Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Beach

Going to the coast has changed over the years.

As a child--Great Lakes or the Bay Area, almost always suffering a sunburn, sometimes stripping so I was naked. There's a picture of me on a raft, with a California bikini tan, with my great aunt holding on so I wouldn't drift off. I was maybe five years old, my hair bleached from sunshine so it was white on the ends and blond underneath and growing in.

As a teenager--with my friends in a tent or sleeping in the back of a Jeep. Never brought enough to eat or drink, no cash, spent most of our time beach combing or sparring on the driftwood, unarmed or with bokken. I had better balance then.

As a quasi-adult--climbing, running, frisbee, teaming up with my friends against Rory in martial arts play duels. We'd split the cost of a room by the coast or stay at a friend's house in Philomath and make the last of the commute to the coast from there. When Orion and two years later, Andrea was born I'd spend most of my time under a sleeping bag on top of a blanket sheltering them from fierce winds, supervising their play or keeping them from eating sand. Pictures of holding a toddling Orion's hand into the shallowest parts of the surf, big with Andrea. We tried to keep the dining out to either lunch or dinner and picnic the rest.

As a maturing adult--Inexpensive hotel rooms on credit card, eating out for pretty much every meal. More kite flying. Rory climbed with Orion, making my heart go pitter pat, but I trust them both. Andrea and I find creatures in tidepools. We window shop and scour through our favorite used book stores. The kids always get taffy and trinkets.

Today--We're going to a resort, part of a flex time share we bought into. We're bringing dry goods because there's a full kitchen, and we can make our own meals. Cushy two-bedroom place, three swimming pools, two hot tubs, tidepools and stormy waters, the must-stop-pirate-shop. The kids want to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium *again* and the grownups want to go to the Rogue Brewery afterward *again* as a consolation prize, although secretly I love the aquarium. Too windy to kite fly. We'll take off our shoes and freeze in the cold sand but the water feels warmer than it does in summer. Planning to see Narnia at the coast movie theater, but we may end up somewhere watching the sunset or finding treasures in the surf. Art gallery and wine shops on the way home.

It's different, but the same. I like having enough to eat and not being cold at night. I like the fireplace to warm my socks. But I feel most alive when Rory and I climb over some dark rocks and the surf is spraying on the other side. The waves shake the rocks and we kiss, our mouths cold and salty.

It's all good.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cold rain

The edges of my fingernails turn lavender and blue. Transitioning from cool weather to the heat of summer? No problem. Transitioning from moderate fall to winter? My internal thermostat protests.

In the winter there are just as many things to do as in summer, but it's harder to actually do them. The chill slows everything down. Molasses in January. Wanting to stay under the covers in the morning. Snow or cold rain outside to slog through during chores. It's even harder if there's a warmest place in the house situation. The living room with the big fire going is tidy and welcoming, while the cold office in the downstairs on the north side of the house gets worse and worse and worse.

So the pile begins, and by spring, that first flush of warmth inspires a rush of all that accumulated work. The dark corners get flushed with light, dusting and scrubbing. Garbage gets hauled out. Until then, there's the dreary build up like dirt on a car's dashboard. Unless it drives you crazy (har har) it just keeps getting thicker and thicker, and you try not to put your hand on it because once you leave fingerprints, it starts talking to you telepathically. Clean me, Kami! Look, there's a clean spot the size of your hand. Just wipe it off. Five seconds.

Inevitably those little voices grow into a chorus in wintertime. I huddle inside my clothes and pointedly ignore them until the sun can loosen my frozen joints.

Some things can't be neglected, though. Out we go into the cold rain, and when we return, hot chocolate.