On my way home from Port Townsend via Sea-tac, where I dropped Pam off for her flight back to Denver, then the ranch, I stop for groceries at the co-op. I load a cart with one of those giant packs of toilet paper, a quiche for Monday breakfast, a quarter of a watermelon, a loaf of bread, a gallon of whole milk, and two tall lattes. When I get home, Tom and I sit on the back porch in the sunshine, finally strong enough to make it warm at home in spite of the breeze, drinking the lattes instead of unpacking the groceries. I get to them eventually, but not until after we have wandered around the yard, looking at the kale Emmy has gnawed down to the bare stalk, the little path Tom has cut through the blackberries, the patty pan squash that just keeps coming.
Tom puts up a clothes line and I cut the watermelon into huge slices and think about the essay Pam read at the closing day of the Port Townsend Writers' Conference at Centrum. Take note of the things that grab you in the world. Set them next to each, see what happens. A small part of what she had to say, but I keep thinking about it nonetheless.
In the fenced-in dirt lot behind the state patrol just off our exit in Burlington, there are a dozen or so smashed up cars, totaled far beyond any insurance company definition of the word. Sitting at a big wood table inside on the nicest night of the summer, someone tells me about letting a family member go because of drug use. I don't realize at the time that I'm not hearing it, until it comes back to me the next morning and I do. "When I got involved, it was with my whole heart," she says "so eventually I just couldn't get involved." In some situations, there are no good choices, but hope springs eternal, we don't know what will make a difference, though we are reminded all the time of all the things that did not. For example, being there - for example, not being there. My friend's family member came back later with amends, from what turned out to be an island of sobriety in an ocean of not knowing when the next landfall will come, or when addiction sets sail again. That landscape is the same and different for everyone.
On the ferry to Port Townsend on Saturday, I couldn't decide where I wanted to be. Outside on deck, in sunshine, with the chill of the breeze generated by the boat, or inside, letting myself get lost in a book, sitting next to the window with the scenery only washing past me, unseen. I do both, not remembering later what I've read.
I come home from the co-op Sunday tired, not from anything bad, just the driving all weekend, just waking up early. I say to Tom "It's almost too hot to weed," and he says "It's too hot to weed," so I don't. I don't have the energy to tackle the kitchen myself but when he does, I pick up a towel and dry, something I never do. Usually it seems like a waste of energy, just let them air dry, but this time it's just about standing there, clearing the way, keeping things moving. It's also about not moving. About being home. My mind goes out and back again, but I work on staying. I work on finding some way to tend our place with what energy I have. I break down the boxes that have been waiting in the stairwell, put them in the recycling. I brush off the new fabric panels that James and Jessica have gifted us with, bring them in the house, look for a place to hang the bright one especially, a barn and fields in primarily colors, yellow sunshine, a green crop, a blue sky. Nothing broken, nothing burned.