Saturday, October 12, 2002

Friday night is family night. It began in the spring of '95, the last millennia. I would bathe William and Alex, put them in pajamas and set them in their seats with juice and a snack. From our home we'd head to Geoff's office and tell him to "jump aboard." Our car was a ship, sailing through our flooded city. We could navigate all the way to Hawaii, or by river to Wisconsin, Disneyland or a cabin in the mountains. Along our uncharted course, Geoff and I looked out for a home to buy. The boys munched and sipped and snuggled in to their blankets, as the sun set on our cruise.

Family night is sacred. We play games like telephone or charades, or see a movie. Once we made pasta and cut it by hand, hanging the ghostly worms on the laundry rack. We've counted bats while chalk drawing in the driveway, and we've walked to the beach and swirled our hands in bio-luminescent water. Family night is rarely anything elaborate, but it's almost always fun.

Sometimes family night is like a barometer; after a long week, with too much to do, we sometimes feel utterly uninspired. When this happens Geoff and I are reminded that we need to resume our pursuit of balanced, calmer lives. I am not sure I believe children need every moment to revolve around them, but they do deserve time when they don't come in second to phone calls, paper work or errands.

Last night we chased each other around the yard, through the gates, down the pasture. We had dinner in the kitchen, and made up songs about Super Smellers, and we devised Super Smeller tests. Are you a Super Smeller? Then we went in to the pool. The air is cold, but due to the warm days and the pool cover, the water is 82 degrees; not bad. It was our first swim in 2 weeks. I'll really miss it when we have much cooler weather. But even without our pool, we'll still have family night. We will have Christmas light drives, and Scrabble games, or we will sit by the fire designing new video games. And as Alex and Max remind us, "It's night. And we are together, so it is 'flamly' night;" we don't always have to wait until Friday.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I meant to get up early today, to walk in the morning fog. I did wake up early, but I couldn't make the next step which involves actually getting out of bed. I thought of the hills obscured by the very lowest clouds and mist, and the last of the cottontails out for one last bite to eat. The chickens would greet me with alert clucking and eager pacing; they are always ready to leave their beds for a morning walk. Our own rabbits are awake and curious, stretching, and sniffing the cool air.

I thought of my friends, the morning ones, who are up and busy already. Jola's read the paper, had her coffee, faced her day. And Anne. Anne is home from the gym, and perhaps she's finished breakfast and has her boys in school. I thought of all of them and how they impress me, with their diligence and steady devotion. By now, even the late risers are driving, planning, working, sorting, cleaning, creating.

It is still foggy, and it is still morning, and I think I will go for a walk. I'll water the seedlings that have sprouted and stretched. I'll bring in the paper, the cat and some flowers. There are appointments to keep and children to teach. And errands to complete. For some reason it is simply a thoughtful, thankful morning, and I am glad I woke up early, though I never left my bed. I did quite bit, if only in my head.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Road Trip Poetry

The day is drawing near,
when we will pack
our camping gear

Our maps we shall mark
the chickens feed
its time to board
our Green Goose steed

It's east with speed
and sights to heed
in search of space to park

Across the plain
around steep slope
is what the children hope
though we only have coats for rain

The day is nearly here
we'll be in the land of beer
cheese and cows
lakes and hay mows

And best of all
we'll spend this Fall
with loved ones we hold dear

Monday, October 07, 2002

Brown Paper Packages

Coming home from a nursery run, I stopped at the bottom of the drive and Alex ran down to the mail box. We met in the house where his arms were full of mail, including 2 packages. It's evidence; sometimes we really do get what we don't expect, yet still dearly hope for. Ruth and Delia may be amused to see they both coincidentally fulfilled a wish of mine.

My Mom's package included an 'I Miss You Card' for her grandsons, and pictures from life in Oregon. A local dog was captured eating blackberries right off the bushes, there were scenes from a lumberjack competition. Our favorite is of 'Delia with her Dahlias.' She is beaming, surrounded by giant blossoms from her thriving garden. She has also been sending regular emails detailing her new adventures in her new state.

From Hawaii came a fat package including photographs from Ruth and Corm's Summer visit here, and more photos of farms for sale. The shot of Tutu and her first grand-'baby' standing back to back is very funny, and quite amazing. She's stretching every last bit of her height, but it's plain to see that even at only 11 years, William is taller than his grandmother. Alex was delighted to find Grandpa included a bag full of more guava seeds. Now that we have irrigation and things are kind of settled in the yard, we may have more success growing them.

Thank you Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas. We loved coming home to letters and pictures, and the good feeling knowing you are thinking of us. We are thinking of you too.

I *Heart* Mail

Today I got two emails. I love mail. I have been fascinated by anything delivered ever since I heard Julie Andrews sing "...brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things." The very idea of a package, the paper, the mystery, completely captured my imagination. And the longing for mail continued, when ever I saw old movies, because in old movies there are always packages, long awaited letters and hat boxes and gifts with generous bows that slip off like a blossom from a tree. So even though I was 9 or 10, wearing halter tops and jeans, boycotting grapes and playing touch football in the street, I still imagined myself in a shirtdress, pruning roses in a garden or serving lemonade when a delivery boy would walk through the front gate and deliver a brown paper package and a handful of hand stamped letters. Black and white, soft focus, gracious bliss.