The last two weeks the heat has been pressing. Poor little sweat covered babies, flushed and uncomfortable. We have been surviving the heat as embodiments of our vintage selves, no AC, just ice cubes and a blow up boat on the front porch filled with water. It is hard to even begin to believe that it has been almost four months since our move here. What crazy chaos; newness, death, grieving and community building all at once. While we have been craving the comfort of home, but after day four over 100 degrees the adventure light was suddenly reignited.
Water. Anywhere we could be free to roam, outside, near a body of water. We packed up the babes and dogs and with adventurous excitement followed my sister and her boyfriend into the Oregon wild.
Until now we have only done car camping with the kids. The idea of packing into a camp, although alluring, has seemed a little far off. This lake however was the perfect balance. After an hour down the tree-and-farm-studded highway onto an unmarked road and through some bumpy pot hole fun, we made it to the trail head. The lake and camp sites are a half mile trek up a small hill. We loaded ourselves up like pack mules and Eloise led the way chatting the whole time to a little girl she met at the trail base and insisted we wait for.
The first view of the lake was reward enough. The pristine alpine beauty sits at the base of a beautiful rock wall made up of volcanic cliffs and stunning angular boulders. I immediately felt so free and unencumbered. Being a stay at home mom is certainly the most challenging job I have ever done; it has the highest stakes and greatest reward. It has been doubly hard to try and be the center for these beautiful humans as I try to navigate building a new existence for all of us in the middle of this crazy grieving process. However, something about being in nature, feeling the wind, taking time to listen to the leaves dancing, is healing.
We climbed big flat stones and swam in the sun warmed water. It felt so rejuvenating to be somewhere bigger then the self, cool, connected, together. We built a fire, ate fresh salmon cakes, and watched the daylight fade.
How many times as children we explored the Oregon coast and ran wild eyed down sand dunes. Thinking back to childhood, and summer days so hot, sleep and cold creeks were the only escape. How we picked berries barefoot and let the sweet juice cover our chins and faces soon dirt coated and sticky. How nostalgic certain times of the year are. The times that memories are flushed to the surface. For me that is one of my favorite parts of motherhood, a reliving of the childhood magic. I watch these two babes evolving into their own distinct voices and I think about what they will remember, and how each of their personalities will shape the memories they choose to form themselves from. I hope it is this. These days at lakes feeling the muddy bottom between toes. Naming the fallen log monster and picking wild blue berries.
As we packed out to the orchestra of birds and children’s laughter, I couldn’t help but think of my sweet brother and how much I wish he was with us trundling down the dirt path. I could just see him as a boy wild and free, and as a man smiling and full of peace. How ephemeral the passage of time after death, to imagine him in all of his forms. When we came to the parking lot we were greeted by hundreds of dancing butterflies, and for a moment I felt like he was with us, and my daughter felt the magic of seeing life at its most full. How much I love that for each of us a moment holds something truly unique.
I’ll embrace my nostalgia. I think tomorrow we will have to explore and find a wild mess of blackberry vines and pick until our fingers are stained.