I can always find a reason to stay inside the loft. The thirteen foot windows have enormous blinds and keeping out the sun during the day and the noise of the road beneath us keeps us sheltered from the outside. Some days, that’s what we need and what we want. However, there is a great big beautiful world beyond the loft. This week my FHB and I reconnected with both the world and some of the people we love most in the world.
It’s difficult to be so far away from members in our family who live on the other side of the country. Time being a consideration, there are only so many ways to get there within a short period that makes it easier, but never easy. Air travel continues to be a challenge that tests our patience and our mettle. Transporter units(like those in Star Trek) still have some kinks to be worked out. In a conversation with one of our east coast adult kids, I was apprised of the fact that some body parts might travel through the unit better than others and I don’t want to end up looking like a Picasso painting. Thus, we fly the less than friendly skies and deal with the roll, pitch and yaw of air travel.
Our first leg of our trip (not including the short layover in Newark, NJ) was to Portland, Oregon to spend a few days with my FHB’s sister and our brother-in-law. We were spoiled with amazing food because she could be on a desert island with only sticks and grass and could create a several course meal that would fill you and thrill you. That’s how creative a cook she is and she does it as easily as she breaths. They live in a garden of fruits and flowers and an Eden-like setting. Our brother-in-law is very involved in the music scene and has the Energizer Bunny mindset and keeps busy and moving doing projects around their house and filling local venues with songwriters and singers. They have about a trillion friends and a supportive social network which really seems to make their lives richer in many ways. My FHB worries less about his little sister (but always worries as a big brother does) because he knows she is surrounded by a loving partner and lots and lots of people. We drove up to the highest peak in Oregon, Mt. Hood, which was snow covered and there were a lot of folks on skis and we were not among them. We went into the Timberline Lodge which was built in the 1930s as part of the WPA efforts and it is grand and beautifully designed with all the accoutrements of elegant times gone by. We didn’t just eat lunch, we dined. A few days in Portland is never enough but it was time to travel south and so we said our farewells and headed for the next leg of our vacation to San Francisco.
We arrived and were met by our three and almost a half year old granddaughter and her mom. Her dad works in the city and travels back and forth during the front end of the week. We drove through San Francisco and headed north toward Medocino County and the lovely town of Ukiah, which now is home to our family. It’s wine country and as we sat on the deck each day, we could look out on the vineyards next door and beyond those were fields of cattle. It is a rural, sleepy town, surrounded by large hills and verdant valleys. There are rivers running through and apparently good places to catch a rainbow trout or two. My FHB vows that the next time we cross the country we will be packing a fly fishing rod and lots of good luck. People are friendly and not hurried. We shopped in a co-op filled with fresh everything and a staff that looked you in the eye (or two) and wished you a really good day and seemed to mean it. The rhythm of life in Ukiah would be characterized as an adagio.
We were enchanted by the sweetness and spice of our little one. She is tenacious and bright and full of questions and comments and nothing gets by her. Her mood was somewhat tempered by not feeling so well but despite this she allowed us into her world which is rich and not confined by a clock or watch. She showed us the berries that I could eat from the garden (blueberries) and those that I can’t (blackberries and raspberries). She told us about the birds that visited the feeders and those that flew overhead. She thought that my FHB, her “Saba”, was very silly and she would give him sidelong grins as she asked him to read a book or color with her. A three year old’s play is her work as she tries to negotiate the world. Her parents are her safety and her champions and it is always good to see how much love the three share with one another and how their lives are full and clearly happy. It’s much nicer to see it up close and personal but makes it hard to leave when the time comes.
The show of hummingbirds, and quails, and mourning doves and vultures circling above, was all the entertainment we needed. The days went by slowly and we were able to keep our minds clear and focused on our little hostess. We ate fresh food from local growers and enjoyed the slow pace of life in the little town.
We leave tomorrow and back to loft living. When you are at that stage in life when you know there is more behind than ahead of you, each goodbye is a hope that it is “till we meet again”. My FHB and I both shed a few tears, at very inopportune moments, when we realized that the depth of our love for our faraway family. Our adult kids aren’t there yet in their lives, but we know that time is fleeting and has passed with little fanfare and here we are. In the meantime, technology and the postal service will have to fill the gaps between visits. Thanks again, you know who you are, and see you soon, if not sooner.