Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun- Rudyard Kipling
And girls with mild autism who are on a mission. My mom asked Elizabeth and Ray to weed her dry, hot rosebed for $2, to be split between them. Ray chopped weeds with a spade for about 20 minutes and then started complaining- “I’m hot…. This is boring… Why do we have to weed? This is the desert…. ” and announced he was finished. Mamamum will pay him $.45.
Elizabeth, who really wants to go to Disney, continued to pull- and pull- and pull. Every single small speck of weed was gone. She admired their colors as she pulled them out- little succulents with green tops and purple undersides. She developed a system- holding a bowl in one hand, pulling with the other one, and then emptying the bowl when it was full. She took a sniff and said “Yum, Mommy- that smells good!” She sat for hours, crouched in a position that I am unable to achieve, but is oddly reminiscent of Jess’s daughter, Brooke– whom we do not know, but who also crouched for hours at the seaside. Repetitive behaviors. Joy in the small, sensual thrill of finding, of pulling, of cleaning. Mamamum will pay her $1.55 for her work, but there was more joy in the perfection of the task than in the dollars.
And because of autism, my mother’s flower beds are weeded. She is loaded with sunscreen, and it is hot, but I watch my daughter take pleasure in her day- out in the noonday sun.