Saturday, May 29, 2010

May Fair

We had a wonderful time celebrating May Day with friends...

Wait! A photo of me! I really do exist in the world on the other side of the camera...Emerson fell asleep promptly when we got home - at 4:30 pm.

A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Baby Lila

Remember the doll that Emerson got for Christmas that she wasn't at all happy with?

Here they are sporting there new clothes I got for them at the consignment sale... (Lila inherited the clothes I didn't sell)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Farmer's Market Morning

Hooray for growing season!

Emerson helping baby Lila to walk...

Hooray for the sun!

Springing Forward

Growing things have been popping up in our yard the past two months,

and we have come above ground once more as well. We've been out of the basement for about a month now, and it's nice to see the sun shine.

This is our first spring in our new home, and it has been a wonderful surprise to discover these hearty little plants, that have been sleeping underneath us all fall and winter, waiting to grace us with their beauty.
With the state the previous owner left this house, I am surprised that there is anything resembling beauty coming from anywhere on our property, but these little flowers are resiliant, and a pleasant reminder that at some point, somebody else loved our home. With patience and hard work, this house will be looking good again someday.

We've decided to wait to plant or change anything - which is much harder for Matty than for myself -until the end of this growing season for two reasons. One - we want to wait and see what else comes up before we just start ripping stuff out of the ground. There are some wonderful flowers growing out of what was going to be our herb garden, and it will be nice to bring them to a safe home after they bloom. The herb garden can wait. Next week is our first CSA week, and there will be plenty of herbs there, I'm sure...

Another reason we are waiting to act on the outdoors, is the logging. Ted is like us with his projects - slow. He's taken most of the money trees in the back, but I have the feeling we are going to spend most of the summer with the trees around our house still standing. When he is finished, we'll be in a good position to decide what our plans will be next spring. We have a lot of good ideas. Ideas at least. Time will tell if they are good.

After winter, I get just as sentimental as any New Englander about the blooming pussy willows, or the first crocus that pokes it's head out of the frosty ground. The blazing yellows of the forsythia and daffodils, followed by rose of sharon, and lilacs - all signs that we have made it through another winter, and that spring has arrived. But I have to admit, that spring is not my favorite season. For me it's not even a season at all - just a tug of war between winter and summer. People say that March comes in like a lion, and out like lamb. More like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I like the consistency of seasons - the long, carefree days of summer, the crisp air and blazing orange and reds of fall, the dark womb of winter. The hope of warm weather, followed by miserable freezing days, and then back again, is depressing to me.

I know I should be thankful for every day that I have on this earth.

And I do cherish those days spent raking,

and sailing boats,

but it's almost June. And it's time to put the winter coats away.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The past is another country

And old blog from many months ago...

-May 16 -

The plague has hit our house in full force these last two weeks, but somehow, somewhere between Matt not being able to get off the couch for three days, and Em and O spewing their innards out of every orifice, we managed to have one well day to head to the beach. We had been invited weeks earlier by our friends, to bless the birth of their fourth child - seaside. When we made the plans, I thought we would make a weekend of it - stay overnight at Matty's dad's or somewhere on the North Shore to make the travel worth it, but when the time came, Matt was sick, and I had agreed to work the night before we left. That night, after work, the last thing I felt like doing was driving all the way across the state and back in one day. I wanted to have the day to clean my house, and get some things done. But our friends chose us to be there to help usher this new being down to earth safely with our well wishes, and I knew I was going - with or without my incapacitated husband.

And then we woke up to sun shining into our lives - literally and figuratively. Matt was feeling great in the morning, and for some reason packing two kids up for a day at the beach seemed a lot easier than it usually does. And then we were out, on the open road, with sun shining through the windows, and the radio on.

One thing I am blessed with is children who love road-trips as much as me. We don't have whiners, and we don't have DVDs. We sometimes play road games if we're on a long trip, but on this trip, like many others, Emerson just sits back and listens to music. (And Matt and I get an uninterrupted period of time to talk - we've made a lot of momentous decisions and plans in the car) Right now, Emerson is bonkers about the Beatles - namely their greatest hits album (the red one - 1962-66 I think) so that dominated our ride. (As it dominates our life right now - she'll sing sentences to the tune of Paperback Writer, or Nowhere Man). The resurrection of great albums is one of the many good things about having children, in my mind. I remember listening to that same album when I was a child, a little older than Emerson, having no idea what the lyrics meant, but loving it all the same. And although I had moved on to more "mature" Beatles music by junior high, and had discarded them altogether by high school, there was one song I was always partial to, and I was glad to be able to play it a few times during the ride.

