Ross Lake 2014

image

I have a confession to make.

Hearing the blow-by-blow of anyone's vacation (including my own) bores me. "We went there, and then we did this. Then we had that for dinner, then we did this." I don't like what this says about my own curiosity, attention span, or social skills, but there you have it. 

So I won't do that to you, but I'll throw out a few (possible) profoundities. Sigh. You know me too well.

Mostly what I have to say is that every day with the people I love is precious. There might be moments of boredom or drama. There might be miscommunications or dashed expectations. I might come off looking like a jerk and then have the next 4 days, stuck on a dock together, to wish I was kinder and gentler and more zen. 

But at the end of my life, I won't wish I had worked more. I won't wish I had said "no" to snuggling with my dog, swimming with my children, or dropping everything to see a movie with a friend. I won't wish I had been right more often. *&%$! That's always my problem. To hell with being right. I'll wish I had been more present. For the last 5 days, I have been. And I'm high off it. Lots of love to my Kangas/Walker family.

image

IMG_4087

 Dave and Kelly Ross Lake 2014

Yancey Ross Lake 2014

My BG Ross Lake 2014

This is the Better Place

IMG_2950

Just home from our annual trip with Yancey's family to Ross Lake. It never gets old--Cascade Mountains in the moonlight, feet dangling off the dock, morning coffee and books, Wyatt practicing dives into the cold, clear water.

IMG_2986

I read Anna Quindlen's memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Emily read it first, then mailed it to me from her vacation in Michigan so I'd have it for mine. Is that true love or what? Reading Quindlen's reflections on aging, career, motherhood, and womanhood seemed especially poignant as I sat in the sun and watched my children. My life is now. What matters most are the sandwiches in ziploc bags, serving my clients between homework and laundry, teaching my children about money and kindness, reading the news and trying to love the world in all its brokenness and beauty.

Anna remembers her mother's early death, and the empty consolation of well-wishers:

"She's in a better place," [the friend said]. There is no better place. This is the best place, here, now, alive, a chipmunk scampering across the stones, a cloud scudding across the sky, the dogs barking at nothing on the road, the road running empty into an unseen distance and beyond, my husband busy at the office, my children busy in the world. The better place is along the Hudson River, where the loon bobs on the swell from the ferry and dives for unseen fish until it seems he must drown, then pops up glistening  twenty feet from where he went down. The better place is that spot on the highway when you can suddenly see New York City strung like a necklace of jagged diamonds, and that corner of the porch where the house wrens build their nest and disassemble it and build it again, and the table at Thanksgiving and tree at Christmas.

And I'm learning (again?!) that my task is to pay attention, both to the suffering and to the Cascade Mountains in the moonlight. And it's to pay attention to myself--my anxiety, my fears, the food I eat, the addictions that sometime seem easier than paying attention. When I take a breath in and then breathe out, I can remember that everything I need is right here. There is no better place.

IMG_3011

And if you find that the unlikely luck of a 5 year-old fishergirl turns up a beautiful rainbow trout, you can do the following:

Whole Roasted Trout with Cumin and Lime
Preheat over to 425. Take a scaled, cleaned and gutted fresh-caught trout. This one happened to be about 15" long and a little over an inch thick. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. Add a big handful of thinly sliced red onions, a finely chopped clove of garlic, and cook down about 5 minutes. Add a tsp. of ground cumin, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and a big squeeze of lime juice and simmer for another minute. Along with a handful of fresh herbs (parsely, basil, cilantro, oregano, chives), stuff the fish with most the onion mixture. Sprinkle more herbs and the remaining onion mixture over the fish, drizzle with a little olive oil, and lay some thinly sliced lime over the top. Put the skillet into the preheated oven and roast about 15 minutes per inch of thickness, or until fish is tender and opaque and the skin slips easily from the flesh. Stand around and eat with your fingers, like proud Loretta did.