Thursday, September 27, 2007


Starr Ann was out upgrading her disaster shelters last night, delivering the new Hitachi Magic Wands that finally arrived yesterday. So that left Jodie and me to fend for ourselves all evening.

You know how you can just tell when someone has an agenda going? Well, by the way she was acting, I knew Jodie was on the lookout for the right moment to steer the conversation someplace she wanted it to end up.

After we finished the dishes, we were just hanging out - having a whistling contest (no need to mention who won), trying on Starr Ann's chaps, having a howling contest (I won!), ransacking the house for Starr Ann's old packs of Pop Rocks (I saw her buy over a hundred packages of them when she found out they were being discontinued due to that urban legend about Mikey from the cereal commercial, and she's only broken out about five packs over the years, so there are a bunch of them somewhere. And just so you know, none of us thinks the ones you can get online are real).

Anyway, we decided to walk down to the barn and spy on the raccoons as they came in to steal cat food. We rounded the corner of the house and were nearly knocked backward by the sight of that big full moon sitting low on the horizon.

Jodie was especially hard hit by it. She stood stock still, just gazing for a moment. In that creamy orangey light, I saw tears come to her eyes. She said, "Margo, so many things are endangered." She took my hand and I could tell it was more for support than friendship. She kept her eyes on that moon, and spoke again. "Do you know that back in the city, people barely notice the moon? The sky is so awash in artificial lighting, we're killing our connection with the very sky." Jodie laughed at herself, real lightly. "Guess I've been affected by all the astronomy material I've been reading for Starr Ann."

Then this strong, confident, assertive woman broke down and cried. Cried hard. Seeing a woman cry over something personal like lost love, hurt feelings, or just plain hormonal incongruity is bad enough. But standing by while Jodie Diamond cried her heart out over the absolutely impersonal, over what we're losing as we strangle the life out of this planet, took my breath away and almost had me in tears too.

She stopped as abruptly as she'd started, though, and chuckled as she wiped off her face. No need for either of us to say anything. We squeezed hands and continued our way on down to the barn.

Baby was there! Baby is an old mama raccoon that's been coming around for three years now. Tame as can be, but we don't encourage that. She simply decided a couple of winters ago there was no need to disturb her cat food dinner just because Starr Ann or I happened to come in. Jodie was delighted with the way Baby used her hands to splash in the water bowl, cleaning her face after eating.

As Baby finished up and waddled toward her exit under the hay rack, she stopped and made absolutely deliberate eye contact with Jodie. They stayed like that for several seconds, and when Baby's butt finally scooted under the alfalfa bales, I turned to see the most wonderful smile spread across Jodie's face.

I tilted my head in question, and Jodie said, "It's going to be okay. We might not be here to see it, but it's going to be okay."

On the way up to the house, I asked Jodie about what she'd had on her mind earlier, the thing I thought she was guiding our conversation toward.

She said, "I was going to ask you about Celia Susan, but let's not dilute Baby's moment."

I totally understood.