Returning to the world.

Forgive me. It’s been almost three weeks since my last post which is a record. I’ve kind of let myself go on a lot of levels since Cam died, including eating somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty pounds of chocolate and sugar in various combinations…which I admit I thoroughly enjoyed but in a probably perverse way.  Still, sometimes you need to stop doing everything and just float for a while.  Let the wind blow you around.  Drift. Rest. Think. Remember. Digest.

There’s much to digest here.

But this morning I feel myself returning to the world again, both figuratively and physically.  The hubster and I spent nine days out of the last twelve running away to the wilderness every chance we got and there’s nothing quite like getting out on the water surrounded by snow capped peaks, and paddling for miles and miles and miles to help rebuild a crumbling perspective.

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I think everyone develops their own way of finding a path back to that feeling of home at their center when they’ve become lost…prayer, meditation, service, gardening, cleaning house, work, family, friends, community, etc.

For the me the way back has always involved the silence and deep mystery of the natural world. It’s where I instinctively turned as a child for congregation and confessional and where I’ve returned ever since, especially when a wound needs tending.  The stars and storms, mountains and forests, wind and waters have a way of taking the torn, raggedy edges from any injury and pulling them gently back together again, giving them a chance to meet and knit and eventually scar over.

The hubster loves the wilderness, too, only for slightly different reasons.  He feels the silence, too, and needs it as much as I do, but his nature is more wild than mine, or at least wild in a different way.  Where I crave the wonder and mystery of vast and ancient forces, he’s after all the grand adventures that wilderness provides, and over time he’s taught me a little of that particular joy he finds in throwing himself, over and over, against inclement everything…weather, conditions, terrain, the absence of any kind of safety precautions.

Looking back I have to both laugh and shake my head at some of the stupid, stupid, STUPID things we’ve done over the years. The hubster is naturally fearless and impatient of anything that stinks of planning…which I, on the other hand, tend to be a little obsessive about. (My basic nature exacerbated by the depression.)  But he was always so irresistibly charming and relentlessly persuasive that I followed him anyway, over and over again, into situations that were way over my head.  Often over his head, too, but then he loves that.

But since we were lucky and actually survived it all, I now have a treasure cache inside me of memories when I followed him blindly through the labyrinth of all my clamoring terrors to emerge in breathtaking places of grace that were magical and impossible, as if I’d flown there.

My God. I shudder to think what the darkest years of the depression would have done to me without him there to drag me along behind on his adventures, bumping and pointing out every last, little, innocuous threat along the way. I’m pretty sure I would have ended up as a shut-in. It’s really too bad that the man can’t be bottled.

I owe him much, this beloved husband of mine.

Happy anniversary sweetheart and thanks for our continuing grand adventure together. I do so love you.

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When odd ducks finally find each other.

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Well, I don’t even know how long it’s been since my last post.  My daughter got married this month and, while life at the wedding-zoo was fun and magical and fascinating and celebratory and emotional and very, very important, I was still relieved to take the last guest to the airport at the end of it all and return to an empty home.

Silence cannot…I repeat cannot…be overrated.

A few of my favorite highlights:

1) Daughter is a costume maker and she and old friend Bombshell Bridesmaid dressed up one night in an authentic can-can dress and 17th century French court dress to go to a local, Idaho bar.  When I asked her she grinned and said nobody paid much attention because “they all know me by now.”

2) All the girls wore crowns. Daughter loves crowns and feels everyone should have them.  She sometimes wears one on bike rides.

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3) Daughter loves a production and enrolled the weather gods to help.  After a heat wave that lasted weeks the wedding day dawned overcast and chilly with breezes.  Black storm clouds rolled in during the garden ceremony (with the wind occasionally blowing over the microphone to sound like thunder…pure genius) but nary a drop of rain ever fell.  Shortly before sunset the light broke through to make a rainbow that lasted close to half an hour for photo ops.  I mean really.  Bravo you guys.

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4) The original wedding cake (a bass drum in honor of the drummer groom-now-son) slid off onto the baker’s garage floor during transport.  This was the back-up cake.  Note protective box.

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The baker deserves a medal for this.  I mean, really.  Stunning.

5) The stylist for the girls was a no-show.  Enter, Son’s Bay Area girlfriend who just happened to have all the make-up and styling equipment necessary to prep five women for a wedding.  She swooped in and made them all gorgeous then zipped off to whip together her own exquisite coiffe.  (Who was that masked woman?!!)

