Afternoon a la Kinks*

Kage Baker often remarked upon how quickly a grey Saturday could just slip away. One moment you’re happily staying in bed until 10 AM; the next, it’s quarter to four and absolutely nothing you’ve had planned for the last two weeks has been accomplished.

I kept waiting for the weather to stabilize before trying some of the larger, spring-related things that need to be done: planting the plum tree, building the cinder-block ziggurat that will house the salad greens, moving the planters full of roses and irises. First it rained like hell, then the temperature shot into the 90’s, and now it’s grey and cool and actually threatening rain again. Even in Los Angeles we don’t expect March and April to be stable months for weather, but this is getting ridiculous.

And then there’s the way the time – just – vanishes. Kage always said, there was nothing so indicative of the existence of time warps as a grey Saturday – nowhere (or when) else will subjective Time just dissolve so inexplicably. It goes like sugar in water, leaving nothing but a glass full of cloudy tepid sweetness …it’s not, you know, an awful way to spend a day but it doesn’t give you anything back for getting through it. It just disappears and leaves you there, with the crowning accomplishment of your day having been finding a pair of socks that match.

And I haven’t even managed that. The socks, I mean. There are five shoes scattered by my desk, the laundry’s been neglected so I’m out of stockings, and anyway there is a pocket panther laired in my underwear drawer … she just lies there and gazes contentedly at me with dreamy beryl eyes, wordlessly mocking me for thinking there is anything more important on a late weekend afternoon than finding a really soft place for a nap … even Harry is hunkered down and fluffed out and generally doing his best avocado imitation, just a drowsy little green lump with his sweetpea-petal eyelids blinking shut.

Kage, endowed with a whim of iron and a year my elder, would have nagged me out into the garden by now, probably. She’d plant and prune and shovel enthusiastically, and I would stand about leaning on a broom until it was time to move the heavier objects at her directions. Poor Kimberly, though, is younger than I am and has trouble ordering me about: not even the excuse of needing my superior strength, as I am presently as vigorous as a popped balloon and she has, besides, her enormous son Michael for the heavy lifting. She has to rely on making me feel guiltily unproductive; and after 50-odd years, I have developed a limited immunity to that tactic.

Not completely, though. The vestiges of conscience have gotten this entry out of me, and there is a whole stack of notes whinging at my elbow for inclusion in the incompetent nun novel, too … And there are still 3 hours of daylight left, in a day which has settled down to a comfortable¬† pearly dimness. And when Kimberly returns with potting soil and sinus pills, I will really have no excuse not to do something useful.

Kage would certainly expect me to.

*One of Kage’s favourite songs, by one of her favourite groups. For no obvious reason, the video for this perfect summer song is of a snowy day …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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