Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A September Song

I look at this scene almost daily.  It is a view from my side yard, where JB and I sit, a block from the bay, and where I imagine what it must be like to live in a treehouse.  

I haven't said much lately about the land by the sea where I now live. That's because I stepped away from the the rhythm of the ocean tides and the pink-orange colors of sunset at Herring Cove. I stepped away because of real problems but no longer.  I've still not returned--not yet--because I am consumed with finishing a novel I started writing six years ago. I am into that lovely zone of timelessness when one is doing something one loves and because of that, I have to push myself away from the manuscript. 

And this too: my daughter and her family have bought a lake house in Maine. They've watched the sunrise and sunsets this summer, and every night they speak about the beauty of that. Their young children  each morning walked into a back yard that is a beach, a beach yard with a hammock and kayaks and a small boat and rocks to fish from. I don't know if I've ever felt as content for my Jess as I do now And I say this after eight weeks of surety that she had cancer. (Misdiagnosed!)

Because of that surety, in a panic I found a studio apartment near her so I could help with the kids and help my daughter when she lost her hair and became too tired to move. I had to sign a one year lease and that has turned into a blessing--the apartment is adorable and cozy and convenient. We never would have spent the money to rent it had the circumstances not been critical, but now that we have, I can be here a couple of days a week, hanging out with my grandkids, learning to play the guitar, writing, writing.

There was a sophomoric time in my life when I longed for a soho-type loft. With this place, I have it.

The reason I'm writing this post tonight is not for any of the reasons I've just talked about. I'm writing because I visited my 99 year old Godmother today. Our visit was about planning a party in late October for her 100th birthday.  I'd asked her for  a list of people she'd like to invite. In her best handwriting she's written out names, addresses, phone numbers, an explanation of who is who. 

My Godmother is an amazing woman. She lives alone, she gardens, she feeds birds and squirrels in her driveway, she cooks and bakes, she reads the newspapers every day. Today she showed me an article on Koko the ape, his daily routine and how he mourned the loss of his pet cat. 

And she told me how she remembered me as a fun little girl, how I crawled into bed with my grandmother when she was sick and how I visited my grandparents every day, evaluating if the supper menu was better than my mother's. I asked her if I had been a good kid. She said yes, yes, you were.

I am organizing this 100 year old birthday party in late October. I asked my godmother if she wanted to speak at the party and she said, 'maybe, but mostly I want people to meet each other.'

I want that too. Her family was separated when she and her sisters were orphaned so I don't know her sisters or nieces and nephews. I don't know her friends. She gave me a list of 40 names today. I expected 15. On her 100th birthday she will celebrate with all the important people in her life.

I'd say that will be a great gift.

Happy September, everyone. FYI: the optimist in me has made a comeback.


  1. What a lovely, life affirming post to wake up to!

    You should know that your last post made me long for the ocean so much it inspired me to book a (warm) beach vacation with my daughter in a couple of weeks.

    Life is good, n'est pas?

  2. Thanks for the smiles and warm fuzzies!

    That little cottage is my dream house, when I can no longer grip the steering wheel of my rolling home

  3. So glad your optimism is back! I am working on that too! A thread with Renee brought me back here, so nice to see her smiling face and your word of family and life and words of optimism!
    It is all love, it is all we have, and here we are again! Love you to the moon and back ❤️

  4. If you said in this post where that tower is--and what it is--I'm sure missing it. I feel sick just imagining guys working on that thing.

    I’ve wondered if you’re at risk of flooding where you are, and whether your daughter lives near where my literary idol, Margaret Deland lived, which is Kennebunkport. Her house is still there, but I don’t know if the residents are aware of whom she was or how famous she was.

  5. I was first shocked and then very much relieved about the cancer-news of Jessica. Hope she is well again? You and JB have had a very hard time, so I understand, but all is going better now and I am very glad to read this. Take care, dearie!

  6. That is awesome news about your daughter. It is clear that you will always be there for each other. I'm glad you and JB are doing OK healthwise. Anxiety is a pernicious thing...as I know from experience. (Pharmaceuticals were a godsend for me, although I know they affect different people differently.)

    This is weird, but I had been thinking about blogs I enjoyed, and had not been able locate yours. Then just today stumbled across a comment you had made on my (sadly idle) blog and found my way back here just as you were getting back to posting. ALSO, I live in the next town over from Pismo Beach, so you were in our area when you came out to visit SLO this summer!

    In any case, I envy you your Cape Cod summer and fall. (it was 108 degrees in the C*stco parking lot on San Luis Obispo yesterday.) I wish I could visit my aunt in So. Harwich. We could not this summer, so I sent my 20 year old son instead, and they had a great time together. All the best.