This week just slipped past me. Tiny fragments of time floating away. Joe was out of town for work, and days without him home always seems to move forward at a more frantic pace. Nothing is ever extraordinarily different, we follow our routine, but something about not having him around changes things. The urgency of each moment perhaps, or just the knowledge that at the end of the day I don’t get to just turn off for a bit. Aside from missing him, our days were lovely, filled with a sprinkling of visitors and the consistent help of my mother in law visiting from Connecticut. Eloise’s lesson at the pool, a daily adventure in the park, nap, play, dinner, bedtime, repeat. It was nice to feel the comfort of our routine, doing my best to remember to let go of the little pressures that come up, but by yesterday I felt ready for a little escape.
The world seems to be going a little crazy, politics feel extremely sensitive to me, and our house though mostly together still feels a bit scattered and untied around the edges. It is always liberating to step into nature and understand the perspective of time. The path of the river formed over lifetimes, unaware of heartache or genocide. The cliffs plunging to the valley floor carved by a glacier over centuries. When I stand in the wild looking around me at the stunning views or intricacies of a flower, I somehow feel less alone and left with more faith in the resilience of the world. This does not negate my desire to engage as an active participant in creating positive change, it just gives me comfort where I have anxiety.
It was this feeling of comfort that greeted me as we stepped out onto the windy plateau at the Rowena viewpoint at Tom McCall preserve. My dear friend holding Eloise’s hand as the gusts sailed over the grass and blew our hair wild. The view was stunning, an endless sea of golden, dried wildflowers bending in waves against the blue sky. We wandered the trails and climbed rocks, made flower crowns and had a brief encounter with a rattle snake. I thought about just continuing on forever. It felt so dreamy to imagine never having to leave this adventure, just continuing on to the next breathtaking place.
When I am out in the wild, watching my children play in the dirt, accompanied by people I love, or alone, that is when I feel the most connected to myself, and in that most connected to my grief and my love. I feel so full. I feel restored to my humanity, even if it is just to feel the sorrow of having loved so fiercely and lost so deeply. I am reminded that all of this is part of the journey. That the earth I walk on is a million fragments of lives lived. Butterfly wings turned to dust, flower petals, seeds, or perhaps the wind blown ashes of my brother’s bones.
Then of course the little fingers pulling at the grass, the laughter and tottering feet remind me of the continuing journey. Mt.Hood looming in the distance, Mt. st Helens just barely visible behind the stark cliffs, and the Columbia, a giant blue arm stretching toward the sea, brilliant against the summer tinted hills. I think we shall return to this magical place again.