|My sister Ann, with Sigmund and Scarlet.|
It’s fun living next door to my sister, reminiscent of when we shared a bedroom as kids.
Back then ours was a kingdom of stuffed animals and Barbies. We read Nancy Drew and the Happy Hollisters into the night, cool summer air drifting in through the screens. We listened to Dr. Demento on flat speakers placed under our pillows. We wrote stories about girls solving mysteries and traveling the world. We captured polliwogs and watched them sprout legs in jars on our windowsill.
Now we are sharing her neighborhood of friends, dogs, and beaches. Being in Leucadia means living an indoor/outdoor life. People leave their doors and windows open. They gather at dusk for wine in each other's backyards. Last night, Dave made chicken and ribs. Kit and Mark walked over bearing salad. Ann and Bruce came over with pie and wine.
Such gatherings are an integral part of life here. Almost thirty years ago, Ann moved to Southern California. The rest of our family stayed in Nor Cal. I'm realizing that her daily life has been richly filled with a family of her own making, these wonderful neighbors.
When Dave and I are in the house, I like hearing my sister's laugh through the window, or my brother-in-law calling the dog. Sometimes I see my nephew walking up the hill, surfboard under his arm.
|With Tony and Shannon, on our way to 1968.|
It just so happens Dave's longtime friends--Tony and Shannon--live just a few miles away. I think about myself, say, seven years ago, visiting my sister. It's likely the Dave I'd yet to meet was hanging out just down the road.
I like thinking about that: Dave and me in the past, living our separate lives, destined to meet. It makes time feel parallel or overlapping, rather than linear. (I once wrote a poem about this notion.)
As Einstein famously said, "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
Sometimes the fabric of time seems to wrinkle, past and future overlapping like a bunched-up sheet. Being with family can intensify that. In my 53-year-old sister, sometimes I simultaneously see her at age 12 or 32.
I also felt like a time traveler when we went with Tony and Shannon to see Wild Child. This Doors tribute group is so spot-on, you feel like you're in 1968 but for the iPhones lighting up the dance floor.
That was my first live music event since my surgery. It felt amazing to dance! I've also been enjoying drinking (a little) wine, taking long beach walks, and socializing a lot.
After all this activity, why am I surprised when suddenly I'm tired and have to nap? Or when I need a down day. I can hear part of me saying, "What's wrong with me?" And another part saying, "Give yourself a break! You had brain surgery not even two months ago."
I felt bad yesterday when I pooped out, leaving Dave to do all the preparing for our dinner with friends. But he didn't complain, just dove right in and did a beautiful job. Dinner was great. Hours of conversation over wine, the windows and doors open to the cool sea night.
Then this morning my body said, "You need a whole day off today. No wine, no chatting, not too much movement. Just nestle in, lovingly." I remind myself that listening to my body is a good thing.
And here's where I once again count my blessings. I have the freedom to do just that, reading and napping and sipping mint tea. I have a loving, generous man in my life--who knows how to cook! The house is filled with the savory scent of his chicken soup. This elixir is meant to comfort and cure.
Dave is using onion, leeks, and chard that came from Ryan's huge organic garden. Ryan is another facet of this rich neighborhood tightly linked to my sister. What a privilege to share her world, if for just a few weeks.
|Chef and healer|