It’s like a built-in rinse cycle

Archived | September 28, 2009 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. With the onset of autumn, and darkening skies and a bit of rain over the weekend, the ol’ mood has been a bit low and all it took was “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain” to get me going. Not an all-out cry, mind you. A few tears for a song that takes me to way back when, to when I was a girl and life was simple and things like first kisses and willow trees and big parts in musicals took up my time and attention, a time when I waited for the phone to ring and painted my nails pink and pretended to be asleep on the couch hoping my father still might have it in him to carry me on upstairs and tuck me into my bed.
No, the all-out cry came Friday afternoon. I suppose you could chalk it up to the weather, which was somewhere between drizzle and rain. No thunder and lightning, no drama — just a steady steamy stream of water pouring on down. The windows in my van kept fogging up in the midst of my errands, people were generally quiet and without a smile, and I felt somewhat lacking in something. Courage, maybe. Or strength. Or motivation. Or whatever it is that sustains those always-happy people. Not that I aspire to constant joy, but there are days when I feel its absence like we all do, and Friday was one of ’em. Of course, it could have been a hormonal thing, or the pizza with extra cheese I’d eaten the night before, or the fact that the kids have been a bit more needy than usual with the start of school and puberty and all. Or maybe I was just having a really crappy day. I’d lost my umbrella, and my hair was out of control, and I couldn’t seem to catch up with myself.
I was fine as I visited the bank, the post office, the gas station, and the movie store. I even hummed a little bit as I wandered through Target picking up a few things we’d run out of. I suppose I didn’t need the three large bags of M&Ms, nor did I have to buy a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars or seven boxes of Kleenex. Nope. But I did. And I bought a notebook too, just to have. I took it all out to the car and loaded it up and that’s when I came undone. The tears started, and they weren’t stopping. I drove to the back of the lot by some trees near a pond and parked the car. I locked the doors, left the music on, took off my shoes, and climbed to the way back seat of the van where I wrapped myself tight in the plaid wool stadium blanket I keep just in case, and I cried. For a good hour, I lay there with the windows all steamed up and cried about nothing in particular and everything at once.
They say that crying releases protein-based hormones and painkillers and toxins that build up in your body. It cleans you out. It’s like a built-in rinse cycle, and women cry 64 times a year and men, 17, for a reason. It’s healthy. And it feels good. Felt good to me, anyway, all curled up in my van with the rain beating on the roof on a Friday afternoon somewhere between summer’s end and the first leaves of autumn.
Sumac Tea
For company or comfort, hot or cold, this homebrewed tea will hit the spot.
The staghorn sumac is turning red, a darker red than the maple, and its red, fuzzy cluster of berries can be used to make tea once used for refreshment by Indians and pioneers. In a big pot, cover a quart of seed heads with a gallon of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then set aside for an hour. Drain off the tea using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The tea will be pink and sour and tastes something like lemonade. You can sweeten it with honey or sugar and serve it hot or cold.