Posts tagged ‘river’

summer

Summer is my very favorite time of year, without a doubt, which makes it particularly funny that I live in Montana where winter takes center stage for eight months out of the twelve. But, who knows, perhaps it is because of those dark and cold months that I cherish the warm long days of river time and popsicles. In Santa Cruz, where I grew up, the sun is almost always shining and you start to take it for granted. You never wake up, see the sun, and declare that we have to go to the beach today. But here? When I check the weather and it shows illustrated suns and temperatures in the 90s stretching through the week, Nathan and I put our heads together, imaginary clip boards and pencils in hand, to best figure out how to get the very most of these precious days.

Turtle fountains by morning, river by evening?

Swimming pool today, river tomorrow?

Camping at a lake tonight and river on the return tomorrow?

You’ll notice that the river figures prominently no matter what the plan may be. Our first river day was July 6th this year, factoring in occasionally cloudy days, busy days, work, traveling, and child transfer days, means we have maybe forty days left. Forty-some days, out of three hundred and sixty-five. The pressure is intense.

Some days we only have time to race to the shore at seven in the evening, jump in, and race back home, because the thing about summer is that regular life still continues as well. Bills continue to arrive, we still get hungry, hamster food still spills onto the floor, towels still get that nasty wet smell and need to be washed.

I remember as a kid, starting up my summer vacation over a leisurely bowl of cereal, and gasping as my dad descended the stairs in a suit. Dad! Why are you wearing that? You mean you have to GO TO WORK in the SUMMER???? He always laughed and explained that yes indeed, his work continued no matter what the season or what the elementary school schedule declared. When Nathan heads out to a coaching appointment I have some of the same feelings. What? Where in the world are you going?

I’d like to float through every day, all five of us together and content, bellies full of watermelon and home-made turkey sandwiches. And I guess, to be fair, despite my complaining, when all adjustments have been made, a content image is what I will remember best anyway. When I search my memory of last summer’s snapshots I see nothing but river and warm skin. I’m sure there was work and grocery shopping but I can’t recall those parts.

Maybe, in order to squeeze out the most enjoyment, I should live my current life as though paging through a scrapbook, sliding gently past the toil and humdrum, and lingering on the sun dappled bits. I might want to stop scraping myself on the edges of “regular life” so that I don’t miss the forty (maybe) days left to us.

July 15, 2010 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

river god

Yesterday we sank our bodies into that cool river water and floated. Echo spun happily in a tiny tubie, holding my hand in delight, and Nathan and I traveled slowly down river, occasionally paddling just enough to keep our heads just above water. We jumped in at the pedestrian bridge and set our sites on the big cottonwood down river.

Summer also includes mosquito bites, I think I can count at least fourteen on Echo’s body from where I sit, and sunlight that continues so far into the night that if you wait for dark, bedtime accidentally occurs at eleven. Generally less sleep all around.

But you know you what? I could care less.

These precious days, river days, wash all our troubles away.

July 11, 2010 at 7:33 am Leave a comment

pocket sized self

Heading into the weekend…

My days are pretty much the same  (plus or minus a child, depending on the week): playing, dishes, sweeping, snack making, dog walking, emailing, blog posting, dispute settling, you get the idea. So when Monday comes around and people say Hi! How was your weekend? I always draw a blank. To tell the truth I usually don’t know if it is Friday or Tuesday. But today I happen to know it’s Friday, and I have the sense that we all might need a little fortifying of spirit. Something to carry us through the weekend.

When I look about for something to give you, the word barometer comes to mind. Mine is the river. I often have no idea what kind of day I’m having, how cold it is, or what I am currently feeling until I see the river. I can get topsy turvy, surrounded by children in their various phases of humanness, ringing phones, and thoughts of other people. So many of us don’t remember (or don’t get the chance) to brush our teeth, let alone check in with who we actually are. The river doesn’t let me forget. It acts like a sticky note, reminding me to re-meet myself and notice who I am and what I care about.

We all need this. We all are who we want to be already, but it is often tucked way inside where we never see it, or remember it. Sometimes we have stacked so much on top that our real self is like a faded memory. We have inauthentic interactions every day. We laugh at things we find less than funny, or even offensive. We wear clothes that someone else thinks is fashionable, even when they don’t feel right. We say things to our kids that we don’t agree with because we are in someone else’s house.

Well what if we carried a little barometer with us? A stone from Stinson Beach, a tiny bean from a summertime garden, a piece of an old shirt tied to a bra strap. We could find these little barometers of our true selves every time we are stepping into inauthenticity. Instead of laughing in agreement to something you don’t agree with, you could reach for your true self, hiding in your pocket in the form of a stone, and pull back to who you actually are. Instead of rehashing the break-up with your recent ex, you could find that tiny piece of grandma’s quilt tucked inside your shirt and remember that you are unbreakable, and that your heart is unveiling it’s most golden era yet.

If I’m going to take my own advice, I’m going to need to shrink that gentle river down a bit. Maybe some cottonwood fluff will do. That way I could remember to be my real self all the time, as I open the car door, as I pick up dog poop, as I look at fashion magazines, as I listen to someone else talk. I wonder what the real me will say when I don’t ignore her existence? I wonder what you will say when our real selves meet on the street?

January 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm 3 comments


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