Last day of summer

Yesterday, I joined my Mom and brothers on their weekly beach trip. I knew this would probably be my last beach trip with family for the summer. School starts next week, and I have homework assignments ready to be read. So I counted this as my last day of summer.

On our way there, my Mom and I sang along to Queen, Journey, and Bonnie Tyler. MA sat in the back with a half-smile, ready to wince when we reached extended high notes. He only protested at Bohemian Rhapsody. He didn't think a song should be legally allowed to be that long.

We spent hours at the beach - sitting, watching the waves, occasionally jumping into the cold, clear water, and just talking. My two aunts and lots of cousins were with us. Together, we squeezed lots of adventures into that one day.

I left early with MA, both of us too exhausted to want any more beach adventures. As I began driving, a peace settled on us. We've had so many car rides together this summer, just us two. He sits in the back, and when it's a good day, we fall into a rhythm: a rhythm of silence, music, some talk, and then more silence. We drove through the Laguna canyon along windy roads and saw shadows pass in and out between the hills. The light fell with such a heavy weight, I wanted to pull over and just watch the light transform the brown scrub plants into a landscape of gold and emerald.

An hour later, we drove through more hills and saw the sunset. The dirt and smog that had discolored the blue sky earlier now became brilliant shades of violet, orange, and blue. MA had fallen asleep, and I listened to a lecture on glory. Between the inspiring words coming from my speakers, the glorious sunset outside, and the quiet companionship of a sleeping brother, I could only smile and think a thousand thanks for the beauty of the moment.

I couldn't ask for a better way to end summer.


Beautiful Words

"That the world is old and frayed is no surprise; that the world could ever become new beyond uncertainty was and is, such a surprise that I find myself referring all subsequent kinds of knowledge to it...I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down.”

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, (emphasis mine)

This post at the Image blog reminded me again of how much I love this quote.



Saying goodbye to a place
To the light coming in
Through small, rectangle windows
With small dirt stains ahead
To the small chair that sits
With a confident air
And the streets that I've walked
Over and over again
Times I can't count,
Like grains of the sand
Or, at least, a handful or two.

And even harder, saying goodbye to the people
To their eyes and their smiles
And their constant alive, being beside
Us, all along the way while
We learned to stumble and grow
And even though it's for a moment, a few months of our lives
This saying goodbye couldn't be harder -
For them or for us?
We hardly know, but it's come.

So we say
Goodbye to this place, to these walls, to this home
And goodbye to the people, whom we know, and we love.



And all the words I should have said
Come stumbling in with unwashed feet
They've waited, wandered, wondered why
I've left them incomplete.



We prepared a feast for them: Thai steak salad, shrimp-stuffed bacon-wrapped jalapeƱos, not-so-fluffy jasmine rice, and spiced chicken kabobs. The boys set up green and white tables outside. Then we waited until the sun set, and our house filled with people and hugs. When family comes to visit from out-of-state, it's always a delightful event.

I walked outside and listened for awhile. Spanish conversation with bits of English interjections slipped in between long, loud stretches of happy laughter. I love their smiles; the same smile reflected on the six faces of my Mom and her siblings, their inheritance from my Grandpa.

We moved inside when the night-air became too cold. I could hear one cousin playing the piano, another building legos with my brother, and the constant stream of aunts and cousins from the kitchen to the family room, bearing coffee and dessert to the men of the family.

The night ended so quickly, and we soon stood outside, waving as they all piled into different cars. We see some of them three times a year, others we haven't seen in three years, and we don't exactly know when we'll see them again. But for now, this time is beautiful. This is family.


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