by cheri block
I sit in a hard plastic lounge chair reading Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day but find myself distracted by the enormous cactus growing out of the red rock that lines my mother’s Arizona patio home. Its ribbed arms, protected by rows of needles lined up tactically in the best of Army formations, remind me of the emotional pain I could inflict on myself, lest I succumb to sentimentality.
A lone bunny with a white cotton tail hops into the scene and sits up on her haunches, transporting me to more carefree times on the same patio when both of my parents were alive and vital.
The cactus and the bunny witness two quail race by, the female ahead of the male, his black feathered plume bobbing mechanically up and down.
On the patio of my mother’s desert home–her retreat from the isolation she must have felt at times in Sacramento after my father’s death and after her bout with meningitis–she could grasp at independence, albeit with her cochlear implant, walker, and adult three-wheeled bicycle.
Today, surrounded by thorns, bunnies, and quail, my head chases my heart away in a zen effort to enjoy the moment.
Still, the memories invade. How do I seize the day here in the Land of the Sun when hers are now in assisted living?
I redirect my thoughts and realize that they are mine, not hers.
For she continues to inspire us all like a dazzling diamond worn in the tiara of a Bedouin desert princess.