Thursday, March 29, 2007
P & K
Blake's uncle Payson and his wife, Kamla, are here visting until Sunday. They live part of the year in Del Mar, CA and the other half in the Himalayan foothills in northern India where Kamla is orginally from. Incredibly perceptive and wise, they tend to ask you meaningful questions that are less about them wanting to hear an answer and more about them knowing what questions need to be excited into your heart and mind at that moment in your life. Clarifying questions, pertinent to personal growth. "Do you guys share the same parenting philosophies?" "Do the two of you sit and talk about your children and what type of adults they will grow up to be, your hopes for them?" "What would bring you happiness?" I find myself awkwardly grappling for my answers and at the same time telling myself--damn, I should HAVE an answer for this! Or it's something I have been asking myself quiety for weeks.
They spend their time with us observing, never missing an opportunity to connect and explore and live along side us in their short (usually once a year visits) then take breaks to go reflect and regenerate. Then they come back for more and we eat and share and let them be great-uncles and great-aunts, and delight in the children with imaginitive games and wordplay. Needless to say, their visits, though intense, are always a treat.
Today was Payson's 62nd birthday. They had suggested a picnic and wanted to walk to a park nearby, but because I know they love nature and being reverent so much, I personally felt that the "walking distance" park is more of a social focus, over-populated at most times with dogs not on leashes and the inevitable duck-poop. Blake and I both insisted that we visit Sawyer Park, which seems to be not only the more versatile and nature-focused parks in the area but also the least populated. The first section of park is typical picnic benchs and bbq pits but just beyond is a lovely iron bridge that crosses over a swift segment of the Deschutes. Past that lies a more peaceful riverside area, large mossy lava boulders and several trailheads. The center most trail is a gravel path that leads up a short hill, and then a few steps down another short dirt path to the right suddenly appears a huge kept grass field surrouned by towering ponderosas. You have to know about this special place to find it--and in our few hours there we only saw one person briefly cross through with their golden retriever. We brought kites but not a lick of wind kicked up. Instead we ate herb-roasted chicken, fermented rye bread thanks to Allison, honey, carrot sticks, and strawberries. The children played and climbed all over Pays and Kamla. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that the couple also spent the second part of our celebration tenderly mediating Blake and I, also privately counseling each of us, as we were quite disconnected and struggling to flow with each other regarding Mayan and Isadore's frequent toddler mood swings. Bless their hearts, while we would have continued to ignore the tension and just politely blow-up at one another later after our company had departed, they made the kind and selfless effort to air our tension, and assist us in working through it. A gift it is to have these people in our lives, I tell you. By the ride home, we had both felt that we'd been able to vent healthily to our respective models (me to Kamla and Blake to Pays) and we were able to soften and greatly enjoy the rest of our evening.
Our greatest activity at the park (and I believe Payson's effort to unite us all in his own art-as-therapy way) was to construct a pinecone pyramid and installation-of-sorts. The girls gathered materials in their arms, while Blake and Payson manned the engineering aspect--all said pitched in on constuction. I didn't jump in until the end to help complete the circle, and finally Pays topped it with a braided pineneedle that Blake had held on one end while Pays braided and asked me to tie. We ended our project with a wonderful family shot and as the wind began to barely awaken, the braid perched on the tip of the uppermost pinecone of the pyramid, began to spin, perfectly balanced and vulnerable the encouraging breeze.