Reality Nest

It’s that early morning time of day when the light is just starting to shift the sky from black to indigo blue and everything feels kind of glowy. Out my window I see very tall pine trees, black against the baby-bluing sky. A developer has plans to cut them down to make room for luxury condos on the neighboring lot. But we’ll see if that happens or not. The wind has been blowing weirdly a lot in that way it does in California. Like if we were a movie the wind would be a character and people would be holding their hair on their heads as they walked from doorways to cars. Pine needles and pinecones and all kinds of plant matter litter the ground outside. When I saw the mess in our yard yesterday morning I’ll admit my first thought was, “We need to move somewhere with less trees.”

I like to look at real estate listings online for no reason other than fantasy. But it can warp my mind. In the real estate listings the patios are all gleamingly perfectly clean and the living rooms don’t have small mounds of toys piled up in the corners, or strewn around down the hallways. The furniture is not all scratched up by Cleo the cat, or discolored from barefooted children jumping on it, and there are no puffy recliners.

I guess that’s why they call it real estate porn. It’s all a bit too perfect, which is actually less perfect than reality, because it doesn’t exist. Reality involves imperfection, and it’s more than ok, it’s beautiful. I know that, but sometimes I forget and I long for a fictional existence where my hair is always a long and lustrous mane of banana curls rather than appreciating my true existence, my true home, my true family, my true self.

After Ax woke up we got in the backyard. We began collecting the fallen debris and piling it up, examining each item. A pine needle. A pinecone. A small flower. A petal from a small flower. The middle part of a small flower: “Mom, that is the stamen.” A bamboo leaf. A different kind of leaf from a mystery plant. A big yellow leaf. A brown, baby leaf, partly eaten by a bug or perhaps a bird.

We identified mini flower petals and determined that they would be good for collaging, which we talked about but didn’t do because I am not emotionally prepared to bring Ax and glue together in our home. Preschool is a great place to make collages. Our home is a great place for most everything else. And that’s the truth, even without a sectional sofa.