Deep Green

It absolutely poured rain all day yesterday and there’s been a damp chill in the air that has had me wearing a puffer jacket . . . even INSIDE. On the plus side things are still fabulously green . . .

Okay, this is New Hampshire, but still

. . . and I know here in Colorado they won’t stay that way for many more weeks.  Even with all the rain this weekend, so far scuba gear is not required, but here are a few “undersea” photos (taken at the Aquarium in La Rochelle) . . . . . . to get you in the right mindset for my newest poem, ostensibly about scuba diving, but really also about life. The best way to read it is to pause slightly at the end of each line, as if you were breathing through a regulator and descending slowly into the deep. 

Buoyancy

The trick
is to maintain
neutral buoyancy,
to avoid panic –
breathing slowly,
moving hardly at all,
except the slow beat
of fins and occasional
tranquil glance at gauges -
intrepid explorer

of another world,
tasting the tang
of salt like tears,
while all manner of things
approach
and slip by
or hide,
peering out
like old women
from behind lace curtains.
In the beginning

I needed a hand
to hold, a steadying hand
to tell me without words
I was not
lost in the deep –
I would not be lost,
as if anyone
can promise that.
Soon, though,
the color

grabs me
and movement
like a ballet
set to the whooshing
pulse of breathing
in and out,
bubbles like crystal
balls rising
to the brightness above.

There is danger
in ascending
and descending, both –
rising too quickly
as the pressure mounts,
falling unnoticed,
slipping into the abyss.

It is not optional
to know where you are.

The trick
is to stay calm
and keep breathing.

I hope that provided a calming break in your day. It’s been an emotional weekend here.  Courtney came out from Minnesota for the long weekend and Doug also took advantage of the holiday to come meet Beckett, so we decided to inter David’s ashes this past Friday afternoon while everyone was here. He’s been gone nearly three and a half years, but it was still a difficult step on the wretched grief road, as you may imagine.

September 2016 – Photo by Clayton Jenkins

Then we adjourned to my house for toasts, memories and togetherness (since we’re all vaccinated), sorely needed after all the COVID isolation.  Doug brought us a bottle from Colene Clemens Vineyards, one of our favorite Oregon wine-tasting destinations. 

Doug, Brittany, Courtney and Chelsea at Colene Clemens Winery

And of course there was cognac.

Meanwhile, a few other dear ones (deliberately vague to respect privacy) are facing medical challenges, some quite daunting, and Brittany is heading into chemo round three in a few days, so a bit of color therapy and calm, slow breathing seemed in order. I find it works even better when prayer and meditation are added to the mix. 

But whatever you do, please keep breathing!

April Showers

Yesterday was a rare, welcome rainy day. Drought is a recurrent issue here in Colorado, so as much as I generally prefer sunny days, I loved it. Everything is now so green and beginning to bloom. It really feels like spring is here to stay. Yes, I know we can get freak storms this time of year, like the two feet of snow we had mid-March that did so much damage to the trees and very helpfully revealed a leak in my roof — yippee. My plan is to enjoy each glorious day and not worry about tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes!

One excellent day was Easter Sunday, when I went over to Chelsea and Brian’s backyard (after virtual church — still not going in person quite yet) to watch Beckett’s first Easter egg (etc.) hunt. The adults had shorter attention spans than he did. We kept wanting him to find the next thing, and he wanted to enjoy what he’d already found. Hmmm. There’s a lesson there somewhere. . . .

Beckett’s first Easter egg hunt 2021
How dare he sit and read his new book!
Not a baby anymore!

Another stellar day was Saturday the 10th of April, when Brittany drove up from Denver and we met on Chelsea’s driveway to sample some mocktails, to add options for the wedding weekend.

Brittany explaining the various flavor profiles to us, but mostly enjoying the perfect day
Chelsea enjoying the sun while Beckett enjoys – er, yum? – chewing on a lemon
Beckett getting into the spirit of driveway drinks and yes, that’s the dogs’ bowl

And today, now that I’m fully vaccinated (including the two weeks post-second shot), I actually got to hug my grandson without wearing a mask. Woo-hoo!

