I’m starting to emerge out of the fog of illness, but I’m not firing on all cylinders quite yet. I always check to see that the memory card is in my camera, but I forgot to yesterday morning, so when we arrived at the garden on one of the most gorgeous mornings of the season, my camera was a no-show.
Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I kept seeing interesting things that I wanted to photograph. I took a few shots with my phone, but it’s not the same. I appreciate the convenience of having a camera on me all the time in the form of my phone, but it’s never really felt like a camera to me. There’s something different in carrying around my “real” camera when I’m in the garden. My phone is tucked away – I only check it occasionally for the time.
It’s pretty dark now at seven when we leave the house. We drive east to the stop sign just a few feet away, before turning north. The sky is so gorgeous every morning, streaked with watercolors. We cross a diagonal thoroughfare, and catch a brief glimpse of downtown silhouetted against the sunrise. M used to work in a corner office on the nineteenth floor of the tallest building downtown. He was always there before the sun went up, and had the best photographs of it.
We’ve gotten into the habit of stopping for breakfast on the way to the garden instead of making something quickly at home. I tell myself each week that I need to be better at making a portable breakfast ahead of time that we can grab and go, but I never seem to get around to it. Sleeping as late as possible always seems to win out, even if “late” really means that the alarm sounds before the six o’clock hour. But I’ve let her add steamed apple juice to the breakfast tab, and she adds a little whipped cream. She never finishes it completely, and she doesn’t need it. It pushes our modest breakfast tab beyond the threshold of modest for a weekly occurrence, and each Wednesday I consider whether it is worth it.
But now they recognize her, and they steam it just right – not too hot – and make the whipped cream into a funny little tower before squishing it down with the lid in front of her. She drinks it in slow sips on the way down the street to the garden, and then bigger drinks as we head off to school an hour later. When I finally pull into the parking lot at work, I pick up the cup, now cold, and feel its weight. I take a drink and it tastes like fall, but sweeter. Too sweet to drink any more, but just a taste to carry our morning with me for a few more minutes.