed them in the basket. One of the handles hung loosely. He moved the basket with his foot closer to the tree. No sign of Wanda. He pulled out a pipe and lit it up. Oh, the smell of good tobacco. Pepper’s eyes began to water, and his nose wiggled, and Napier placed his front foot over Pepper’s nose.
“Don’t you dare, don’t you dare! We’ll be found out. You know we are not supposed to be in this orchard!”
“Ah chissssssssssssss!!” Waffle removed his pipe and turned around. ‘Mumm. What was that?’ Pepper and Napier buried their heads and bodies flat in the grass. Waffle tamped his pipe, relocated it in his pocket, and ambled past the tree to a small clearing. Napier quickly rolled Pepper over on his back and told him not to move and Napier flopped over on his back just as Waffle parted the tall bright green blades.
“What are you two doing here?” Waffle bent low over the two innocent rabbits who blinked with a fluttery scuffle.
“Oh, cloud watching. This spot has the best view. See?” and pointed to the bundle of white and gray cotton balls floating overhead.
“Waffle, where are you? You better not be loafing again.” Wanda stuck her head around the apple tree. “Get back over here and fill this basket. I brought the stool, now get yourself on it and get those apples.” Waffle winked at the two little rabbits and shuffled toward his wife. “I smell tobacco. Is that what you were doing Waffle?”
Waffle took Wanda’s arm and moved her out from under the tree limbs loaded with apples to a big round clear spot. “Look up. Take your time. What do you see Wanda?”
“Well, I’ll be.”
Take a few minutes next time your clouds roll in and let yourself go.