|I like the shadow as much as the toes|
How technology has changed my world! When I realize that only a short time ago, I didn't walk around with a computer in my pocket, I couldn't ever imagine that something like Facebook would become so important to me. Through it, I keep track of goings-on with family and friends, and people I haven't seen in years still feel present in my life.
I had been keeping track of my niece Trish, my brother Buz's daughter, through Facebook, and I knew that she had recently separated from her husband and was at loose ends. I read her posts with interest as she made arrangements to fix up a van and travel across the country to Seattle. She is providing moral support to a friend who lives there; the friend's mother is very ill with cancer and not expected to live much longer. I got to be with my own mother when she grew sick, but this young mother is only 47, and while it's never easy to lose a loved one, it's especially awful when it happens at such a young age. At least I was an adult when Mama died. I know how much harder it was for my twenty-years-younger sister Fia to deal with it. And Mama lived a very full life, even if she only made it to 69.
Anyway, Trish was born and raised in Texas and moved to the East Coast with her husband and attended college. She has become a very talented artist and creates wonderful portraits of family pets. I've also watched her progress through Facebook as she put pictures up to share, and I was amazed, simply amazed, at the likenesses she is able to create. It's hard to understand just what it is in any portrait that makes the expression and features so unique, and the ability to capture and preserve such a moment is worth a great deal. And now I've gotten a chance to know her much better.
Trish's mother stayed with me in Boulder while she was pregnant with her, and I remember getting to know my brother's wife a little. They didn't stay married for long, and when Trish was born her mother had already moved back to Texas. Most of my family members are in that state, which is not a place I particularly like. It gets too hot in the summer, and there are no real mountains anywhere. Not to mention that Texas politics are not very easy for me to deal with. I've chosen to live in progressive communities and find Bellingham to be very much to my liking. Texas is a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. So when Trish decided last week to come and visit me in Bellingham, I looked forward very much to showing her what I like about my chosen home.
Over the years, I never had a chance to spend much time with her, one on one. When she was growing up, Buz only got to be with her on weekends, and it didn't happen often that I would be around when Trish was. But gradually I watched her grow up and become a very unique person. The last time, before this weekend, that I spent any time with her, she was in Texas for Thanksgiving. We were both staying with Buz and Phyllis (Buz's wonderful life partner), and I met Matt, Trish's husband, for the first time. What I remember most is being a little intimidated by the extensive tattoos both Matt and Trish sported. Trish only had a few back then, but Matt was decorated from neck to toe. It's such a different approach to one's body than I have, and it took some getting used to.
Now Trish has many very large tattoos, and before long I had forgotten about them. I didn't realize, until I would notice how people look at her, that they must give one a completely different relationship with strangers. I remembered how intimidated I was when I saw Matt's years ago, but if your loved one has tattoos, before very long you just don't see them any more. It was a bit like she was wearing a unique shirt, and I'd sit and admire it now and then, since the art is quite distinctive. She told me the meaning behind them and I realized that, just like always, the younger generation finds a way to be particularly unique and different from previous generations. These days tattoos and body piercings are everywhere. The world has come a long ways from the pierced earlobes that I thought were racy when I got mine done.
As we spent two full days together, I would sometimes get a flashback to those long-ago days when I was around Trish's mother. They have the same laugh, and I would be transported back more than three decades, thinking of Boulder in the sunshine, riding bikes and trying to get the pregnant mother to eat better and smoke less. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, smoking was everywhere, and I realize now how much I've grown accustomed to not being exposed to cigarette smoke. I realized with a jolt that her mother was actually smoking inside my house during those days! It was a different time, indeed.
We've gone through a couple of weeks of warmer-than-normal weather here in Bellingham, and for a few nights I even had some difficulty getting cool enough to sleep well. Those sandals in the picture are only worn around here for a few weeks during July and August, and then it's back to my more normal tennis shoes. Makes them last a long time when you don't use them much. I know some people are very accustomed to sandals, but for me it's like being in an alternate universe, having a chance to walk around with no socks like that. Feels good, though, I have to say.
Yesterday was our first day in weeks with a little rain, and of course it would happen on a Saturday, when I took Trish to the Farmers' Market. We didn't mind, though, walking around in a light rain, which has become much more familiar to me than days of unremitting sunshine. While my garden loves it, I was glad to have a respite from having to water. It looks like today will be much less rainy, and I'm hoping it won't interfere with my travel down to Snohomish. I've got a dear friend here in Bellingham who wants to celebrate her 65th birthday with a tandem skydive, and I've agreed to go with her and jump out at the same time. I did the same thing with Jonelle last year, which you can read about here, if you're interested. I'll climb outside the airplane and watch as she and her tandem instructor leave so that I can let go when they exit, and if all goes well, I'll land before her and get a picture of their landing.
It's been a very good week since we last visited, and everything is as usual here this morning. My tea is gone, my partner is still sleeping, and the birds, especially the crows, are making their usual racket. Since I've started feeding cats and now crows, I think they might be waiting for me to put out their breakfast. Cheeky birds, those crows. I like them, and they recognize me, I know they do. Take care of yourself between now and next Sunday, and enjoy your own little spot on our beautiful blue planet, until we meet again.