After Zafer, the thing I miss the most is my brain.
It feels like someone dumped a gallon of latex paint into my skull such that all brain function is coated and impaired.
It shows up in little things, like finishing sentences and thoughts successfully. I used to have a vocabulary. I miss that.
Before Zafer died I saw an online posting from some guy who needed cattails for his green building project. I thought that was interesting. I live on a pond, and I hate cattails. So I responded to his online query and invited him to take all the cattails he wanted.
After a bunch of emails back and forth he came by today, with his partner.
But today I was guarded. Worn down from constant visitor traffic, and wanting to protect Tami from the wide world, I merely went out to sit on the step and put on my work boots.
What I saw was a beautiful young idealistic couple who are building a super green home in Silk Hope with an earthen floor. Their walls will have an earth plaster finish—the recipe for which calls for cattails.
Through the latex coating of my brain came a memory of a night on the town with Sukita Reay Crimmel. She is a New Society author. We had a lot of laughs together. Sukita has been corresponding with the young couple from Silk Hope. And they are working from her book. They are fans of hers.
I learned all of this as I sat on my stoop, protecting my space from strangers, lacing up my boots. I talked about our failures with earth plaster. The cobb structure in Moncure was coated in earth plaster and it became a magnet for carpenter bees. Filling up with fuel is not a problem, as long as you have no fear of bees. The straw bale structure that houses the Pittsboro tank is also coated in earth plaster. It simply cracks and falls off all the time. At Piedmont Biofuels, we are 0-2 on earth plaster projects. Total fail.
Apparently these folks are working with Logan Parker on their place. That made me feel better. Logan knows what he is doing. I told them that I knew Logan. He made our cabinets.
There was a time when I would have invited them in, showed them all around our beautiful passive solar home with solar powered radiant floor heating. I could have pointed out the “live edge” aspects of Logan’s cabinets. I could have made snarky comments about Tami’s chicken chandelier.
But I’m not there, yet.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I have been on the edge of green building for many years. I couldn’t tell them that Zafer used to work for Logan, making boards on his sawmill. And doing flunky work. I couldn’t tell them that at Shakori I liberated Logan and Liz from their new born daughter Amelia, and carried her around for a time.
Having had four children of my own, I can easily handle newborns, or children of any age, really. What the cattail seekers might not have known, is that I’m down to three kids. What they don’t know is that I am fragile and afraid. What they don’t know is that chatting with them was a break from my unbearable reality.
Inside our house we read the coroner’s report that describes Zafer’s dead body. “The fingernails are short, dirty, and free of tears.” Through my own tears I reflect on how I occasionally have dirt under my nails. Atta boy, Z.
Outside our house I talk cattail construction. We missed the spring blooming season. I wanted to be enthusiastic for the young couple. Here’s hoping they will come back in the fall, and harvest a good bit of cattail biomass for their walls. I hate cattails.
And I hate being damaged goods…