Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Roots and Wings

My sunglasses are on the counter. Silly place for them when it's this bright and hot. Evidence I still am not completely acclimated to life in Colorado. That or I'm just a total airhead. Switch--we head to the other side of the street. Desperate for a little more shade. It's that hot--stinkin' hot. Been a while since we walked the school route. Middlest's friend lives right by the school. "Shake-a, shake-a, Mommy! Shake-a, shake-a!" Littlest loves this spot. Right at the top of Columbine. There's a house whose tree puts off those wonderful seed-pod instruments that all toddlers love. We picked them up every day on the school run. Shaking our way down to the school, then discarding and shaking our way back home with a new one. He can't quite understand where they all have gone. I try to explain they'll be back in the fall. Then find tears as I realize we won't be walking down to Sandburg for school again this fall, so I can't prove it to him.

 The new raised vegetable beds across the street are fat with shoulder-high veggies. Gorgeous. Neat and tidy rows in neat and tidy boxes with neat and tidy pea gravel paths in between. Seems like they were tiny little seedlings about 5 minutes ago. I dream dreams of a someday garden like that.

 Summer. It's finally here. I feel the spring move into the summer--the first season I am present enough to really feel. I think it maybe takes a year to acclimate to the seasons of a new home. Something about this particular season change resonates deep in my being.

 My Spider Wart is withered and doesn't want to open up it's blossoms. They hang there, sad. Hiding away the pretty purple flowers from the too-hot sun. My Corn Flower and Mums didn't make it. The Sedum got chewed up. Try as I might the Ice Plant won't bloom or spread and be the ground cover I had hoped for. But it's the strawberries that draw tears. They've spread & grown. Two or three berries last year. A dozen or more this year. Spreading their tendrils, growing big, tall leaves. I can tell they'll cover quite a bit of the ground I intended them for next summer. This is the part that makes me cry. While Littlest gleefully picks the bright red ones and asks to pick every single still-green one. I carefully unwind the Morning Glory and pull it up, and I cry. I won't be here to harvest these next year or to keep the morning glory from taking over.

 The whole team gathers in their speedos and red & black suits. The big kids stand in the inner circle. I remember some of them from 5 years ago or so. Cutie-pie middle schoolers then. Now big, tall, strong. The little brothers, sisters, and neighbors circle up around them with parents and coaches looking on. Only about half of the cheer is distinguishable, but it's not the cheer that brings the tears. It's the used-to-be little kids leading it. Swim team has broken my heart this year. Every time the 6 and unders get in the pool I feel that burning behind my eyes. Every time the highschool-aged jr. coaches cheer the littler kids on I fight the lump in my throat. This is what roots must feel like. Watching your little ones become the big ones in the middle. Beside the other little ones. Under the tutelage of big ones you watched grow from cutie-pie stage.

 My plants are putting deeper roots down. Growing taller stalks and putting on more flowers. But not us. Here we go again. Pulling our roots up. Heading off to a new adventure. To a place where I don't understand the seasons. Heck--their summer is in December for crying out loud! To a town where the school-run is unfamiliar and there may or may not be "shake-a, shake-a's." To a neighborhood where none of the children's chubby 5-years-ago faces will be familiar to me. Where no one will remember my boys when they were first learning to swim or when they swam their first relay.

 Wings. We do wings really, really well. Adventuring and exploring and going out into the world. My adventuresome spirit loves this. Revels in it. Grows and expands. Roots though. Where does one find roots if not in place? In familiar neighbors? In the familiar flow of season into season? Looking out at gardens growing in soil one knows and nurtures year to year? My mothering spirit mourns the loss of roots. Worries. Wonders. Cries.

 Roots. How do I give my children roots in this crazy expat lifestyle?

Friday, 8 June 2012

English Camping Day 1...

