April 23/Third Quarter Moon
Updates on my Travels
I am at my Dad’s house in Gig Harbor, Washington. Writing under the overhang on the back patio. The ground in front of me is wet with rain, and it is no longer raining. What is this wonderful smell? The trees, the moisture, like forest, but a bit floral. Minnesota does not smell like this. And the birds are singing. But they sing in Minnesota too. Thursday quarter moon came and went early this morning and we are now in the phase of the waning crescent. The air is chilly and brisk and it is what I need right now.
I made my alternate plans and am here with my Dad as he struggles to breathe and Linda, his life partner, struggles to find ways to make him more comfortable. Becka is here too.
Words are powerful things and finding words for what is going on is challenging especially as words are so integral to creation of meaning. Instead of heading east to the fatherland with my father, I have gone west to where my father’s path will end.
The trajectory of the Corps of Discovery ended here too. These lands of plenty that supported so many tribes and animals. The Corps of Discovey did not encounter any white man here although the First People they encountered said they were bound to run into some. These tribes had known white man well before those in the middle of the continent because the ocean brought the intrepid. As far as I could surmise from my listening to the stories that the Corps of Discovery tell of themselves, the tribes were having none of these white men without taking some for themselves. Meriwether Lewis returned east from the long expedition abject and eventually committed suicide. That part of Lewis and Clark is rarely told.
But I digress. Becka and I have traveled by airplane to visit my father ever since he followed his mom, Grandma Bernice, and brother, Uncle Chuck, out here in 1979. Mom would hustle us off on one end and Dad would scoop us up on the other. We’d leave the land of patchwork farmland and manicured lawns and travel to the land of tangled hedgerows where the mountains meet the sea. Everything was orderly in Minnesota and Washington was rich with reunion.
This visit has the richness of reunion and the melancholy of goodbye. We don’t know if this is the last time we will be together but it seems likely. Certainly it is the last time we will be together in this way. Because Dad’s breathing is labored and moving about the house is nearly impossible. Is this an existence to continue?
When I have looked at my Dad’s family, his mother and brothers, where he has come from and the creeping vine the path of his life has taken, I see nature. The way a boy is born close to the ground in a little shack outside a little town in the breadbasket of America. Shaped by the way his particular learning style collides with the prescribed systemic cultural indoctrination. Privileged with the guidance that allowed him to take advantage of the American opportunities. Going into the Navy, where he doesn’t even know it but he participates in the Vietnam War, returning to study at Mankato State on the GI Bill. He studies computer science, working in a room filled wall to wall with a massive computer and ticker tape readouts. He introduces me to my first computer game at 9 on the kitchen table in the house he shares with his brother. A big gray box with a tiny screen and the green paragraphs describe that the scene in front of you. Make a choice. It is s writer’s computer game. But I digress.
He took me camping. He took me on road trips. He took me to National Parks and Kalaloch and made me feel like I could figure out how to do anything by myself. How to hike and travel a long distance on my own and make my food from scratch and anything else. How to stay out in the woods. That I don’t need much but a mat to sleep on and shelter over my head. From him I learned of geodesic domes and Buckminster Fuller. That with enough ingenuity you could lift your own house from the foundation to provide headroom for your shipbuilder’s workshop and how to make a joke from a weird word like gibbous.
When the new moon comes round again in a week, I will be in a new place far from here. I will be with my son who reminds me so much of my father with his mathematical and artistic interests, his quiet strength, and his way of seeing the world through many directions.
Thanks to so many of you who reached out to me after the last post, I have appreciated each and every message and it has been such a journey to get to this place and time, so sorry if I haven’t got back to you. It means a lot to have your care and concern. More soon.
Much love, Tina