Monday, June 23, 2008

Blogging is Like Unpacking

It's true. Blogging is like unpacking. My brain is like the trunk of the mini-van... full of stuff that's just bursting and ready to come out. My thoughts are like the rooftop bag... tightly crammed with essential bits. Really, there is no point in doing much else, until I have downloaded the camera, recorded my deep thoughts and made sense of the other musings.

I made the perfunctory market visit, so that we have restocked the larder. I asked the boys to unload the dishwasher and put the groceries away too. I even made lunch, and emptied the cooler... actually I assessed the damages and let William empty the cooler. That accounts for my initial sweep through domesticity, and now I am going to faithfully record high and low points, happy and tasty moments, and stuff.

So, after my mom's accident, Geoff and I scrambled to get things in order with work, school, home, pets and our conestoga, so that we could go to her in Oregon. We put out a lot of fires that week and by Friday night we were on the road.
4 children?
3 chickens?
3 sleeping bags?
check, check, check, check, check

That first night we made it all the way to Solvang. Incidentally, there was a recurring theme on this venture and it has to do with advance reservations. Advance reservations are a real good idea. No pictures from Solvang. We arrived late and we checked out early and Geoff and I whistled loudly when we snuck the chicas back to the car!

We didn't see elk and salmon jerky until we were far north of San Francisco. Winding our way ever north we saw bear carvings, ferns, meadows, rhododendrons, barns and tractors, cows and sloughs, pear trees, strawberry fields and hundreds of places that looked too enticing to skip, but of course we did skip them, this time. Next time, I want to stop in Eureka and eat at the place with the sign out front: Carnivore, Herbivore... We Have What You're Looking For!

And all along the way I would see things I wanted to remember, to photograph and write about, to share. We stopped every 2 or 3 hours, and that's when we would beg Maria to use her potty or try to sanitize some public restroom for her. My apologies to the planet for a dependence on disposable princess panties.

I would give the chicas a nice cool drink and replenish their scratch. Geoff was hilarious, slowing extra much in the curves and apologizing to the chicas for severe bumps in the road, and the rest of us rolled our eyes and laughed, because we accuse him of not being as courteous with us!

We slept in Fortuna, which is easily becoming one of my new favorite places to imagine living in. From Fortuna we finished the journey and made it to Delia and Ron's in the late afternoon. What a delightful experience it was to enjoy the long days, which grew longer with each passing day and the further north we were. It made it hard to realize it was dinner time, then bedtime. Still, I really enjoy allowing the rising and setting sun decide the start and end of day.

Look at our Pippy. It's those feathers in his tail, the ones that taper and curl... those are the ones that have me concerned. Until he is bigger, I will not be able to find him a home. And if he lays an egg, then all my fears will evaporate, but I am not too hopeful. Or we could find a home of our own before he crows, but for that I am even less hopeful. Sigh.

What about Amelia? She stands guard, always flying to the highest point and playing a cock-fight kind of posturing game with Pip. Oh dear. Why would we have to get 2 roosters? Why?

When Pip and Amelio are acting cocky, Lady Betty Orpington retreats to a quieter corner. She is shy and reserved, and when the light begins to fade she will sit on my arm and snuggle in.

Though it was colder than we were used to, the days were still lovely and Mom and Ron have such a wonderful corner of the world to call their own. We enjoyed the garden flowers, the wild flowers, a quail sighting and the wind in the trees. The chicks enjoyed the grass and seeds and new variety of stuff in the ground... things to scratch and enjoy. We made an improvised chicken run for the sunny days and they stayed in a small room in the garage at night.

Sitting together in the big yard, walking to the feed store, collecting seeds for the chicas, napping outdoors... such sweet pleasures. In the evening we would help Delia down the stairs and share her walk. I think I counted 5 different kinds of pine trees growing along their quiet street. We always turned around before we got to the schnauzer house. Hilarious little dogs bark incessantly, then get their little toys in a wicked choke hold and demonstrate their vicious skills. It's funny once or twice, but not conducive to relaxation and inner peace. I guess this means their quiet street is only that way when the schnauzers aren't disturbed.

I'm glad we found warm clothes for Maria... a bit large, but when I bring them out again in November they will be fine. We've come home to a heat wave. It's so strange to travel; to be in a completely new place one day and then another the next day. I still don't know how to cope with the distance between here and Delia and Ron's, or the ocean between here and Ruth, the deserts, mountains and prairies that separate us from Nancy and our Midwest family, the border and miles that keep us from my abuelos. Such blessings, such longing. We are fortunate to have the desire to be with family, and we have been blessed with many wonderful opportunities to visit and travel, to connect. I just want more. Such insatiable longings.

Geoff drove north with us, then flew home first thing Monday morning, so he missed many of our adventures and encounters. When I drove the children and chickens home, I was filled such gratitude for my wonderful vehicle; it's safe and comfortable, so reliable. And I thought about how lucky we are to be seeing redwoods and rivers, to be able to go to family and hold them and be glad for the good stuff. Driving home I thought about how much I was missing Geoff, and how happy we would all be when we were together again. Somehow, some way... there has to be a way for us all to be neighbors, to live close enough to hold each other every time we need it, want it... this would be very good.


Tracy said...

What a sweet treat this post was, Natalie! Felt like I was right along with you have such a way of bringing us along on your travels and family life. Family--the most precious gift we have while we are here...Hope you are settling nicely home again! Happy Summer Day to you all ((BIG HUGS))

nikkipolani said...

Loved that video of Maria. She's so good at caring for the chicas :-)

calamitykim said...

I am glad you are safe at home.
I can't read much- I have to go get something to cook for dinner
chicken picatta- shhh, don't tell the girls....
xxxooo kim