daily fieldnotes

A Faraway Fourth 2

Evening brings a neighborhood phone tree of yipping dogs, one fierce bark setting off another at intervals. The barks ring out in synchrony with the children’s yells that puncture the air. It’s 10pm, and the sun just set. The sky is a soft steely blue. The cicadas hum in the tall junipers, then stop, until just one is left in the wisteria arbor across the pool. A breeze as gentle as grass blades whispers at the curtains.

Independence Day is a funny holiday to be across the Atlantic. Like Thanksgiving, its ours and ours alone. No fireworks, no BBQs here in Spain. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner like any other day. The heat pulsed like a July Fourth in Northern California, but the sweetish smell of sparkler smoke did not fill our lungs tonight. When Basil is older, maybe we will do something special for the Fourths we spend here.

Today, we swam instead. In and out of the pool before lunch, then again before dinner. Basil was uncertain about the water. His small body clung to me at first. We hadn’t been in a pool since last summer. But then he warmed up to it. His abuelo grinned at him, and swam to the end of the pool and back, blowing bubbles and making him giggle. In a moment of excitement, Basil lunged from my arms towards his abuelo, dipped his face in the water, and came up crying in surprise.

This is why we’re here. For afternoons like this. So Basil can feel his abuela’s love as he gets wrapped in a bright green towel by the pool. So Basil can feel the happiness he causes when he decides to come back in the pool again, lets his abuelo hold him.

The shadows deepen now, the street lights click on, and the last cicada falls silent. I can hear only silence now, a hum of soft crickets in the distance. The children have gone inside, for their late Spanish dinners, then bed. Just one child across the scrubby meadow calls out now, setting off the dogs again. I lean back and feel my dress get soaked from a wet pool towel hung to dry on the chair behind me. The air still hangs heavy with the day’s heat, so it will dry soon enough.


  1. Megsie

    07/04/2013 at 10:33 pm

    Oh, Willow. You write so beautifully. So descriptive and clear. I feel the heat and the wet towel soaking into my back as well. Oh, and my favorite line is the last one: “The air still hangs heavy with the day’s heat, so it will dry soon enough.” Ah. Beautiful.

    My prediction is that Basil will be a FISH by the time you leave. Sarah was reluctant as well, until she had some time with a pool. Then, love grew. What a wonderful opportunity for you to see the bond grow between Basil and your mother-in-law. That is also beautiful.

    Sending you a big hug for a happy Independence Day! xo

  2. Jerusha

    07/05/2013 at 1:17 pm

    Loving these new posts! Ahhh. I can feel the expansion into both newness and the familiar as you bring us along on your travels. 🙂


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