Saturday, May 11, 2013

mud puppy

I've been asked to write about some of my favorite memories of my childhood. I like this idea. I might think of a bigger, meaningful theme to thread them all together - but for now, here is a vignette, a little slice to illustrate the type of parents I had, the environment they created, the life we lead.
Getting hosed off in the backyard
One of my favorite memories is spending time in the backyard in my dad's garden with him. There was a plum tree in the garden, and underneath the branches was an old wooden worktable. I would climb the plum tree and look down on my dad's head, bent over the table while he - what? I don't even know, quite honestly. Sorted seeds? Wrote plant labels? I am not sure what he was doing at that table. I do remember the pencil he had there - an old pink and turquoise sparkly pencil that was about half the length it had once been. Sometime I would sit underneath the table, looking up. A lot of times I would drag over a bucket - about half as tall as I was, and load the dirt in. I'd add water, and stir. I remember looking at the bubbles I'd make in that mud, the little pieces of sticks or grass floating in the whirlpool I made by stirring.

Adding grout to a mosaic coffee table
just another way I love to get messy
On the first day of summer I had a tradition - I would make my bucket of mud, and drag it over to the back fence. I would then paint the back fence with mud - every bit of it. I remember watching the brown mud spill down my forearms as I lifted the paintbrush above me to paint.

Later, after I had exulted in the paint job I had done, I'd get hosed off by my dad, jump in the pool, eat watermelon, whatever else we would do on a summer evening. My dad would hose off the back fence. I remember the strongest feeling I had was satisfaction.

Basking in the sun and the mud at Glen Ivy Spa...
see, even grown-up Roya digs (haha, get it?) the mud!
Looking back on it, it makes sense to me that I did that, and loved it. I've always loved mud and getting messy. I've mentioned my love of ceramics here before, and later on I'd love clearing streams at the Nature Center, and making adobe at Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe Days. I also love thinking about my parents watching their 8, 9, 10 year old painting the back fence with mud. How glad I am they realized how much I was getting out of it. How they realized it was only mud, nothing permanent.

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