Thursday, August 05, 2004

Life is good. Full. Alive. Suprising. Threaded through with comfortable silences.

I've had a slew of houseguests all of July.

Maya, Roblin, Dawn, and Forrest for a packed day. (Piecora's pizza, warm sunlight pouring through my windows, playing with Forrest on the floor while talking with Maya, driving in the heat, Indian food and laughter, and Maya and I editing her writing piece on my bed, talking like the two deeply connected friends we are. Why does it matter that I'm 37 and she's 13?)

My friend Carlos for five days--I edited his 240-page PhD dissertation in four days. (Whew.)

My dear friend Gabe for four days, which meant hours of happy talking, watching movies, and feeling loved.

Then, four days with Kristin Korb in Port Townsend, and you can imagine what joy that was. (She stayed with me unexpectedly for one night, because Air Canada lost her six-foot-tall bass case for an entire evening. We had to drive back to the airport at 11 pm, then be on the 5:30 am ferry to Bainbridge Island the next morning. Thanks, Air Canada!)

And then my friend Nick was here for nearly a week. He just left. He's from London, and he had never been to the Pacific Northwest before this. He's besotted with it. And so am I, through his eyes. We hiked somewhere gorgeous and wild every day, for four to eight hours a day. You'll read more about it later, here. But for now....Mount Rainier all day, coming down in the moonlight. Clambering up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics, taking in the entire range of mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca in one slow sweep of the eyes. Waterfalls, alpine lakes, old-growth forests, burbling rivers--we've been seeing all of it. On Tuesday, we did the most outrageous hike I've ever done. Six straight hours, straight up, past a huge, surging waterall called Bridal Veil Falls, then up through the hell of severe switchbacks to Serene Lake, which is small and right up against a mountain. Black slate cathedral rocks with clouds clinging to the top. (And I'm sure they call it Serene because you're so fricking happy to to be sitting down and no longer climbing!) I'm never more happy and clear than when I'm in nature. Oh, and add to this all the lovely breakfasts at Macrina Bakery, the joyful food at Dahlia Lounge, and kayaking Lake Union.

I guess the best news in all of this is that my body has been able to do it. Six-hour hikes don't phase me at all anymore. I'm finally healing, deeply. I stood at the top of the mountain on Friday and let everything go.

But, I must admit, I'm happy that it's August. My birthday, a month left of vacation, and no planned houseguests. Hours and hours to work on the novel.

In fact, I have to stop writing this now. The characters are calling.

With all the exuberant calm of deep in the forest,

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