It's been hard to know how to summarize my time away or what it's been like to be home. In talking about VCCA, there is little I can say without glowing, literally and shamelessly.
Everything about the time was affirming from the hours I spent writing, to the hikes through the woods, the eggshells I found under a nest, the community of people working there, the conversations over meals, the visual art that inspired me so utterly, meals prepared and dishes cleaned magically, waking to the smell of coffee, conversations over cucumber vodka tonics, living life so planted in the present. It's a gushy report.
I didn't miss anyone for one minute while I was gone -- a gift! -- and then surprisingly found tears spurt from my eyes the instant I saw Eden waving and jumping in the yard as I drove up.
Returning coincided with our college babysitters leaving for premature summer and my free solo time vanishing. I have written no poems since I've been back, and for a couple of weeks, I internally rebelled about life not being my own and stomped around inside my body. I pined for mornings in the woods of Virginia and full days alone at my desk. Slowly, in our month of Seattle-like rain, I recovered and resettled. Now it's California-beautiful out, the days drenched in green.
So, here we are: re-entry survived and tasting summer.
The kids began swim team this week, which means nights at the pool, wet towels and suits flung over the back fence, showers in the locker rooms (the cleanest the kids ever are!) and dinners wrapped in tin foil. We're in the weeks when summer laps over the final weeks of school and everything becomes a little delicious.
Our marriage turns 16 this weekend, and, appropriately, it does feel like we're learning to drive. We've been having hours of conversation about life, evaluating where we are, how we're living -- sifting and shaking, naming our priorities -- the "big rocks" of our marriage and family, as Annemarie calls them, the non-negotiables. It's surprising when we put voice to things, which rocks are small, which are large, which take up a lot of space but actually aren't even rock at all.
After some earthquakes at the core, I think we are finding our rocks.