Today it’s like gritting my teeth to take a day off; but we do, because I’d promised the kids a return to Lake Sylvia. This is a beautiful but not oft-visited location for us. We’d stopped there on Wednesday on our way home from Olympia; the city was too hot, and the lake a perfect respite. As we were making way to get going I saw my doula, her husband, and their child pull into the parking lot, on the last leg of a roadtrip. Small world, I suppose; they live hours away. Yet the sight of her was familiar and welcome to me and we caught up for a few minutes before parting ways. Nels was in the backseat, tossing his hair out of his eyes and viewing this woman with quiet speculation – she’d been at his birth! – his long brown torso and his bright white underwear (the “swim gear” my children had employed; keeping them out of water is never an option) completing the picture. Beautiful and fierce, the same child he was the day he was born.
So here we are again, at this lake, having this time packed a sizable lunch (grapes and dolmas with chard – delicious! Also, tomato sandwiches from the tomato abundance that is our greenhouse) and coffee for Ralph and I. The kids play, and play, and play. And play. I almost convince Ralph to leave them to their swimming and come on a short hike. Instead he and I play some frisbee in the water (I do rather impressive catches and the occasional comically poor throw) then go for a short walk across the bridge. Talk to some tweens fishing off the dock (“Caught anything?” In unison: “No.” “What are you using?” “Worms,” and so on. The boys friendly, but muted). Sophie catches a salamander and enjoys a brief bit of celebrity status among the children. The kids perform coordinated stunt-dives off the old dock platform – the dock disappeared sometime in the last decade or so since I’d been out here.
Home from the trip and I’m already cooking and sewing like a madwoman. A grape and goat cheese tart and some homemade bagels to bring to a yoga retreat tomorrow. For our dinner: paneer fried in niter kibbeh, beet salad with ranch dressing, roasted garbanzo beans, and marinated kale. Ralph takes the kids out – again – to a park, and I retreat to my sewing studio to trace the many pieces of a fitted coat pattern for Sophie. The comforting space is now framed with long lengths of scarlet batiste and Bemberg rayon, awaiting cutting – the breeze ripples the lovely layers of fabric and a little kitten keeps me company.
Grandma has been watching the kids here or there; taking them out to her boyfriend’s place in the sticks, having them for the occasional sleepover: