Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Ocean 15

Yes, it's been fifteen years. The first Ocean post went up on January 2, 2004, when I was 50 years old! A mere babe, playing with technology, shunning a chunk of privacy in favor of writing and eventually writing aided by photography. (Or is it photography aided by writing? It depends on the day!)

It's not true that everyone was on board from the get go. (Nor is it true that everyone is on board with the effort now: just ask some of my Polish friends!) But my daughters and then Ed (who burst into my life one and a half years into the blogging effort) were solid: this is what you do. It's your "art," your quirky habit. We will stand by you.

Without that, Ocean would have died. As it is, I plunge forward, despite the early technical difficulties (try posting ten years ago when you're camping in the Rockies, hiking the Appalachian Trail, crossing Scotland on foot), despite the late nights when the eyes wont stay open and the closing sentence in a post eludes me. Go to sleep, Gorgeous. I'm not done! I'm stuck!

But why? Why does she write, every single day, even when nothing happens to warrant our attention? Why always the breakfast photo? (Here's today's!)

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Why all these grandmother thoughts and images of happy kids? (You'll see them today.)

Why carry a camera on every walk through Paris? Why write about skilled waiters in faraway restaurants, about loyal friends no reader has ever met, about a farmette life where we don't really farm the land we live on? Why write at all, why can't you just enjoy the moment?

There are a thousand reasons I could offer you and still the list would be incomplete. And so I'll just offer one: do you see our awkward yet bold Peach navigating the path to the barn, going at it alone, even though some would say she should stay put in the safe shelter of the barn? She walks the path, because she can. She hopes for a good outcome at the end of it all. She can't be sure, but she tries.

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I write because I can. Decades of fussing with writing (I've been pulling stories from the day since I was eleven) has made me a careful storyteller. Surely not a great storyteller, but a careful one! I write for me and you, looking for a line that will make clear something that may or may not be obvious. Something that speaks to the gentler side of life, because that's where I like to put all my eggs at the end of the day.

And what would I pick from this day for an Ocean post? The snow, the girl, the playfulness of the afternoon.

(School is still not in session. I bring Snowdrop home for some solid playtime here. It's a cold day, but she does not want or need a jacket for the brief saunter to the farmhouse door. Ed is quite like her: note the shorts and the absence of even socks.)

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(Story time!)

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(Outdoor time! She wants her baby sled.)

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(Snowball fight! Hers is a gentle battle.)

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(Challah: mmm, good!)

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(Hot chocolate: Snowdrop loves it in principle.)

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I join her in a snack. Gogs, she tells me, don't eat while you're talking!

We both laugh. I'm often Gogs now. I can almost see the beginning of an eye roll. But not yet. Instead, she pulls up a storage basket, sits herself in it and announces that we're all sailing for Antarctica!

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Onward, Snowdrop! Onward, Sparrow and Primrose! Onward Ed and Gogs and farmette life! Onward, Ocean, too. Happy sailing indeed!