The Leonine lazies have been rather busier than I would have not planned…
Although, now that my July birthdays are passed, I am left to enjoy a bit the afterglow in a season I long have noted as a favorite for its lengths of sere heat inviting one to draw into meditations on dancing with restorative torpor.
I did not mark turning 61 with any particular importance. Still, I love noting how much has accrued during my history of celebrating these depths of summer. Impressions of early fertile afternoons contrast a seven-year-old’s mud bath after a thunderstorm with creatively serious play of my youth in the sandpile off the more usually dusty Kansas farmyard resurface curiously in sweaty nights some sensuous years later.
Summers of the sixties in the city… Denver dancing all night. Another significant mud bath. Turning 30 took me to a Baja desert for an experiential meeting with important archetypes via a Jungian play therapist.
Indeed, this only lifts a particularly limited version of some creative openings through my history of summer’s repetitive mirages.. shimmering oppression, inside which little is energized to act, less to actively create. The value comes to form in some later realization… I’ve learned to trust laying into it. Resistance has proved backlash. Opposition could invite disaster. Better to burn with so much grace as I can muster.
Turning forty I chose going home to celebrate with my birth family & returned to Sedona to begin a serious search toward solitude.
Arizona’s Red Rocks indulged my excesses deliciously even as dessication did dialogue with life’s juice. July’s fog in my California garden began to teach me water atop summer’s fire, yet that could only begin to prepare me for the Northwest’s vacillations in summer weather. We’ve had several mornings in the middle of this last month’s heat when it was downright cold… sweaters are never put far away…
Thus I find coolness in these reflections on my love of heat. My lion basks in fulsome anticipation… sweating & chilling by turn. Even as I await this summer’s insight… I must admit to being patiently impatient… dissolving resolve. Resolving dissolve…
The last two or three times I’ve moved I chose my birthday. Several years ago I declared my preferred birthday gift to be “cleaning out the shed”, which processed into the nearly completed construction this year of the new building Stephen calls his “FORGE”… his writing cottage. “Birthday shed cleaning” has become a truly serious joke around here.
I’d suggested a continuation this year: to organize more functionality into the new sheds, built when the old storage was demolished to began the new construction.
Birthdays want more than parties… Not that I’ve lacked for those.
Eleven years ago, at the lavish party for my fiftieth, my heart flamed. This year he took me to Ellensburg… 61 jumps! His Washington News Council board meeting… he’s its president, coincided with the weekend’s Jazz In The Valley Festival there.
We drove over the mountains east 100 miles to Ellensburg on Friday after meeting his friend Robin Jurs for lunch at the Experience Music Project, our museum of rock & roll in a building designed by Frank Gehry. I had ahi for the second time in what was to become a bit of habit. This time it was billed on the menu as Poke… but, while I love avocados, they do not substitute satisfactorily for the salty zest of seaweed seemingly essential to the Hawaiian preparation of this chopped raw fish we came to love there….
The night before I’d made pan-seared ahi for my first birthday dinner… I have celebrated both the 27th & the 28th since childhood, taking advantage of a family disagreement. I’d habitually believed the latter day was correct & used it for my driver’s license, but it was the earlier date my birth certificate showed when I applied for my passport… so now that foible has become official!
We’d both worked late at our desks, instead of inside the sheds, because my accountant had found unexpected time that day to set up the new bookkeeping system I’ve spent weeks getting my computers rebuilt & configured toward. Such long standing process was too important to postpone. Stephen was content, of course, to use the time to further prepare for his meeting.
To cook at home was my choice, instead of his invitation to bring home the ahi & salad we’ve long loved from Express Cuisine, which was closing that week after years of being our reliable Island favorite. But even a last supper was not so anticipated as my preference for our own timing & easy capabilities to feed ourselves best.
I had ahi again after we’d stopped on our way home Sunday afternoon to stroll through the Bellevue Arts & Craft Show. I’ve been told by so many for years that I ought to show the bells at this venue, but I’d not yet ever seen it.
We ran into several Island artists who were exhibiting, our friend Ti who makes wind sox Sound Winds… & my college friend Jeannie Boag, with her partner Charles, about whom we had just been speaking in the car. They live on that east side of the city’s Lake Wasington, but what kismet was working to put us into such unpredictable proximity? We hadn’t seen them for exactly a year. I now can concur & I will begin planning to include that show in next year’s schedule.
Curiously we found ourselves at the grill in Nordstrom’s at the mall where the craft show is held in the parking ramp. The baby greens really were & the tuna was surprisingly good too, although we wondered together at Stephen’s question, “What planet are we on?!?” as we watched & eavesdropped ’round the venue filled with frenzied shoppers who seemed to do all the time what we do so rarely… America’s “Malling” pastime.
I had ahi for the fourth time next day. At home, when he brought fillets of both it & salmon for a sampler dinner… he had not had it so often as I. Only now, a week later am I beginning to find appetite for it again… ‘wonder what’s for dinner tonight?!?
This would seem thus to denoue into a fish story! As well it might be, for all the time spent intertwining the several lame lures of journal entries I’d begun during my natal season. I’ve not had the truly optimal qualities of unstructured time for my laborious writing process. I’m pleased to have begun to learn how to add hyper links. Gradually I add to my skills, but I rarely can sit long enough everyday to write a full blog entry… As it is I will not attempt telling the story of two days we spent in Bellingham mid-week, visiting friends & hiking in the mountains.
I’ve had heat on both coasts this summer. I’ve had it in the mountains & on their other side. I am not deprived. Still, I watch the days growing shorter, seemingly too soon. I’m greedy. I always want more of this middle summer…
Part of aging seems knowing the weight of more memories than space remaining for their future. To practice discernment while throwing open the windows to all one might otherwise miss for consideration. Equally refining one’s present & past toward some recipe for what is next.
Thus I find coolness in these reflections on my love of heat. My lion basks in a fulsome anticipation… sweating & chilling by turn. As I await this summer’s insight… I must admit to being patiently impatient, savor tanning on all my sides… dissolving toward new resolve.