Long time no see!
It's been a full summer. I thought I'd missed it because solitude was - for the most part - absent. No long hours soaking up sun, doing nothing but, yeah, soaking her up. No.
But as I think back there were hours of laughter, lots of hikes on the seashore, in the woods, along lakes and rivers, and in towns and villages. Many a starry conversation savored, candlelit, intimate and deep with sudden bursts of hilarity, barefoot, in cotton, smiles, breezes and clattering leaves, crashing waves, screeching seagulls, thunder rocking a luxurious motor home, and precious sharing between friends and family in places familiar and brand new.
Weeks of tending gardens have yielded waves of colorful flowers, abundant vegetables, fragrant herbs for processing into pesto and for drying, fruit aplenty, and green places to relax with family and friends on warm or HOT summer days, peaceful summer nights.
My family and I have been swimming and wading, too, in many waters. Feels so good! Lakes on hot days floating, splashing, diving under, sliding through the clean and cool, arms now at my sides, now pressing forward, pulling, cutting a path just for me, and back at my sides again, feet kicking smoothly through the dark, sun-speckled green or blue, in rhythm, then with a hard thrust I jet my body up, break the surface, head upturned, smiling, hair slick against my skin, and down I splash again. The water receives me, plays with me, buoys me, soothes me. This will never get old.
Our summer traditions - such as they are - have been kept intact. I think we've even created a new one - Tom's Rib Cook-Out. Since it's happened two summers in a row I guess we can call it a bona fide tradition, yes?
Tom, Ben, and Joe carried on their wild times again this summer. Too much for me to retell here, dear Blog, but ask me sometime, or better yet, ask them! They are home. They are alive. They have that wild at heart fire in their eyes again. All is right with the world.
Long-time friends have been enjoyed here and there, and new friends made. Wonderful, interesting people, all.
Tom's brother was able to hang out with us for a week and a half - most excellent - joining Tom, Ben, and Joe for the wild Rogue River experience (as mentioned above)! I'm pretty sure that more bonding occurred amongst the men. Flabbergasted me how two brothers, Tom and Mike, separated via adoption and ten years, can be so similar. Jaw-dropping moments, head-scratching, grinning sameness observed. Nature is complex! We humans know nothing compared to what there is to know.
Cherie's parents enjoyed the benefits of work we were able to do for them. And we enjoyed their company. Relationships with history - long history - ripen into beautiful things.
We've been to concerts, played our own music (well, Cassie and Caroline have played), read some thought-provoking and rib-tickling books, visited museums, and discovered some out-of-the-way, very cool places which beckon our return.
Caroline's broken foot happened at the perfect time - if there is such a thing - occurring when school let out and summer - with all her good, bone-growing sunshine - was most abundant and cast-soaking rain remained off-duty. She had plenty of time to rest, play video games, sleep in, sit in the sun, and heal without the strain of school work.
Birthdays were celebrated. Holidays, too. In style.
In addition to these blessed gifts of summer, dear Blog, I have learned that I am not as needy as I once was. And I like myself more. And work is good. Rest isn't the same without it. I've rediscovered my feistiness which had become soggy due to well, long years of marriage, child-rearing, and let's be honest, self-neglect. While I thought inactivity and solace were what I needed for revitalization, I was wrong. Work and the satisfaction that it brings is restoring me. Physical work. Visual confirmation that beauty can be accomplished, can vanquish ugliness. That effort - real, honest-to-goodness blood, sweat, and tears - yields fruit unimagined, when the heart is accepting. I needed the clear outward reminder that a summer of labor afforded to understand afresh that this lesson applies inwardly, too. Complacency is not benign.
And I understand the importance - nay, the necessity - of balance. Activity must be balanced with contemplation. At least for me. Or exhaustion causes life to get away from me. Panic creeps in, and melancholy, dissatisfaction, fear, exaggerated situations of doom and morbidity. A little quiet. A little visualization - 'I am floating on clouds. The breezes caress. Observe thoughts, let them go. Relaaaaax. The world - your family, you - will survive 30 minutes without your hand on the rudder. Letitgo.....' Centered. Restored. Reminded - God is in charge, not me, and His ways are good and perfect.
Summer 2009 has been good for me. Not what I ordered. Thank God I am flexible enough to taste, hear, smell, touch, see new things and get the most from them.
Two weeks until school.
Two weeks. All the company has come and gone. All the summer projects are done. The trips have been taken save one. What's left, dear Blog? Tomatoes to freeze, herbs to dry and process, a dance, a registration, a party, quietness, peacefulness, friendly weather, a little work, a little contemplation, a little going where the wind takes me.
It's not over, yet. Still have mosquito bite reminders, and a few more trails to explore.
But wow, it's been one fantastic ride so far!
We shall have to spend more time together, dear Blog, once my heart turns from the world of nature to here inside where you live.
Until then, I'll see ya when I see ya!