The day began with beautiful birds and ended with me stuck in the mud clutching four pounds of potato salad against my chest between a slope and the side of our car in the dark.
The birds were stunning. The potato salad (and coleslaw) was tasty but heavy. The mud was sucking. If I moved forward, I would fall. If I moved backward, I would slide. In any case, movement would likely mean exploding containers of potato salad all directions. So I stayed still and let Ken surgically remove each container of potato salad from me until I could escape the thick hold of the earth enough to head up the grassy slope. I also laughed so hard that I almost fell over.
What happened in between seeing birds and getting stuck in the mud was both a day of the usual running of errands (including getting child-proof knobs for the stove now that Shay has learned how to turn on the burners, plus new water pistols for our Shay-training regime) and the very rare (a family reunion featuring over a dozen Lassmans from California to Virginia). The child-proofed stove knobs meant I could leave our home without fear for what the dog might do in my absence. The reunion meant I could team up with my sisters-in-law and Ken to put on a big family meal (thus the potato salad).
All went well, and it was a joy to be with people I hadn’t seen in a year or 15 years or at all (such as some new second cousins-in-law once removed or something like that). But there was something was being stuck in the mud with the potato salad after dinner, a little drizzle easing down from the sky, that crystallized today for me just as there was something about taking photos this morning of the beautiful birds. Both moments snapped their fingers at me saying the usual about the unusual: here it is, fleeting and shining, so gorgeous or so stuck in the mud. I laughed at the birds. I laughed at the mud.