I’m here to report that I’m well and truly on my way. It’s the longest day of the year, and it’s also Father’s Day. Our second solstice, our second Father’s Day, without Shel. I’m in my new home, however temporarily, in Walla Walla. I had solstice dinner guests tonight. This is progress. I’m halfway here, half way to a new life, and in that new life I still cook, still invite people over, even though my kitchen is lacking the most basic things. No sheet pan, no spatula, no Shel as a sous chef. Hey, I can make do!
I drove over earlier in the week with a huge carload of winter clothes. I’m actually prepared for life in the Arctic, and will probably never wear half of what I brought with me. It’s especially hard to contemplate right now, when I have the air conditioning running pretty much constantly. Peeling fava beans this afternoon, in preparation for my dinner guests, made me sweat, as in drops running down my nose. I kid you not.
In a couple of days I’ll be heading back to the island, to spend the rest of the hot, hot summer by the cool, cool water. But still, I’m loving this preview of my new life. It’s true that Laura and Haven were up from Eugene for a couple of days, giving me the false sense of life as it used to be. Old friends, easy together, no need to explain. But it’s also true that Joel, Chandler, and Leila were here tonight, giving me what I hope is a true sense of life as it could be here – convivial, intellectual, engaging.
A cool thing about Walla Walla is that everything you need is here. On the island, there are mostly tourist-related things, and if you need tires, big packs of toilet paper, or a tune-up, you are probably going to drive off-island. Here, there’s everything, right within reach. Okay, so far I haven’t found pimenton, but most things I require to begin my new life are right here. Especially Mexican groceries – this is far and away the best place I’ve lived for local Mexicana. Asian, not so much. But then, Asian and I, carb-avoider that I am, are no longer compatible, so I’m not complaining.
Shel would have loved my new house, and I wish he could have seen it. But it’s mine, all mine, and it doesn’t make me ache for him, like our island home does. He would be so proud to see how I’m going on with life, even in his absence, and I dedicate this longest day, this shortest night, this day to remember fathers, to him. I wish there were a Husband’s Day, so I could celebrate it in his sweet memory.
But I am building a new life, and it’s about to begin. My own life, ma vie à moi, and those boots will take me there, waterproof for the vineyards of my future.