From the beach in Washington, as the cool Pacific breezes wafted over us, we read about the heat wave which had settled over Montana. I have a friend who says that when she returns home, her body is there, but it takes two days before her mind and heart arrive. When we left on our vacation, I was still wearing wool sweaters, and there had been but three evenings in which it was warm enough for dinner on the terrace. So, coming home to this heat, and sleeping with just a sheet and the ceiling fan whirring overhead, has made homecoming even more disorienting. My friend says she just aimlessly wanders around her house. That’s what I’ve been doing, sitting in a chair here and there outside in the shade, deadheading and watering the geraniums, brushing the cats who lie listlessly on the cool concrete under the shade of the porch. Just giving myself time and space so that the mind and heart can settle back into my body.
There was so much heart at Whidbey Island as my family gathered to celebrate my 70th birthday. I took this photo, late on our last afternoon, when I went down to the beach to wash off the toys and put them back into the storage area at the airbnb. It was the only “job” I had for an entire week. My three girls and their husbands planned all the meals, did all the grocery shopping, prepared three meals a day, and washed all the dishes, swept the floor, picked up the towels. They made a birthday celebration one evening with cake and balloons, a slideshow of Me, beer glasses hand-etched with my name, T-shirts for us all which had been printed with a painting and quote from this very blog. We sang and danced late into the beautiful night. And, they presented me with a scrapbook in which each of the grandchildren, my daughters, and my sons-in-law created a page for me. These pages are the dearest gift I’ve ever received–original poems, watercolors of flowers we’ve seen on walks to school, sailboat paintings, thanks for my advice, appreciation for the little things like sharing recipes and cat videos, and memories of moments together which I never expected them to remember. It’s going to take a long time to bring my heart, overwhelmed in gratitude, back into this 70-year-old body.