Thursday, 4 October 2018

Then and Here

Every morning I get up with the sun or fog or whatever the morning decides and make coffee.  Until recently, the coffee made itself.  The threat of lethargy changed that pattern.  Now we take coffee on the porch.  Later, Abby makes breakfast, usually hardy and oozing deliciousness that should be considered a sin any morning other than a Sunday.  We make plans about dinner and then we get to work.  Abby toils at her projects that would be falling off a shelf if organized that way.  The shelf could not support her addiction to doing things and doing them well.  I meander the property, deciding the next big outdoor project and buzz in Abby’s ear all day, a reminder that I am there for support, should she need it.  She rarely does.  We meet for “beer-thirty” which has been decided on as a sort of RESET poised in our day to, God forbid, keep us from going too fast in the world, or check in if we need to realize why we might be moving too slowly that day.

I miss hiking.  In Alaska, we were able to take some amazing hikes with a wonderful new friend and guide, Laura.  She helped me to test my own limits and gave Abby and me confidence hiking alone on some of the trails throughout Alaska beyond our visit with her.  There are no words for the views both from above and across an expanse of wildflowers into a bay and the majestic mountains in the background, to the rainforest type environment with giant trees and foliage that reaches out to touch you before you arrive.  Here, the moss grows thick on trees, the ground is wet, rivers and streams ride alongside until inevitably you have to cross them over rocks or with one big stride, hoping not to drag a boot.  Even in the middle of summer, you might sweat a little, but there is so much to see and feel and hear, all stealing the conscious awareness away from anything as petty as a little warmth or heavy breathing.  The altitudes we endeavored were not high, so the hikes are very doable for all levels.  My biggest bane, the descent.  My clients always come to me with complaints about knees and we get right to work strengthening them and I balk when they continue or insist their knees are “old”.  Okay, Alaska has taught me that there is such a pain, but it is diagnosable and treatable.  My knees are not old.  They are inexperienced at certain things.  With an Ibuprofen and a day of rest, they are back to new.

Were it not for a mailbox an eighth of a mile away, down a dirt and gravel road with occasional rain-soaked potholes, there would be no hiking here.  But, as the summer refuses to give up it’s relentless grip and yield to the celebrated fall, the sun beats down on the mailbox trek, bringing back the nostalgia of once beautiful hiking on our trips this year.  Because the road follows the property, and it is a corner tract, it is encouraging to keep the park-like ambiance associated with those acres of the property.  We work very hard at that.  Meanwhile, it is all we can do to avoid the missiles falling from the sky in the form of acorns.  Based on the noise they make hitting the metal roofs, if one were to actually hit us...or the cat...or the dog….there would most certainly be the sight of crimson streaming from one our skulls.

Abby is rehearsing for a gig this weekend.  I can hear her across the property amidst the thud of those acorns over my head.  I finished the dishes from dinner (shepherds pie and salad) after we sat down and watch a movie.  The movie was ‘Into the Wild’.  We saw the bus from the movie at the 49th State Brewery when we were in Denali, Alaska.
  The movie, is not so much about Alaska as it is a coming of age movie centered around a very common struggle, children and parents.  To me however, it is a story of going to extremes, but stopping just short of killing yourself doing it.  Of course, the movie ends tragically and has put me in a melancholy state, missing the open and vastness of carefree travel as well as the lessons it teaches, good and bad.  I miss my parents too.  One is gone forever, the other...well, I just need to go see.  This is probably my last post about Alaska and the trip that lasted months, going up and coming back.  The air is thick now with discussion of next year and the adventures that await us right here at home.

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