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daily fieldnotes » friends
 
daily fieldnotes

Visiting good friends 1

No travel is quite as wonderful as visiting a dear old friend. Even when the reason for the trip is a stressful presentation (more on that in another post!). Sitting around the house, petting her cat, helping her study. Going out to breakfast, walking 10 minutes in the wet Seattle weather to a new place in their neighborhood. Talking about whatever comes to mind. Making up stories to help her remember obscure or generic psychological assessments for her upcoming exam.

In the evening we sit working and studying, and suddenly there’s a rainbow. We climb on the coffee table together to see better, watching its colors grow darker, then fade, then grow dark again. We both run to get our cameras, then go downstairs and outside, in bare feet on the wet grass, leaning to capture the full arc. “That’s our good luck” she said, thinking of her exam this week, and my presentation.

“Isn’t there supposed to be a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow?” I asked her. We met in kindergarten, and I remember the pictures we used to draw together, crayons pressing color into paper, imagining the treasures we would find under rainbows. “Maybe we should go down the street and see what’s there?” I teased, feeling the spark of wondrous possibility we had when we explored as kids.

Where did that idea come from anyway? Is there a fairy tale with rainbows and pots of gold in it?

Sweetness 1

Ginkgo and Maple Light 3

It rained hard last night, and this morning the sidewalks and buildings looked scrubbed clean, waiting, like the floors of a restaurant not yet open for the day. Outside our house the rain drove the Ginkgo leaves to the ground, fanning around the tree like a skirt whose elastic has snapped.¬†Fall comes late here, the leaves only beginning to fall with the post-Thanksgiving cold mornings and dark rainstorms, so it’s easy to forget it happens at all when other parts of the country are already talking about snow.

I am writing more, making phone calls, filling out papers, jotting down lists, finding hope in routine and action, inspiration in fiction (I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, which I can’t believe I’d never read given how much I loved The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer). It’s been a dark time, but the yellow wildness of these leaves on smooth city pavement, and satisfaction of moving at last, calms the worries.

As does my wonderful guy, with his humor and warmth and habit of not shaving until he can comb my hair with his chin.

And time with my dear friend, and her smiley little girl, playing in piles of yellow and red maple leaves, keeping the baby from eating (too much) mud, walking and talking about moving and our nomadic lives and how hard graduate school can be.

Did you know shaking a branch into a hail of yellow leaves could make a baby giggle endlessly? You should try it, there’s no feeling sad when your hair is full of leaves and an 8-month old is chuckling with glee in your arms.