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2017 May 2
by Rachel Turiel

Spring is coming on fast and green. I spend a portion of every day gazing out at the pink and white canopies of our fruit trees (which, from above, look as tight and bouncy as trampolines) in a neurotic, love-sick panic over savoring them while they’re here.

Taking sub-par, indoor photographs of my family while blooming fruit trees explode with color in the background is one of my strategies for clinging to the short season. Here’s Col eating a burrito with pink and white trees behind him.

“I’m not really a surly tween, I just play one on my mom’s blog.” (Plus, blooming crabapple in background.)

Here’s Col and Dan tolerating being posed while blooms start to fade out.

Col is in a state of quiet emergence, pushing forth courageously into the light of spring. He’s dusting himself off after a long winter in the opium den of his lego pile, peering out the window wondering what’s out there that might be fun for a 12 year old boy. His comfort zone can exist within a slim circumference (lego pile and comic books at the center), but I sense his boundaries expanding.

Yesterday he announced he wanted to start a Boys Hobby Club in which he and some friends launch rockets and fly model airplanes together; he is loving Aikido; he wants to try parkour classes. After his last soccer game, in which he tried to score for the first time (in competitive games he’s usually more comfortable in defense) he told me, “I usually like to let my team members score, but this time I just wanted to try.” He shrugged while I suppressed the urge to jump off the stadium seat of my couch and cheer wildly, hoisting the goal-attempting soccer player on my shoulders while celebratory music blared. Instead, I played it cool and squeaked out an emotion-tinged, “I saw that, honey!”

Here’s Col’s invitation to his friend Ben for the Boys Hobby Club. “The club is about launching rockets, piloting model vehicles/airplanes, building models,etc…”

“Call my mom for details.

Details are unknown.”

Kill me.

Col (he’s really not surly) in front of the moose hide Dan’s tanning.

Moose hide softened!

Yesterday, in the writing class I teach to ten homeschoolers, we learned about emotions that other cultures have named (from this article) like “gigil,” a Tagalog word which means: “the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished.” I would have to add “or bite. Specifically, 9-yr old bottoms.” Or “desbundar,” a Portuguese word meaning, “the feeling of shedding one’s inhibitions while having fun.”

I had the kids create and name their own emotions. They were all fantastic. Col’s was “That feeling when you find a really good stick and then you accidentally break it and have to find another one.” This might be the first discussion topic of the Boys Hobby Club. They could bring in a golden retriever to be a guest speaker.

My word was “sweat-reward,” that feeling when you’ve reached the top of your hilly run, you can taste the sweat dripping down your face, you feel worked but strong, and you know that the hardest part is behind you.

Dan’s was “track-elation,” that feeling you get when you find a fresh deer or elk track and there’s no other human footprints around, and you know you’re the first to spot the track. Also related: track-deflation.

Rose’s word was that feeling when you see that spot of gunk on your floor and you think you can just wipe it up easily with a rag, but it actually requires scraping. With tools.

Rose and Col are the funniest married couple who aren’t actually married. Yesterday Col walked out of his room and Rose said, “Col, you really should change your –”

Col: “Nope.”

Rose: “– shirt.”

But then he went back into his room and emerged with a new shirt.

When she’s not sharing her opinions with others, Rose just wants to run with the dogs.

Hope you’re having a beautiful spring,

(Details are unknown).


p.s I found this memoir in our little free library and loved it so much. (It’s about boyhood and manhood and growing up in the company of Long Island, baseball-obsessed barstool-warming men who become the author’s ad hoc father-figures and his unlikely, crucial support system.

p.p.s Our family just watched this movie and loved it so much.

p.p.p.s What’s your new emotion word?

p.p.p.p.s If you’re subscribed to get e-mail notifications and aren’t getting them, try adding the email address: sanjuandrive(at)frontier(dot)net to your e-mail contacts. If that doesn’t work, let me know and I will personally e-mail you a notification.

11 Responses leave one →
  1. Cheryl permalink
    May 2, 2017

    So nice to live up in the treetops! I do too…

  2. Ellen permalink
    May 2, 2017

    My special emotion is relief-wisdom– when you realize that something you’ve been worried about doesn’t matter after all or is easily solvable.

    Happy spring to you all!!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 2, 2017

      I love this!
      Also, a new one: perspective-nostalgia: the feeling when you see a surly, angsty teenager and can see the little boy he once was still in him and just know that everything’s going to turn out all right.

  3. Mollie permalink
    May 2, 2017

    That feeling of extreme luckiness when you come upon a laden fruit tree available for picking, free.

  4. Becca permalink
    May 3, 2017

    I’m sure Grady would be a guest speaker at the boy’s hobby club. Wonderment from young groupies is all the payment he requires.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 3, 2017

      That would be extremely awesome.

  5. May 4, 2017

    Love the emotion word idea! Also, wanted to recommend Patty Dann’s memoir/book on writing. I think you will love it: The Butterfly Hours.

  6. May 4, 2017

    Oh Rachel, I love this post so much ! All of it. (The fruit trees not the least. And Col’s unknown details + manly looks)

    And I am completely enchanted by this emotion-naming game ! I suggest “tree-tenderness”, this feeling you have when you stand in front of a tree, admiring its bark or leaves, lost in your contemplation, and all of a sudden you can feel his/her tenderness for you enveloping you in such a natural, yet powerful way that you are instantly filled with gratitude. And tenderness.

    Also, “empathy-overwhelm”. I am sure you know that one.

    And how about “bird-kinship” when you forget that the chickadees happily chirping to one another on the crabapple tree nearby are not actually including you in the conversation ? (Or are they ?)

    Much love from your chickadee reader xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 5, 2017

      Tree-tenderness. Yes. Oh yes.
      And I had a little bird-kinship yesterday when a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk landed in our crab apple tree and I had SO many questions for it, and then it flew away without even addressing me!
      I love you.

  7. Sheri permalink
    May 22, 2017

    I just finished The Tender Bar and loved it. Thanks for sharing the recommendation! The way the author expressed love for his mother made me tear up a few times

  8. Bethany permalink
    May 25, 2017

    This post has me LOLing. I have been too busy to keep up with blogs the past year, but I’m settling in with some chai to get caught up with you guys. Thanks for the entertainment, enlightenment and inspiration! Love Rose’s feeling lololol. I know it too well.

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