Waves

Once more to the lake, as E.B.  White so eloquently wrote, and here I am, back at Lake Sunapee. The waves aren’t quite this dramatic . . .

Outer Banks, North Carolina

. . . but enough to make Brittany and Andy’s dog, Bega, very excited as wake from passing boats swells into waves that crash against the shoreline. Also enough that I sometimes use the seated kayak option on my paddleboard, rather than standing, especially when the wind picks up.

Brittany’s post-chemo waves have resulted in hair that’s getting rave reviews wherever she goes . . .

Brittany – July 2022

Andy needs a little help to sport waves . . .

Andy – July 2022

We’re also riding a new COVID wave. Just after the 4th, I had news of 19 friends and family who tested positive within the span of about ten days, including Chelsea’s family. Since I spend a large part of most days holding this little one . . .

Brooks – July 2022 – photo by Chelsea

. . . I was surprised not to catch COVID from him, but somehow didn’t.

Today would have been David’s 70th birthday, so that produces its own waves: nostalgia, wistfulness, and certainly joy and gratitude to have shared so much of his life.

And finally, we all know only too well these days how easily poorly-chosen or poorly-timed words can make waves, even–sometimes especially–with those we love very much. I wrote a poem a while back called “Warm Honey and Daggers” about the trouble and the sweetness of words, the impossibility of “taking back” words, however much we may wish we could.

So today I’m wishing you unsinkable watercraft, good hair days, strong immunities and/or speedy recoveries, comforting memories, and especially unending grace and forgiveness when words run amok.

Praying for you peace like this . . .

Lake Sunapee – July 2022

. . . and this . . .

Brooks – July 2022 – photo by Chelsea

May the waves never take you down!

 

Suddenly Summer

Arcachon Plage, France, June 2019

. . . or maybe not so sudden for most people, but I spent a lot of June with a lingering case of parainfluenza, something I hadn’t even known existed. Ugh. Avoid it if you can, even if it comes wrapped in a package as adorable as this:

Brooks, before we all got sick – Photo by Chelsea

We’re all well now. and I’m finally spending time outside, mostly catching up with gardening tasks.

Le Patio, La Rochelle, France, June 2019

Okay, I had nothing to do with this hydrangea. It grew on the patio of the little house I rented in La Rochelle, but very summery, right?

I haven’t made it back to France yet, but it’s high time I told you about another fab 2019 French adventure with Pascale, Jacky and friends, this one specifically celebrating summer and Châtelaillon-Plage, the beach just south of La Rochelle where the Kite and Wind Festival is held.

Don’t be deceived–these beach chairs were enormous, strictly décor!

Châtelaillon-Plage, France, June 2019

Somehow, I never managed to write about this event, possibly because there was so much to tell. It was a huge deal, including street after street of things to see, including fabulous old cars . . . .

MG at Châtelaillon-Plage Festival, June 2019

Then there was a multi-course moules frites meal for thousands on picnic tables lining streets as far as you could see. Those who had tickets (Thank you, Pascale and Jacky!) were given a specific color scarf and asked to find a table in the correct zone.

Repas de rue – Châtelaillon, France – June 2019 – Personal style encouraged!

Seriously French, right? Americans, let’s be honest, would have had those lame plasticky paper wristbands.

After dinner, we and the hordes headed to a concert with Collectif Métissé,  who had us all dancing. One woman in our group wanted to move a bit closer to the stage, so started dancing her way forward and the next person hung on to avoid losing her, and then the next, etc. Soon we were all linked together dancing and everyone thought we were a conga line and let us through! Genius. I think we even picked up a few conga-line dancers along the way.

June 2019

After the concert, we all headed to the beach for the fireworks. Pascale, Jacky, and I had lost sight of our friends, but found a perfect spot on warm, silky, white sand, right by the music. Bliss.

It was another “Just say OUI” adventure. It had been so hot all day, and we knew it would be crazy-crowded, but Pascale had already bought the tickets and friends were expecting us. I’m so glad we went. It was a perfect finale to my 2019 stay in La Rochelle (and environs). I’m thinking about it now, because . . . summer.

Also, fireworks.

There’s . . . a lot right now. A lot to worry about. A lot to argue about. But in the midst of it all, I’m praying for all of us: civil discourse, kindness, and the assumption–until proven otherwise–of good intentions. Have a safe 4th of July and a wonderful (and healthy) summer of grace and peace.

