Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Joys & Separation Anxiety

and so it goes...

a springtime of planning for a summer full of time together among the family and with friends begins to dissipate in mid-august as shaku and ms. leah head for home in nepal tomorrow early on a united jet first to sf, then tokyo, then bangkok and the following morning on to kathmandu.

once again, we wonder, where does the time go?

from the fabulous time between two families w/ the ellenbergs in oregon to settling in the bay area for ten days to our time in maine to the comfort of bruce's home in newton, five weeks in america have gently slipped away, again...

we drove down rte 5 from portland loading the kia again w/ our bags and baby doug firs whisking through the landscape to a funky hotel/guesthouse in dunmair, ca with a view of mt. shasta. the boys took the hotel room and sent us out to the 1930s "it happened one night' cabin above the sacremento river. the door didn't lock while the frig was out on the back porch and the whole cabin tilted like a bit of a push would send it downstream. if not for the highway nearby, it wud have been a quaint bit of peaceful americana. as it is, we found a thai restaurant for dinner and gorged on ersatz thai in a town where the 19th c. gold rush railway used to ply.

then, the next day, narrowly avoiding one of those highway disasters that constantly lurks at 70 mph as we sought the marin county exit, we traversed the bay area flats in search of pizza and food supplies in larkspur before searching for our one week bolinas rental.

as we turned up from mill valley to highway one up and over mt. tamalpais with the ocean below us and the stinson beach ahead, we felt, once more, the beauty of northern california. driving carefully on the narrow highway, we passed a jaguar on its side blocking half of the highway. it had driven against hillside, flipped sideways with no major damage, but like the proverbial turtle couldn't right itself.

as we drove up to bolinas, the fresh air and open countryside were powerfully attractive. bolinas is a small town, at best, on a bluff overlooking the pacific ocean directly below point reyes national seashore and looking back on stinson beach. it's an incredible location, suffering summer fog that blankets the coast, but far from the trappings of modern suburbia and mall-mania. with individualistic homes, there's a warm, relaxed ambience about the place.

our house was a bit of a nantucket shingle home with just enough space for all of us, a big yard and a hot tub in the back. after our weeks of travel, it felt great to have our own home, where we could cook and relax.

we chose bolinas for its close proximity to the bay area, so we were fortunate to have davis come our first day, with greg, chimi and their daughter, leah's best friend from early childhood, khenzom and her brother. then, seth & vicki came with ethan and shari for a day out at stinson where, to our amazement, we ran into eduardo and helena on the street then charles and pam on the beach!

days in bolinas disappeared with friend, including a great dinner in san rafael with eduardo and helena, a day trip to pt reyes w/ charles and pam, a visit to elliot's home in occidental and lance driving up to have dinner w/ us in bolinas. the week could have stretched to two easily as i fell for this bucolic place.

we closed our california chapter with a few days at steve and betty's in oakland which included a bbq at seth and vicki's with our bay area friends. there's such a lovely community there among whom we feel a close attachment. as usual, we left with dreams of california for the future while ez played joni singing 'california' one more time on the ipod...

since we slept little the night before heading to the airport at 5 am, we slept across the country waking to land in boston, where we picked up a new mini-suv for ourselves and bags and drove 2-3 hours up to bath, maine. once again, we felt fortunate in the cottage we'd found on the internet. an 1890s cabin by the water with a canoe, we tossed our stuff in the home under the grey skies.

although the weather was unkind, maine wasn't. we had a lovely week with mom and dad, who came up from florida. just meandering around the maritime museum, the coastline, the new boothbay botanic garden, bowdoin university.

my dear friend, alma, who i hadn't seen in decades took the leslie-chans out to a special dinner at an old village meeting hall in georgetown with her family. we stopped at her and jennings lovely home in freeport a day later. then, a final day with jeff and maggie in york at their exquisite home (and guesthouse) was the final treat before reaching my brother bruce's home outside boston.

with five of us together, it was quite a show along the way. mostly great fun, although at times those moments of family tension or too many people in an suv for too many hours, crept in for some drama. josh and ez, bless their souls, were mostly patient with their parents as we bundled them along to see our friends. of course, father-son teenage revolt was part of the story -- but where else would they have met so many delightful, loving and fascinating people, not to mention have dave and lisa, eduardo, seth, jeff and jerry cook them such exquisite meals!

so now, with shaku & leah off 2morrow, we feel the enormous tug of the heart. they head to nepal, the boys go to nmh in a week and in two weeks (after they are enrolled), i head back to kathmandu, too. we are coping, as everyone else has learned to cope, but, as others know, it ain't easy. our family will be spit in two parts. josh and ez in the states, while we three are in nepal. for the boys its a new adventure to be together in america for the first time sans parents. for us, tremendous pride in these remarkable sons with their futures ahead of them; yet an undeniable loss of their presences in our daily lives.

this international life suddenly seems more complex and uncertain than ever before. even a maoist insurgency never quite seemed as precarious as the separation anxiety that goes with seeing our sons so grown up.

these children fooled us along the way. we thought that they were ours. little did we really understand...

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