Posts Tagged ‘living’

Water Choice

17 February 2011

Dear J-

Going north we pass through the restored wetlands at Del Mar — you climb up a big hill once you’re past Carmel Valley and when you’re back down to sea level you’re at Del Mar before climbing back up to Solana Beach and points beyond. Usually after it rains in the mornings there’s a low fog bank hovering over the wetlands, clnging to the earth like a favorite blanket clutched tight at night. Earth, sea, and sky all merge into a unifed whole and remind us that the promise of spring, daffodils and irises, blustery March and thawing snowcaps is just around the corner. It is the last stretch of undeveloped land until you get up into the Marine base at Camp Pendleton.

Of course when it’s raining hard enough — or mistily enough, as yesterday — you get the disconcerting feeling that someone’s trying to drown us with the air become water and the betraying earth refusing to drain it away (some of the puddles and potholes that form after late winter rains around here, with the ground already saturated, are subject to their own tides, it seems). I remember that first winter spent going back from Boston to Davis where it seemed every time I touched down in Sacramento it kept pouring down, forming my first impressions as a city ruled by rain. Those who’ve moved here recently might say the same even with clouds and mist giving way to sun today.

We grew up away from water, J-, and I wonder if that hasn’t influenced where we ended up. In Davis during rice season they’d flood the Yolo Causeway. I would drive to work thinking I was somewhere amongst the Florida Keys, I-80 a narrow ribbon bisecting water as far as they eye could see. Crossing the campus at Berkeley I’d make it a point to linger on the bridges across Strawberry Creek. Boston and Cambridge are divided by the Charles, and everything I did, photographically, that first year had to do with water water everywhere. We make funny choices unconciously guided by fate or fortune, but isn’t it all always right?

Mike

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Past Perfect

14 September 2010

Dear J-

Last night after class we drove home in the dark: it’s a preview of life to come during the fall, time changes and longer hours are probably going to mean that we leave and reach San Diego without glimpsing daylight during the week. If I was a philosophical man, I’d say that you can’t expect it to be unusual for power plant workers: the nature of the service demands the jobs to run 24-7 and, when you’re not running, 24-7 to get back to running. And from what I’ve heard, where I am now is one of the better jobs for being able to maintain a fairly regular schedule, but they also say that you don’t quit jobs, you quit bosses.

I’ve been struggling to get any kind of quality time stitched together for life after work, whether it’s for getting figgy off to bed (this has turned into an hourlong team effort/ordeal, first to cajole her into getting her teeth brushed*, then to read stories**, and finally singing songs***), reading my own library books (I am always overambitious at the library for fear of running out of materials to read; three weeks is shorter than you think), or studying. Of course on top of that the storage/guest room beckons with project promises: hey, how about getting some hard flooring in here, some color on the walls, maybe a Solatube to keep the gloom out?

I realize that my life is so full right now that work is almost a distraction from the real business of living, and that’s a wonderful place to be. A hundred times I might have to do it differently, but I’d want to be here now; between Kung Fu Panda and the Stargirl novels I’ve had enough digestible philosophy. This resonates, though: the past is history, the future, a mystery, so all you can do is live in the now: the present is a gift that keeps unwrapping.

Mike

* She does some teeth herself, which is semi-helpful, but needs help with others in the back. And let’s not get started on talking about flossing, which generally sets off a chase through the house.

** Here’s where the library has come in handy, augmenting our meager supply; current favorite is Shrek! by William Stieg, but I also like the Pigeon books by Mo Willems, as there is a lot of Pigeon in most kids.

*** theVet handles this part, as my singing is soothing to no one, and besides which I can’t imagine that Nirvana and The Jam would be considered suitable bedtime material.