Valentine Post, Number 2011

I sound just like Florence + The Machine singing Cosmic Love [until I step out of the shower].

I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is confidence.  I realize this more than ever now with an elementary-aged girl.  Fine, clear stereo sound can be found in all rooms of our house, with the exception of the room with a fine collection of vinyl and a turntable.  I love music, and as it turns out I’m learning to love myself [and my girls] making it.

Dancing and/or singing to our own music can also be found in all rooms of our house.  I find the more I belt out a tune, the better I feel about it.  I guess there really is something to giving it your all.  Karaoke isn’t for me.  When our addition is done and we have our yippy! completion! party with a band and a keg and an island-full on our property, maybe I’ll show the girls it’s never too late to do something you’ve always wanted to.  I want to sing a song in a band.   Good thing I know a great, local band.

Betty’s been playing piano now for five months.  By playing with her and leaving the keys to the piano uncovered, she navigates to her perch most days for an hour.  Amazing, since I remember turning a lip and a small ounce of effort into practice for my childhood flute and piano lessons.  She wonders why I don’t play my guitar for an hour a day alongside her.  The best I can do is to leave my apple red sweet sixteen’s acoustic/electric guitar in the living room for the intermittent ten minute periods I find myself with idle fingers.  And while I won’t be at the ferry landing this summer with an overturned top hat, daughters’ college fund scrolled on the back of a PBR case and my guitar slung over a shoulder, I’m having a good time.  I still know every Neil Young tune.  I’m trying to branch out.

:::

Olive drew me a Valentine in chalk, turned around and took her first step.  After a sideways smile, she looked my way as if to say, Yeah.  I can do it.  I just like to crawl like our pets.  Now, she does a crazy Tarzan crawl with her legs straight, butt high in the air.

Photobucket

:::

Lucy has come so far with art.  One year ago, my nearly- two-year-old Lucy searched for an Even Keel and struggled with art in her mind’s eye, beside her sister’s creations and within motor skills’ developmental limitations.  One year later, nearly four, she’s patient, thoughtful and creative.  I can’t leave out literal, since she understood “finger paint” to mean,

 I need to paint my fingers, Mama, and then paint with my fingers, Mama.

Photobucket

She chose to work on a painting for her only living Great Grandparent, GGMa of California’s wine country.

Photobucket

Does GGMa finger paint, too?  She would totally love it.  I bet she’s totally good.   Yes.  She’s been doing it a really, really, really long time, Mama, because she’s a lot older than me, you know.

Watching her at our easel, I ate up her focus.  Her patient pauses, steps back to ponder, silly dances while she planned out paper’s next spot all had me inhaling her.  As she washed her hands, she told knock, knock jokes, counted past twenty [thanks, Betty, for teaching her that] and said with a sigh,

Photobucket

Art is really fun, you know.  It’s totally a lot of work but it’s really, totally important work.

Totally.  I wanted to squeeze her up, or better yet, make a digital copy of this girl to take out periodically in the years to come.  Stuff her in my pocket.  She’s on the verge of so much right now.  Age 3, 10 months, with Lucy is the best.

Photobucket

:::

Valentine’s morning eve and I, of course, had left 47 valentine’s until the last moment.  Hours later, holes punched, lollipops in, stickers stuck and names carefully, slowly put in place.  I had seen the idea with Christmas attire, candy canes in hands sometime in December.  I really like how they turned out.

Photobucket

:::
On Sunday afternoon, Luke slid salty through our door after a five hour sail.  The girls’ afternoon nap hadn’t really done the trick.  Neither had mine.

I felt like crawling under the covers and watching some made-for-television movie.  Saturday night’s late disco ball birthday bash and the singular glass of wine I had, somehow, left me feeling like I can’t handle alcohol anymore all the while feeling mildly worthless.

So we drove to the island’s west side and hiked all 650 feet of Young Hill.  Islanders call it Mt. Young, but, really?!?  I’ve lived beside Montana’s Beartooths and beside New Hampshire’s Mt Washington.

Turns out, 650 feet feels high as you look down to sea level.

Turns out, our hike was the calm before the storm.

Photobucket

Late afternoon second growth forest, moss-covered.

Photobucket

Late afternoon horizon with Vancouver Island, British Columbia, sun-kissed.

Photobucket

Late afternoon with my four loves on Valentine’s Eve, picnic-driven.

:::

Photobucket

When I listened closely to the howl at our doorstep I could hear one of my favorite sounds:  the clanking tick-tock-tock-tocks of metal rigging on metal masts.  The wind against my breath had me thinking of a Hurricane Flag and/or a Gale Pennant flown at the eastern marinas of my childhood.

The visible chop within our protected marina had us wondering which island beaches had the best waves.  On this day I was thankful for half-day Kindergarten, half-day Preschool.  At school pick-up, Betty, Lucy and I placed our bets on beaches with the biggest waves and we set out on an island-wide drive.

It’s so hard to recognize summer’s low tide beach where August’s rocky points shine alongside tide pools, beach buckets and bare feet that are, now, child-high waves crashing high on shore.

Photobucket

Eagle Cove’s gusts took my breath away.  

I looked southeast to Whidbey – our old island home.  I thought of our prior prairie Victorian home with Strait of Juan de Fuca’s gusts sending wheelbarrows and hundred-year-old fruit trees tumbling by my cold, power’s out window.  I thought of Luke always working Whidbey outages.  One year, one thousand hours of overtime.  I thought, across the swell,

I am so happy to be here.  Here.

Photobucket

The beach grass on the banks above South Beach shook electric.  If I hadn’t been so afraid of blowing over, I would have stayed to watch how the wind swayed patterns like free falling confetti on the grass.  So subtle in shadows.  So, so lovely.

Photobucket

High tide as beach’s description is only an understatement.  All bets for biggest waves were had at South Beach.

The girls pleaded to stay in the minivan.  Parked, they sat seemingly below sea level.  Betty near tears when I came back to the driver’s seat,

I don’t want to be a mermaid.  Not today.  Please, let’s get out of here.

If someone else could have taken my kids home, put them down for nap and delivered a hot coffee to me, I could have sat for hours bundled and watched the waves roll in.

Photobucket

I love vintage typewriters.  The formation of the waves along South Beach and the roll and the break at driftwood pile’s peak had me thinking of typewriter’s constant click, click click click and the chime of a freshly typed line of letter, prose, poetry.

Photobucket

When the sea’s mist jumped high above the horizon, all I could think of was ocean’s applause.

Ocean’s applause seems like the perfect definition.

Photobucket

Salt spray at my feet, in my hair and on my lens.

A few second’s pause, and then again.  Again.  Again.

Photobucket

Should I ever find myself living inland again, I shall miss this the most:

Photobucket

I know we always wish one another calm seas, but it’s in these rough ones where the adventure truly is.

8 Comments

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*