Beckett demonstrating that “The Wheels on the Bus” go round and round

So it hasn’t all been rain. It never is here, of course, but sometimes life feels a bit like unending metaphorical rain, with all the challenges so many have been facing for more than a year now. Brittany has just started chemo, so there’s that, but I’m now semi-retired and able to help her more than I could have a few months ago. And I’m going to try to learn from this little one.

He’s choosing happy

No, I probably won’t be sucking on a lemon anytime soon and definitely won’t be drinking out of a dog’s bowl, but I’m going to try to remember to enjoy what I have without always looking for the next thing. And I’m going to choose happy whenever I can. I hope the same for you. If that’s not possible right now, hang in there. I pray you feel the peace and comfort of God and that you find bright moments of joy to sustain you, even if the rain is pouring down. You’re in my heart.

I love hearing from you, so please do comment or reach out to me in some way if you can. I miss my people! Hope to see you soon.

Looking Back and Looking Forward

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been enjoying the notifications on my phone of photos from past years. Yesterday, the 27th of March, popped up with photos of our first day in France 2014, during our year as nomads, like this shot in Paris of an unexpectedly open door. Seems practically a metaphor for the whole amazing experience.

Private courtyard, Quai Voltaire, Paris

And this one of the Tuileries . . . 

Jardin des Tuileries et La Tour Eiffel

We loved seeing Paris at night on one of our first evenings . . .

Then, since our “year” lengthened to nearly thirteen months, there were also photos of March 2015 in Memphis, one of our last adventure weeks on the road home to Colorado.

Rum Boogie Blues Hall and Juke Joint

It was a bit like seeing the whole grand adventure bookended. Then with it being the 27th of the month, I suddenly realized David had been gone exactly three years and three months. It felt, I don’t know exactly, but sort of important, worthy of note somehow.  But not as painful as the early — even monthly — anniversaries were.

So I’m feeling nostalgic (again), but also optimistic. I’ve had my first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine and will have the second on the 6th of April. We’re all deep in plans and prep for Brittany and Andy’s wedding late July at Lake Sunapee. So even though nothing is back to “normal” and Brittany is still facing months of medical challenges, there are finally not only memories to treasure . . . 

BBQ chez Pascale et Jacky 19 juin 2014

. . . but also plans to look forward to.  

Wishing the same for you!

All Will be Well

Things with Brittany have not been quite the slam-dunk we had hoped they would be, but we do truly believe all will be well.

Brittany and Andy – October 2020

She is strong, courageous, and still keeping us laughing, even while facing both chemo and radiation. Her posts on CaringBridge tend to include bits that could legit be the basis of a stand-up routine.  I especially liked her R.I.P. to her old boobs, written just before surgery on February 3rd.

Since I go pretty much NOWHERE EVER, I’m the perfect person to be on call for transportation on days Andy shouldn’t really need to miss work. I was able to pick Brittany up from her latest surgery and spent a couple nights with them last week. It was great to see them in person, and I am very glad to be able to help. I’m still super committed to mostly staying home and NOT being inadvertently part of the spread of the wretched virus, especially when it costs me so little to stay home, but Brittany’s needs are and will continue to be worthy exceptions to my self-enforced solitude. 

Since I have barely left my home in a YEAR, I’ve been enjoying the notifications on my phone with photos from years past. Like Folly Beach, Charleston, and environs . . .

Middleton Place – Near Charleston, South Carolina – December 2104
Folly Beach – January 2015

As well as Key West, where we spent February and the first week of March 2015 . . .

West Martello Tower – Key West – 2015
Key West – February 2015

. . . especially these of David, taken one afternoon upstairs at Louie’s Backyard, one of our favorite Key West restaurants. Ah, the many expressions of David, possibly hamming it up extra for the camera. Such great memories . . .

We loved Key West. Click here, if you want a bit of warm vicarious travel. It’s the first post of the five weeks on Key West.

So yes, we are all to varying degrees on a hard road right now. May the memories of past joys, hope for the future, and gratitude for both warm your heart and see you through. 

Sunset – Key West – 2015

 

Adventures in Wanderlust