The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

An homage to William Carlos Williams

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On a bitterly cold afternoon, my tugboat man and I embarked on our annual yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California while he trimmed the eucalyptus and mulberry trees.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
I saw bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles suffused it with a gleaming radiance through the brown. steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discover in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect child. 
I gently brushed away twenty-five years of encrusted soil and sand.steamroller2
sandboxI was engulfed in a wave of memory. I was there. I saw him–my four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  I saw him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.looking down from the hill
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.
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54 thoughts on “The Boy Who Is My Heart. So Much Depends On A Yellow Steamroller

  1. Great post and glad that it brought back so many good memories. I also love “Time is a storm in which we are all lost” William Carlos Williams. On a side note it thrills me to no end that you love the “Meow” enough to put it on your sidebar 🙂

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  2. Oh my heart–you expressed this so beautifully and authentically–I could feel exactly the things you were feeling–I could see my two little boys playing in the backyard–what a wonderful time that I did not always take the time to enjoy–beautifully written and I am getting you in my email again which makes me very happy. So I am happy, sad, and nostalgic all at once.

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  3. So you made me tear up over my morning coffee.. Finding that matchbox car was meant to happen.. How lucky for you..
    love your words!!

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  4. Both my children will be living near me soon and I can’t help be excited. We must prepare them for living and belonging in the world, away from us. They return wonderfully different. I’ve been seeing them through a different lens. Adults they are now, one to another, but it only takes the blink of an eye, or a buried toy in a sandbox, to take me back to when they were all mine. Lovely.

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  5. Incredible! Excellent poem to include at the conclusion, but it is your words about your boy, and the memories, that have pulled all my heart strings and brightened my eyes. Very well written. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    • Ohhh! Even my son said it was moving for him to read. He liked the references at the end to his dissertation. Sometimes I just miss him so much! And I miss the 4yearold boy too.

      On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 11:08 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo

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  6. How dare yo make me cry? I have errands to run!
    You realize I am working on The Next Generation. I love my sons, wish I’d had less trouble and more patience when they were younger, not that I did not give them what I had at the time.The grandson is the one who has received all the sacrifice and his circumstance provided us with what we needed to grow more as humans. The sons and granddaughters have gotten the benefits, too.The grandson’s father has had many adversities we have helped weather. Son #1 is about to stay here temporarily with wife and daughters while they find a new place.( House sale fell through, lease on apt up. Say one for me!)

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    • Wow, I didn’t mean y’all to cry! Just shed a happy tear for such a well loved boy. My neighbors took in their son/wife 2 kids sort of same situation, sold house, other one not ready. They stayed for a few months. It seemed to work out great! Plus…my mom lived with us in this house from the time we bought it until she died, for about 4 years or so. It was awesome for my son and awesome for me. My son’s dad loved her more than his own mom, so it worked out great for us. Glass half full, my dear!! (or just go hide in the bathroom with your computer and email me!)

      On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 8:09 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo

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      • I hate to shoot holes in your ideals,Kiddo, but they have lived with me before;I had two sets of teen married couples under my roof at one point,(two teenage daughters-in-law…it’s too traumatic to talk about.) I have the kids all the time; the grandson literally lived here continually from age 3 months to 4 1/2 years…and then much of the time since, until lately.
        The computer will be a big problem;it’s a PC and it gets hijacked every time either of them get into the house….so if you don’t hear from me….

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      • You need a laptop for sure! I didn’t know your history in that regard. I am sure you have the patience of a saint, I’m kind of a drill sergeant around here…ask anyone. Hubs thinks I’m funny, I say I have mild OCD. Whatever. Poor you. I guess it won’t be idyllic…Be brave.

        On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo

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      • Oh, one day, we’ll email or get on the phone for a 4 hour chat.I have developed the demeanor of a saint, but I’m not patient. You have no idea what has happened here.; I have had one particular person who is damaged -goods who has been …well. BUT I will say that Husband and I have developed more tongue-holding skills and understanding of troubled souls.If stress could kill,I would have died long ago, I used to say, but I also used to believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,…no, it makes one more patient if you allow it,but it wears you down eventually, trust me.
        I put myself in the position; it’s been my choice. I think, for all concerned, that’s enough in public.

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      • You poor dear!! Here’s urjentbiz@gmail.com if you want to vent more privately. All confidences held in confidence etc etc. There’s a lot under the surface, you have had more than your share, I can tell.

        On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo

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  7. Thanks, Kiddo…I had you through the url links, but didn’t think you needed the drama…or maybe you do.A dear (late) friend of mine considered my emails her own, private soap opera. [I have a GREAT title for it!] Maybe if you are bored when the Capt is on a long voyage…meanwhile,I have a new story ready to mail for submission. Wish me luck.

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