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7) Daughter and New Son just laughed, drank champagne, and waved every setback off.  They were totally in it for the ride.

8) Daughter included the promise to obey in her vows!  Naturally, nobody believed it but the dramatic effect was magnificent.

6) My aunt who’s a quilt maker pulled an unfinished quilt out of mothballs that my great grandmother started close to seventy years ago.  Originally pieced together from old pajamas, shirts, and house dresses but never backed, quilted, or edged, it passed first to my grandmother then my aunt fifty years ago.  Aunt decided it was high time to finish the thing in honor of great-great granddaughter’s marriage and I can’t be certain but it felt like the full lineage of matriarchs was present for the opening of the gift.  (Great group of old broads btw.  They were no doubt cracking bawdy jokes about the wedding night.)

On a serious note, I feel very, very fortunate that my daughter chose a good, kind, unflappable man with a huge heart and a quick brain, and that the two of them are SO well matched: eccentric, artistic, and profoundly laid back.  She can happily dance to his drumming for hours and he genuinely enjoys the weird and wonderful way she so often dresses.  Really, it’s kind of heartening that two such odd ducks could even find each other in a huge world full of trillions of people  like this, and even more surprising that they actually got married since I thought they’d just live together happily ever after.  Life is a mysterious, generous, magical thing sometimes.  It truly is.

To my daughter and new son: With all my heart I wish you a long and beautiful life together full of love, courage, willingness, and continued trust and faith in one another.  May the storm clouds forever mass on your horizons for dramatic effect, never actually break, and delight you afterwards with enduring rainbows.

I do so love you both,

Mom

p.s. I’ll cover Random Hot Tip About Dying #5 in my next post.  It seemed a little incongruous to add it here, even to me.

You mean him, dear?

Most people have a few friendships that are based on different things.  Some are for having fun, some share a common interest, and then there’s always that one required for long, long talks that last well into the night (with or without accompanying beverages.)  These relationships may develop in childhood, at work, in the neighborhood, from traveling, from school, or even these days, online.

But the mother of all friendships is the one that’s forged in the furnace of life.  I have an old friend like this, a woman with whom I share a level of bonding similar to that between comrades on the battlefield.  We’ve been through a lot together.

A lot.

We first met when I was seventeen and she was nineteen, working together in the kitchen of what, in those days, was essentially a spiritual commune.  We wound up attending the same college, settling in the same small community, making similar bad first marriages, and bearing babies which we then helped each other nurse, care for, and even once…after an explosion of domestic violence…hide through the bad divorces that followed.

Afterwards, we were merry divorcees together for a couple of years, sharing in the wild and uninhibited adventures that a sudden release from oppression often unleashes. We ran laughing and naked together through woods and creeks, danced (also naked, it was a theme) around bonfires under moons, had lots of sleepovers drinking smuggled moonshine on late nights around the lake, and shared endless stories about the amazing lessons in kindness, respect, new ideas, repeating old mistakes, letting go, saying no (and saying yes, Yes, for godsakes YES!!!) we were learning from dating a variety of other men.

The stories from this period are nothing if not fun to tell.

Eventually, way down deep, beneath the many layers of wounding and rebelling, adventures and healing, we both discovered our inner loyal, monogamous selves.  We each found a trusted partner…really, really good men…remarried and, even though we’ve mostly lived apart for the last twenty years, have continued sharing and supporting each other through the wild adventures of our offspring who (seem to have inherited the fearless/high risk/high mistakes gene and) have amazing stories of their own to tell now.

I count this friendship, along with motherhood and a happy marriage, as one of the greatest gifts of my life.  I don’t how I got so lucky.

It’s long been the dream of this friend and I to wind up living together and seated in twin rocking chairs on a front porch somewhere in our old age. All the other details are sketchy (those wonderful husbands dead and kids traipsing across Argentina perhaps?) but every once in a while something pops up to help fill in the gap.

She just sent me this joke about three old ladies in a retirement home and, judging from the history the two of us share, something along these lines seems likely:

Three ladies were sitting in their retirement home reminiscing.

The first lady recalled shopping at the grocers and demonstrated with her hands, the length and thickness of a cucumber she could have once bought for a penny.

The second lady nodded, adding that onions used to be much bigger and cheaper also, and demonstrated the size of two big onions she once bought for a penny a piece.

The third lady said, “I can’t hear a word you two are saying, but I remember the man you’re talking about.”

Oh honey, do I ever.  Love you always, dear.

copyright Dia Osborn 2011