Tom’s been working on building the kids a tree-related structure (we don’t have any trees that would support an actual tree house). Amelia has been his helper. Witness the half-done result: the tree deck!
This morning we decided to bike over to Powell Butte and hike around. Powell Butte is about 7.5 miles from our house, along the Springwater Corridor, which google maps said would take us about 50m. I’m not sure exactly how long we took, but we stopped semi-often along the bike path, and had a nice time in the late spring sunshine. There’s a lot of bike theft along that stretch of the Springwater Corridor, so when we got to Powell Butte we decided against leaving the bikes, even locked up. I hiked a short spate either the kids, then doubled back and sent Tom in to hike a little with Amelia as Baxter and I snacked and rested. 4-year-olds have very different endurance levels compared to 7-year-olds, even when they’ve ridden the whole way in a bike trailer!
While we were hanging out, 5 riders on horseback came through and started riding on the trails! After our party was reunited once again, we rode back down the corridor, stopped for lunch at Cartopia, the food cart pod on 82nd (yakisoba noodles for the kids and banh mi for the adults) and then rode home. We were feeling our legs by the time we finished that last mile, and I’m pretty sure we’ll both be sore in the morning, but we had a really good time.
We had a fun Sunday morning hike at Hoyt Arboretum! We stopped for breakfast at Kormblatt’s Deli on NW 23rd (YUM), and then drove up to Washington Park to the arboretum. It was overcast, but the sun peeked through a few times. We more or less did a one-mile loop, and the kids only declared that they were tired and likely to die a few times. Maybe with increased exposure to hiking — by the end of summer maybe? — we can almost-die at the 2 mile mark. 😉 It was a beautiful hike fearuring lots of interesting trees, including various larches, which are deciduous conifers. Neat, huh?
Awake at 4am on Sunday: my brain’s cruel joke.
Unfinished work and arguments
rev my body, overheat my thoughts.
Sleep retreats, crowded out by
the non-stop, frantic, tense what-ifs.
Too much red wine last night. I have to pee
and drink some water. Maybe if
I take something for the headache.
Who are we kidding, brain? The sky is light
and I don’t yet know where we’re breakfasting
this morning. Please don’t let this blow my day.
Worry is a misuse of imagination,
and my imagination is mighty,
like Samson at the temple of Dagon.
Maybe a nap at noon.
You did a thing I didn’t like.
I ask you why and tell you how
I’m angry, sad. You nod. Your face
gets pink. Tears well, and roll, and drop.
You ask to change the subject but I keep
talking about it, hoping that
if I repeat myself enough,
next time you’ll make a different choice.
You’re miserable and hot with shame.
I want to stop but, equally,
I want you to think twice — thrice! —
next time, and this is all I know
to do. The shame and tears ring loud
and I don’t know if I’m doing
the right thing here. When do I know —
like, really know — I’m parenting
with wisdom, skill, and grace? Your joy
is not my always-goal. I want
to raise you right. At the same time,
I’m sad when you are sad. I want
to make it better, wipe your tears,
and buy us all an ice cream cone.
The Talk is over. When I ask
if you want a hug, you decline.
In separate corners now, we go
about our days, corrected and
correct. Ten minutes later we
are back to normal: laughing, light.
When I leave the school after hugging you good-bye,
I hop down the steps, one-two-three-four-five,
and my leg muscles enjoy the bounce and catch.
I start my long walk up to the car.
When we walked down the hill together, Amelia ran
ahead, and Baxter was anguished, and I yelled,
“slow down!” so we could all walk together.
Now, I walk in long strides, at a pace you could not match.
Someday Amelia will leave us all behind, dancing
into the wide world to share her gleaming mind
and sharp sight. Someday Baxter will gambol out.
Someday this solitary walk will be my every day.
My stomach is too full of oatmeal, and my breath
comes in puffs as I climb. I walk quickly; is it
because I want the exercise? Is it because I’m in a rush
to get to work, or just because by now I always rush?
Slowing down is harder work than speeding up, these days.
I will work today, talking to people about things
I did not prepare myself to talk about, in my youth.
People will think I know what I am doing. You probably think
I know what I am doing. I’m not sure I know what I am doing.
I react so much, rather than planning out
and executing plans. My life spins from reaction to reaction,
and someday it will be gone and maybe it’s ok that I won’t
have achieved a great goal.
They say life doesn’t have to have a meaning.
I’m not sure I know what I am doing,
and I am sore afraid.
But I drive past the pretty yellow houses and the spring
flowers and sit in my pretty house, and I am lucky. I have time
to write you this poem, and I will fold you in my arms tonight,
a benediction of sweet flesh and tender words.
You are not the meaning of my life, but you are a sweetness
in it — the strawberries in my oatmeal, the fruit on my vine.
Check out the work of our little designer! Amelia made her first shirt this morning, before 6:30am, using just a small length of fabric, a pair of scissors and some yarn. “I made it short sleeved because today’s going to be a warm day.”
She made armholes by holding the fabric up to her body and estimating where she should cut — which is really hard to get right! The fit on her is pretty amazingly great, considering. Do I need to get this girl into some kind of sewing or fashion design class?