And . . . baby smiles . . .

Brooks – May 2022 – Photo by Chelsea

Birthdays

I’m thinking a lot about birthdays right now . . .

David – July 1974

. . . partly because I had one a few days ago, but also because a number of friends also celebrate birthdays near mine. My dear friends the Frenches take it to a whole new level, with about half their family’s birthdays within a couple of weeks. Hope you Frenches have had and/or will have wonderful times together celebrating each other!

It was a little bittersweet for me this year because this birthday specifically reminded me of one of David’s.  The “When I’m 64” post was the last carefree post about our adventures and our easy-breezy life just before his diagnosis. The photo in that post . . .

David 4 June 2013 at the Anchorage, Lake Sunapee

. . . was also the photo at the celebration of his life less than a year and a half later, so although I still love the photo and of course, all my memories of him, there’s more than one emotion going on.

We’ve had many great birthday celebrations over the years . . .

Tom, Lexi, David, Sunny, Jacky and Pascale –  May 2017 – my birthday
Brittany and David – November 2012 – Brittany’s birthday
Brittany with Courtney’s cake – December 2013
Felicity, Courtney, Bailey – December 2013
Bailey’s 4th birthday – March 2011
Felicity on Bailey’s birthday – March 2011
Chelsea and David – October 2011 – DC visit for Chelsea’s 25th birthday

. . . and likely will again. I will appreciate every one of them.

But now my birthday will forever also be the anniversary of another horrifying school massacre. I don’t even have words for that. All I can do is pray . . . and vote: praying comfort and peace for those grieving and traumatized, healing for whatever evil or madness is running rampant, wisdom and courage to enact better policies to prevent yet another repeat . . . and voting for those who most seem to have the latter.

Meanwhile, the day after my birthday, I started as temporary nanny for this guy . . .

Brooks 5.25.2022

. . . while Chelsea and Brian work and his big brother Beckett is at daycare. So I will be doing my best, loving and caring for this little one (and his brother when I get to see him).  Hope you have someone to hug right now!

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Jesus, as recorded in John 16:33

Once Upon a Time…

I’m not sure I’ve ever written anything beginning with those words, but there’s something about them that sparks the imagination, quickens the pulse. Some images do this for me, too, . . .

Rochefort-en-Terre, Bretagne, France – May 2019
Rochefort-en-Terre, Bretagne, France – May 2019
In or near Saratoga Springs, New York, August 2014

. . . especially those of gates, doors, alleys, but also moments captured that seem to resonate beyond the present. David and I stopped by this place in August 2014 before heading back to France. Look closely at the bottom left.  I remember seeing these children . . .

In or near Saratoga Springs, New York, August 2014

. . . walking in front of this gorgeous old place, all dressed in grown-up formal wear, and feeling for a second as if I had been transported into a Jane Austen novel or maybe one of Edith Nesbit’s. And although I can no longer remember the name of this place, I’ve never forgotten that moment.

And what about this . . .

Giverny, France – July 2019

Something about it makes me wonder who may have sat here. Monet and friends? And what were they eating, drinking, talking about?

I’m thinking about writing and imagination a lot these days, because I’m  in a new poetry class where we’re being challenged to access the imagination in various fascinating and productive ways. But also because I’ve finally finished the first draft of the memoir of my life with my beloved David.

David and Sunny – Île d’Aix – June 2014

All but the epilogue, that is. I want to read through the whole thing (editing madly, of course) before I decide how I’d like it to end.

It occurs to me that I may never have mentioned that I did have two poems accepted for publication in the Northern Colorado Writers 2021 anthology Chiaroscuro. If you are interested in getting a copy of that anthology, try here  or on Amazon here.

I also have one poem in All the Lives We Ever Lived: A Lighthouse Writers Workshop Community Anthology, Volume 1 published in 2019. You can find that one here.

And I recently attended a workshop about putting together a chapbook, which is a short collection of poetry (sometimes super-short), and I may manage to pull that off before too much longer, almost certainly before the memoir.

I mention all this because there’s a dear woman I encounter at various poetry events and in my classes who seems concerned that I still write sometimes about grief and loss. I promise I am still very much engaged in life.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of writing a real published book. I haven’t given up yet!

Here’s wishing you the very best as you chase your dreams!

Adventures in Wanderlust