1. I call out the letters and watch as Nora negotiates the crayon into upper and lower case symbols, and all this time she's been at kindergarten, she's been figuring out the sounds and the curves and lines that make it possible for her to write, as I do across the impossible distance sitting here in fields of Nebraska, the words: I love you. And he will write back with his heart all exposed like a dynamite bird because he probably went to kindergarten, too. Yes.
2. The garden is dismantled but for the chard and the fall planting that may yet yield red sail lettuce, spinach, radish and turnip, sweet peas. The field mice had made a home in the herb bed. I found the downy milkweed seed gathered into a soft bedding pulled across the hole they dug. My yanking and pulling woke them, and they jumped out scampering for cover. The cats immediately went to work, grabbing one and flinging it high in the air. I ran after the brute yelling, "Leave it alone. It's just a little thing!" And then I remember that I caught seven of them in traps last month. And I wonder about context. The day I bought the mouse traps, I also bought food for Henrietta, Nora's hamster. And it just seemed silly and uncomfortable in some ways looking down in the grocery cart and seeing small rodent food next to the snapping mouth of the trap. What is this strange world with all its strange rules?
3. We talk and love through talk. We bake the bread and spend half the day simmering beans because we love the children, love making something healthy and slow in this speeding world. I knead the dough. I've lost track of time. Push it forward in the loose flour. Right hand folds the top down and a quarter twist. I don't remember ever having been taught this motion. The bread must have told me how it dreamed and wanted rendering. And on the counter: nine half-pints of bartlett pear and rosemary preserves: lemon zest and honey calling the bitter and the loving halves of us together so we might forget ourselves long enough to just be ourselves, a little bit sour but mostly good and gentle.