Treehouse Tea

There’s a brilliantly painted yellow-and-blue boat outside of my window. This is an unusual occurrence, and it likely won’t happen again soon, after tomorrow morning. It says “Del Norte Sunrise Rotary Club Welcomes You”. It’s sitting on the grass, across an access road that runs behind our hotel room, as if yearning for the beach not far to the west. I can see the beach from the same window. Poor boat.

Behind the boat a fierce breeze is whipping the tall stands of grasses and fuchsia wildflowers, and behind them stands a backdrop of redwoods on a hilltop in the distance. For the first time today, they look small. Those redwoods have loomed above us since we took to the road this morning, leaving the Old West hotel in Willits, California, where we took possession of the Sheriff Room for the night. Ben asked if the Jail Room, next door, was likely to be less comfortable than ours; I honestly couldn’t say, though a brief glimpse through the open door of the Bunk House Room downstairs showed it to have a decorative washstand, with rose-painted pitcher, an amenity lacking in ours. The Sheriff Room did have a roll-top desk, however. Particularly good for the traveler who wishes to take care of some sheriffy business, or write a few letters. We did the crossword.

That was about 250 miles ago. We started this trip in San Diego, driving to Los Banos the first night (which no longer employs the tilde over the “n” in Banos. This I don’t understand. If you have the right to a tilde, why not use it? I wouldn’t mind a tilde. Or an umlaut). Los Banos boasted some tasty Mexican food and a friendly breakfast diner. But that seems so long ago. Tonight will be our last night in California before crossing tomorrow into Oregon, and it will be a while before we drive back, as we’re headed for our new home in Seattle. I haven’t ever not been a Californian.

Each morning of our drive Chris has delighted me with a bottle of hot tea for the drive, and has stretched himself to find restaurants and other places to eat. With each act he reminds me over and over that home is what we carry with us, it is the company we keep, the people and things we choose to surround ourselves with. The Atlas movers came last Thursday and emptied our apartment of our belongings, quite a bit thinned out but still plump with books and Legos and fiber goodness. Yet we were able to pack the car as well, with our suitcases and work monitors, artwork and stuffed animals, computers and pet fish. My basket of knitting is so much a part of me that I did not consider the room it would take, any more than I would worry that my arm wouldn’t fit in the car when we left. I’ve driven most of the way with it under my knees. All of these things help our home to be a space in which we like to live. Though I’m already feeling homesick for the friends and family so far to the south, this has been an interesting practice in reminding myself what it is that makes home be home: Chris in his yellow socks, reading. Ben, designing environments in Portal 2 near the open window. Mrs. P the fish and her companion George, existing in their halfway space of a lunch cooler and battery-operated oxygen bubbler. The knitting basket. The cup of tea. (Dandelion.) A book. Snacks. All of these things remind me how safe I am, how surrounded I am by my home. I don’t need them, but oh my, they do make life nice. For the first time in a long time, the home I return to after going out into the world is the car I use to go out into the world.

The treehouse is traveling.

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In space, but now back.

Hello, little blog! How I’ve missed you! You may not believe it, but it’s true.  It’s been a very long summer–first gray and tepid, then bright and sunny, and now hot and humid, with more water in the air than anywhere on the ground.  Chris and the Geeklet and I spent most of the month of August traveling.  Two weeks of play-living in Seattle in a little temporary Treehouse (it really was, a small apartment three floors from street level, up among the treetops with unripe apples pushing against our railings and temptingly ripe pears just, oh just out of reach).  Chris worked one of the weeks from home in a co-working space walking distance away, and we made no effort to go out of our way to sightsee, but wandered neighborhoods gasping with pleasure at the mini lending libraries on many streets…

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…and at the gardens taking up most yards and verges.  There were tomatoes and beans and zucchini and blackberries and blueberries and squash, growing like the most exotic of flowers with pride of place, right out there in front, with seeming little fear of vandalization or–gasp!–the occasional plunder.  There was one house with beautiful black fruit growing out near the sidewalk, so shiny, crisp-skinned that you could nearly see your reflection, globular.  We wondered whether this was a kind of tomato?  A round eggplant?  Its mystery was a kind of joy.

I managed to grow a few tomatoes this summer, finally.  They might even taste good.  I’m afraid to try them for fear that they don’t.  And potatoes, too!

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These were pretty yummy when Chris applied his magic touch and transformed our motley crew of Yukon Golds into his Special potatoes.  Oh, I do love potatoes.

 

On the whole, our poor garden has suffered from a lack of love.  Maintenance is not love when it is merely the occasional watering, which was done for us (thank you, thank you!) while we were gone.  In our absence, a ground-covering leafy vine which we call Morning Glory vine for lack of a name has covered everything.  It has encircled every pot and tried to eat our watermelon patch.  Poor dear watermelon patch.  It tries so hard.  It’s as though my desire to grow a decent tomato this year has taken all the will to live out of our other plants.  I tried to get down and pull out a batch of these vines and smelled something… odd.  Something a bit like cat pee.  I looked up to find a two-foot-long mutant stem of basil flowering at me.  At me.  It was malevolent, I say.

 

So, after a few weeks in Seattle and almost another week of travel to Huntsville, Alabama to go to Space Camp (YES!  We went to Space Camp!  It was awesome!), we are now home and our garden is glowering at me.  I tried to make it up to it a little this morning, by ripping up some vines and applying some compost tea.  I can still sense some simmering resentment.  The heat requires any garden-love to be early in the morning, so I’m sensing a few early-morning applications of love in the days to come.  Maybe I’ll tell the plants about Space Camp.

100 Words: The challenge of the home-away-from-home.

Seattle visits are always unique for me in the spectrum of visits I’ve made to cities. In general, other cities have been visit-the-city visits; Seattle has always been a visit-people kind of place. Family and friends have lived here and we have focused on their areas, so the city has become a series of neighborhoods in which we travel as a part of our days, a home away from home. The idea of visiting Seattle’s cultural attractions or area interests becomes a challenge. After several visits, it’s time to see something other than the central library and Pike’s Place Market.