Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Julian Charms

Always charming, Julian in the Fall.

There is evidence of the fires, from the ravaged hills and valleys, to the relief center at Town Hall, from the conversations between shop keepers, and the signs posted everywhere: "Thank you fire fighters. We love you." And there are signs of healing too. Soft green grasses are coming up from the charred, black earth. It's a small indication of nature's cycle, but very impressive. And there were a lot of visitors in town. They were shopping and strolling, enjoying the sights. People were perceptively warmer, gentle, soft spoken; like friendly acquaintances visiting someone recovering from a bad accident.

Max and Alex left toys, clothes and money at the relief center. We had lunch at the Miner's Diner, then stopped at some of our favorite shops. We were Christmas shopping for family and friends. We found great stuff at the Wandering Sage. We skipped the pie at Mom's this time, but we did enjoy some hot apple cider.

William put his arm around my shoulders and asked to hear the stories he knows I like to share. We went to find Handsome Eddie and Eileen's home, and I held my breath until I saw it there at the end of the winding road. Still cabin-red, with manzanitas growing along the ditch and the stone steps climbing to the front porch, where Eileen used to wave us in from the cold. I stopped to listen for Asco, the black lab, and to recall the smell of the garden, the cellar, the pines. Faintly, I could hear Eddie laughing and hear his jovial and stern voice, telling us of miners and their lost treasures. He expected us to be good children and he praised us sincerely, with love. Eileen's voice is in my head and guiding my aspirations, feeding my soul to do good, be nurturing, make life welcome and celebrated. I put my hand on the railing and looked at the house, quiet and alone,

but too full of memories to ever be a lonesome place for me.

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