Sunday, August 13, 2017


Sunday... Not every Sunday can be the same and yet, there's comfort in sameness, no? Why else would I post a photo of our breakfast each and every day here on Ocean?

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Outside, I try to ignore their flowers. I know they could use some care. But I am due at the young family's new home. I'll be playing with Snowdrop while the unpacking continues.

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And how is the little girl today?
Curious, concerned, accepting, serious. In other words, she is adjusting to her new digs.

What is this, Gaga?
It's a decoration on your front door. I think it's supposed to have the shape of a flower.

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I had googled the closest playground to their house. 18 minutes by foot. Not bad. Snowdrop, let's explore!

As I follow my little map of twists and turns, down this block, up this narrow cut-through, I notice how quiet it is here. The young family lived close to downtown and you heard cars, trains, trucks, people all the time.

Snowdrop herself is totally serious.

I had purchased a kid book where the little guy moved from California to New Mexico and the change in topography was astonishing to him. I had scoffed at it for Snowdrop. She's moving within the same city. No such great changes for her!

I was wrong. Nothing about her new neighborhood feels the same. On our adventuring walks after school, we always stayed within the perimeter of her home and school. This world is not like the one she left behind. Spacious, serene, without the chaos of what she left behind. We may as well be in New Mexico.

We find the playground. Ah! A swing that she knows and loves! She stays in it for a good 15 minutes. She loves it, but she doesn't crack a smile.

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The playground has other stuff that are her speed, including the spinning whirligig thingie that is familiar to her from our trip to Paris. She wants to try it. She does try it. She likes it. But you can't tell that, can you?

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She goes over to the climbing structure. Again, she had seen something like this in Paris and had wanted to climb it there. She wants to climb it here as well, but she can't. I mean, it's way over her skill level. But I think this climbing set of ropes is just a proxy for wanting to feel in control, on top of it all...

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We inspect the tennis courts, the other climbing structures, the fields dedicated to baseball, the picnic tables. It's all empty now. Where is everyone? Perhaps Sunday late morning is not a time to be out and about. Or maybe the distances here are so large and the yards so big that the economics of it all propel you to put up your own playground in the backyard, rather than count on the one in the neighborhood park...

But I do think that Snowdrop will someday love this 17 minute walk through secret alleys and twisting, hilly blocks. I think she will love recognizing the house where the owners care about gardening (as opposed to the ones where owners care only about the lawn), just as she learned to love the white picket fence with the pinwheel in the old neighborhood.

And I get this small twinge of worry and nostalgia: how will it be to walk after school in her old neighborhood, given that it was also the neighborhood of her old home? Will it comfort her? Unnerve her?

When Snowdrop's mommy was just about this age, we moved: from a tiny condo, to an English town, and finally to a small ranch home, all in the space of three months. I don't recall my daughter being really perplexed by any of it.

Snowdrop is different. Of course, every person is different. Snowdrop is keenly aware of detail. She will notice change in two seconds flat when she comes to the farmhouse. She is not put off by it, but she does takes note.

And now we are at her home and she and I play with foods and that is oh so familiar that I think we we are like any food loving people on the planet, losing ourselves in the familiarity of dishing out favorite stuff to beloved people.

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We are approaching her nap time and so I turn back to my own home, stopping at Stoneman's farms for corn, because it's so damn good and yet we haven't enough meals this month to lose ourselves in the wonder of this vegetable.

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I have so much to do before my trip later this week, but I do none of it. Instead, I fight the bugs and go out and clip the lilies. I know, I know -- I said I was done with this task, but somehow, I feel the need to clean the garden one last time. 465 spent lily blooms.

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And here's a curious thing: I'm sure you don't see this, but on my extra tall lily stalk - the one that is so tall that I have stand on tippy toe and then arch its stem toward me to reach the spent blooms, I see something incredible:

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Oh, you missed it! So let me zoom in just a little to the very highest bloom... Do you see that froggie on the petal? How did it get there? How does anyone get to where they want to be?

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As I work the garden (so buggy today!) I hear the call of the cranes. I take Rosie and go out to take a look.

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It strikes me that you can be both powerful and strong and yet cautious and afraid. They see me approaching... They extend their wings... But over time, they understand that I pose no danger. And so they settle into their quiet grazing once more.

Back to the lilies... to swatting bugs and thinking about Snowdrop, whom I know will settle in once more.

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