Summer Encampment

Matt's visit June 2014 013


Shades of the old country I have only known through literature:  my living room filled with family, the encampment of the Olympians (a.k.a  Sequimmers) lasted for three days.  Shades drawn or opened, we rested and rallied in plMatt's visit June 2014 008easant self-directed cycles reminding me of the “nap room” in the old house in Batavia where as tired grandchildren we slithered under light blankets,  the slats of double-tiered wooden shutters  unfolded and drawn closed in a startling clackity-clack to block the light of mid-afternoon.

My brother’s wife dead-headed our roses and planted petunias with her quiet attention to green; gifted me with berries

and tools so that we could make jam together; and voiced her appreciation of the good food generously and often, her smile full of light.  My little brother walked in and breathed a sigh, three times expressing his pleasure in the calm and comfort of my home; ventured out with my spouse for maple bars and fresh donuts which he ate with gusto; and  shared recipes as together we concocted a fresh apricot and olive chicken. Their lovely daughter entranced the dog (a mutual admiration), prepped veggies with me, and watched her dad closely as he and I walked back in time through the haunts of our earlier lives.

We sent them off this morning with a sheaf of poems, a flat of tomato plants, my husband’s landscape photograph from Egegik, and a disc of dog clips which threaten to inspire a launch of The Red Dog Blog.Their gift of peace rose blossoms in the jelly jar at the table mark an opening for continued conversations.

Sally's Peace roses 001





My brother and I share a birthday; he is exactly one year younger.  Though we both have one emerging adult still at home, we are entering our sixth decade, the age of our grandparents when we knew them.  I was thinking about the carriage of my maternal grandmother this week as I drafted a story whose main character was elderly.  I thought of how she walked, the shoes she wore, her interactions with the public and family—and I thought of my paternal grandmother, too, whom we knew only to her mid-sixties.  They both wore dresses and shoes with heels.  They wore gloves and hats not necessarily against the cold.  I remember their presences well.  But I do not recall more than a little conversation with either of them; the first suffered from dementia and the second left us too soon.  I wonder if either of them felt as young and as engaged as I feel—as we are.  Has our increased longevity as a species made such a difference in only two generations?

I purchased a new bike yesterday.  I am committing to more movement; I am determined to remain engaged, though slipping into the shadows for a muted view or a moment of quiet is equally valuable to me.



3 thoughts on “Summer Encampment

  1. Great pictures and such a good family time. So sorry no red dog pictures. How will I keep up without red dog updates?

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