Grass Day

I didn’t have a good grass picture. Just flowers near some grass — you’re going to have to deal.

I try to be flexible, although I mostly fail at this. On a physical level, my body knows no flexibility: the best I’ve ever been able to manage is touching my kneecaps, not my toes. A yoga zen master I am not.

But if there was ever a day that called for flexibility, yesterday was it. I have a friend who puts stock in the Aztec calendar, where some days are “grass” days that call for everyone to bend like the grass before the wind. Yesterday brought lots of wind.

It started right at the outset, as I was attempting to compose my third blog post of the week that has yet to see the light of day. My dear, dear friends at WordPress, who seem bound to confound me at every turn, keep changing the way this blog is presented on the back end. I don’t think it looks different to readers, but back here the font suddenly is an ugly sans serif and the line spacing is enormous.

Now, this is happening to someone who in college sent several angry letters to the Bic pen company because the black ink in their basic ballpoint pens had gone from a lustrous, rich black to this blackish gray color. My friends didn’t see the problem, and Bic’s solution was to mail me an endless supply of pens with this thin new color, but Rudyard Kipling understood me: he couldn’t write unless he had pure black India ink.

So I am trying to ignore the changes WordPress makes on a weekly basis because they obviously have people with a clear need to look productive, but you have no idea how these recent changes are setting my teeth on edge.

Bend, grass, bend. Be one with the wind.

Then there was the problem not of my making, but I am trying to be helpful. My sister Tia is in the same spot Lynn and I were two years ago: they have to be out of the house they’re currently occupying by the end of the month, but their new house isn’t finished. And probably won’t be for at least a month. Or two, or, the way their builder is going, four.

So there I was, instead of blogging, tracking down the availability of the Riverwalk guest cabin for an extended, month-long stay. Any Riverwalk owner can book a stay of a week, possibly two if no one else is in the queue, but asking for a month seemed a bit much.

My request was granted, but Tia was exploring all her options, none of which are the one she and Don want — to be in their new house — and as of last night the plan calls for them to move into some house their builder has sourced, except for the week of Western Not State’s homecoming, when they will make use of our guest cabin because someone else will be in the other house.

Our outcome worked out better, with us getting our certificate of occupancy a couple hours after we closed on the sale of our old house, but Tia’s situation is conjuring up flashbacks of an uncertain and stressful time. I’m sure she is enjoying being unhoused, but I will feel better whenever she can at last move into her new home.

Bend, grass, bend. Be one with the wind.

Most of what the world required of me yesterday in the way of flexibility came, surprisingly, from middle school sports. You might not expect that to be an issue — I certainly didn’t — but the schedule called for both volleyball and football to be at home, and Mary the athletic director is still having trouble finding people to work her events.

When I got up yesterday, I knew I needed to be at the middle school for a 4 p.m. start, but I still didn’t know if this was going to be a volleyball start or a football start. And I was trying to be flexible, all casual like it really didn’t matter, but deep down inside my inflexible self I wanted to know which I would be doing. Particularly since so many other things seemed uncertain.

I had about decided I would just dress for volleyball, because that would work for football as well, where I have no dress code, when Mary sent me an e-mail saying she needed me in both places but she needed me more for volleyball.

So that was fine, but during the course of an e-mail discussion she said that one of the volleyball coaches was trying to cajole some college basketball players into officiating (seen one sport, you’ve seen them all, I guess), so then it sounded like football was back on the table.

As I was at home for lunch, musing about what I needed to stuff in my officiating backpack, my phone rang: it was Mary. The visiting volleyball players had set off from Delta, but even though the players and presumably their adult coaches on the bus tried telling the driver they needed to take the awful road over the Black, the driver refused to listen. He instead drove them to Montrose, onto Highway 50 halfway to Gunnison, where the bus was brought to a screeching halt by the road construction that everyone else on the bus had anticipated at the start of their drive. So, volleyball cancelled due to driver ineptitude, and could I keep the football clock instead?

I told Mary I didn’t want her life; she replied that she had enough J.W. — her father, a man I admired very much — in her to keep smiling, but this was testing her.

I scrapped plans for dressing in my volleyball suit, instead packing a jacket and, at the last minute, my rain poncho. Which I turned out to need after the longest half of middle school football known to mankind.

Both teams were executing big plays and scoring (Gunnison did most of that, unlike the first game I timed this season), and Gunnison was throwing the ball (in a surprisingly efficient manner), all of which stops the clock, plus Mary had decreed 10-minute quarters since there was only one game for the combined seventh- and eighth-graders.

Somewhere in the forever second quarter the wind kicked up, reminding me (as if I had forgotten) that this was a grass day. By halftime it was sprinkling, so I broke out my poncho to cover me, the game balls and the new remote that despite being 13 years newer than the old one has only half the range, as I found out the hard way once I stepped across the 50.

The rain, which never gained much strength, gave way to lightning within 10 miles of the field, an automatic requirement that all players be removed from the field and tucked safely into shelter for a mandatory 30-minute minimum.

I did not go with them, standing instead with the officials in probably the nicest weather of the afternoon: no wind, finally a parting of the clouds that had appeared right at 4 p.m., a warming temp, but as we waited Mary saw another bolt to the north of us and decided to call it a day, with 4:46 left in the third, Gunnison up 26-8 and Cedaredge with the ball on their own 38. (They wisely drove two smaller buses over the Black to be on time.)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game fizzle out quite like that. But by then, I should have realized the entire day was all about learning to reach beyond my kneecaps for my toes.

Bend, grass, bend. Be one with the wind.

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