June 2nd, 2012 English camping, Day 1.
Thoughts. In no particular order:
 -SO glad I brought my wellies no matter how much room they took/take up, and no matter how silly my girlfriends thought I was.
-So that's what's meant by "chucking it down."
 -Totally glad it rained. So hard. I don't think it really counts as English camping if it doesn't rain at least part of the time.
-I hope it only rains part of the time. -That guy has the HUGEST white man fro I have ever seen. That is downright impressive.
-Scott and I are getting pretty good at Colorado camping, but we are pants (aka we suck) at English "glamping."
-Glamourous Camping = glamping and boy howdy is this ever. We have a refrigerator and an electric tea kettle for crying out loud. Wowza.
-Who would have ever though camping in a big-ol' farmer's field would be fun? The English apparently. One thing I will say--it's really nice not digging out rocks and pinecones from under the tent.
-My goodness gracious these Brits fit a lot of crap into their little bitty cars. It's impressive. Larders (aka pantries)? Tables, chairs, rugs, drying-rack whirly gigs!, shelves, toys, wet suits, beds complete with sheets and duvets instead of sleeping bags and trail pads, stoves, ovens, fridges, tea kettles (of course), not to mention the kids' scooters, bikes, etc.
-Notably missing are the tvs and dvd players and satellite dishes of the American RV parks. Loving that. This is all a little crazy, but that is ridiculous.
-I like glamping a lot more with an 8-man tent that I can stand up in. The 4-man REI backpacking tent just didn't work for English camping last year.
-Those bungie cord peg thingies that Mark gave us are friggin' awesome. I can't wait to show Steve. -Steve would love this. It would crack him up and drive him crazy and he would love it. -I think the delivery truck for Chinese take-away is a little excessive.
-There's something about being able to walk from the campsite, along the narrow little English lanes, through the lovely thatched-roof villages, to the sea. Something magical and am-I-in-a-movie and gorgeous and...
-Devon is gorgeous.
-Cream tea (scones, Devonshire cream, jam, and a cup of tea) is a MUST tomorrow if possible. We are in the land of clotted cream after all.
-The buntings crack me up. I love the whole patriotic, excessive and adorableness of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I can't wait until the local village festivities on Monday. I hope we go to the barn dance. Barn Dance? Seriously? What is this a Hollywood movie set? YAY!
-We ate Bolognese for dinner. How hilarious and fancy and yummy.
-I quite like being able to go up to the hut-thingy to wash the dishes. That works just fine for me.
-I think I've had more wine tonight than in ages. Maybe the sea-level thing makes me hold my liquor a bit better? We'll see tonight I guess.
-It's sort of silly and funny that we would come spend our vacation time and money to get soaking wet in freezing cold, foggy old England instead of spending the same hard-earned money and time in say, Mexico? And...I wouldn't trade it for the world. These are the best friends and this is a grand adventure and I love soggy, cold old England. They do after all have Devonshire cream and Diamond Jubilees for crying out loud!
-3:45 am is STUPIDLY early to get up and I am unbelievably exhausted but not at all sleepy. Think I'll go up to the hot showers (yeah. hot showers. camping. i know, right?) and take a warming-up sort of one and go to bed.
-Can't WAIT to see what kind of craziness we get up to tomorrow!!!

 Two more thoughts after going up to pee and brush my teeth. I decided against the shower:
1. I love the English phrase, "Old boy." I can't quite understand the proper usage or context, but it always makes me grin.
2. The girl at the sink next to me must have been a world-champion teeth brusher. We started brushing at the same time and for some reason I decided it was a sort of race. Dude. She brusher her teeth for a LONG time. I don't think I've ever had cleaner teeth. Don't worry though. I didn't let her win. I waited a whole 20 or 30 seconds after she spit to do the same. I thought I was going to gag, but there's no way I was going to let her win. Hmm mmm. Nope. I beat that crazy English chick fair and square. USA! USA! USA! Sorry...all the Diamond Jubilee-ness has me feeling patriotic, but I'm not