There are places I remember,
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever not for better,
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments,
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living,
In my life, I've loved them all.

As we drove towards Gloucester, I was taken backwards not only by the memories of the songs, but by the visual memories of the North Shore area itself. I'd lived there for six months after I graduated college, which seems like such a short time on paper, but feels like a long journey in the archives of my mind. As we drove east, I was flooded by recollections: friends, lovers, work, drinking, drugs, boats, fishing, fried clams, dollar draughts, laughing, swimming, sand, sea. That time in my life was so full of the paradoxes of being in my early twenties. The dirty beauty and the pure beauty. The fun of being around tons of crazy, debaucherous friends, and the experience of living by myself for the first time in my life. Of being able to drive up the shore if I needed reflection. Of being able to jump in the freezing ocean in the morning on my way to work, after a long night out, and wash my sins away. It was such a great, fun, FULL time in my life. Like so many times I can think of, and as I drove along, listening to the Beatles, I felt so lucky to have had these moments, these places, these friends and lovers. And I did love them all.

I hadn't written down directions to get to the beach in Gloucester because I'd been there so many times before, and I was sure I'd remember it. And sure enough, although we were the lead in our three car caravan, we were the last to arrive, thanks to a few too many wrong turns. Nothing looked the same after more than a decade. The beach didn't even look the same. It's funny what the mind can recreate. But there was my present life waiting for me, and I was happy to have arrived.
There's Lynn, looking beautiful with that belly on the beach. (And behind her is the beach house we sat on the shore and coveted...)

We got down to business right away, digging a hole to place some candles in,

setting up flowers, tuning guitars,
The birth blessing was beautiful. Very simple and honest. Nancy said a few words and sang a song,
(I know she thought I was laughing at her singing voice, but really I was laughing at the two ladies in bathing suits, pumped full of high fructose corn syrup, walking past us)

Walter sang "You Are My Sunshine," because it's his favorite song, and Arden read a poem and did some singing too.
Afterward, we each lit a candle while saying our personal blessing for the baby's passage into the world. We put all the candles in the middle, and each cut off a piece of one long cord to wear as a bracelet until the baby is born. The baby is tied to all of us now, and we are all giving him or her energy and strength on the way to earth. (Someone recently asked me if it was a Kabbalah bracelet...)

So yeah, for a little while, we were the weird hippie people on the beach. Those people that my former self would have walked by and thought "what the hell are they doing?" And it was awesome, and beautiful, and I felt so lucky to be there.
I tried really hard to get a photo of the entire family, but it was tricky considering Claire was on my lap. Here's her hat.

Here she is in her entirety. And then the beach blessing was over, and we spent the rest of that day hanging out at the beach, (Emerson in her underwear because it's MAY - I packed long underwear and sweatshirts in case it was too cold and windy, not swimsuits in case we decided to swim) much like I would have hung out at the beach back in the day, but better. Better because I'm older and I know more. Better because I've added more layers to the memories that have come before. Better because I know myself, and I'm more comfortable in my own skin. Better because I have woven these people to the tapestry of my life. Better because it's now and not then. Just better.

Someone said it once, and I firmly believe that it's true. The past really IS another country - this Gloucester, through changes not only in myself, but also in the people who live here, or don't, who come and go and change themselves, through houses that go up and down, through the people who move in and out, through the tides that push and pull on the earth, changing the rocks and sand. This Gloucester is a new place, in a way that every place is a new place after you have been gone for many years. This Gloucester is not the one of my past - that is only a memory in my mind, a memory that is a part of me, and that I love, but not as much as I love the here and now.

Though I know I'll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before.
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life, I love you more.

(And please slap me if you hear these words come out of my mouth ever again "The beach is such a long way for a day trip, and I have things I could do around the house...")

And as a post-note, baby William was born on June 20 - Father's Day - and I was lucky enough to be there for the birth!