Monday, December 22, 2008

If your Christmas tree lights are on a timer and nobody's there to see them, are they really lit?

Christmas is a stone's throw away, temporally speaking, and we're holed up in Manzanita still, feeling pretty lucky but at the same time, off our pablum in that way that you get when you suddenly find yourself gutted of your routine.

I actually had plenty of time to work and write today, but it came in fits and starts. Most of the day I was being serenaded by my energetic nine-year-old and his friend: toy gun wars, inane sit-coms and action movies, the occasional squabble.

Then there's the food: breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, snack, snack, dinner, snack. Clean-up around each. The origami attempt (who knew making an iris would be so hard?) The attempt to play Cranium with the youngsters: how could they not know how to make the anagram "Iron Curtain" out of "torn CIA ruin"? C'mon, don't they teach them anything in the 4th grade? (Cranium was the final straw for the husband, whose patience finally ran dry and he disappeared up into the ether of naps and Ann Rice books).

They've closed various highways between here and home. It's wet and cold here, at the coast, but icy, frigid and snow-slammed back in Portland. Our Christmas tree's timed lights are going on and off without us. Our neighbors are graciously filling our cat's food bowl. There's the weird feeling of unearned vacation. The scourge of the self-employed. And my novel not quite halfway done.

Kirk and I ventured into the night, which was actually somewhat starry and Wisemanish. We walked towards the beach, without the aid of the flashlights, which we stupidly left back at the house. Nobody else was out, of course. We stumbled about on the dark sand, narrowly missing the pools of ocean water. The slippery strands of kelp. But I loved the feeling of him right next to me while the enormity of the ocean roared and spit its waves our way. Nature's own timer: tide. Not bound by our work lives, or our prosaic response to the solstice, or the need to have every food group represented in order to call it a meal.

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