I’ve had no time to write an essay this past weekend because I’ve been too busy living my life. You know, trying to be present to every moment—even the tired ones. My granddaughter Maya, her two-year-old son Karik, her hound dogs Zoe and Marley, her amiable husband Wes and her father-in-law John all came on Friday night and filled up all the floor space in my guest house. “Pappy” (Karik’s grandpa) slept in the loft.
Wes and John are trout fishermen, and they occasionally come my way to fish in Spruce Pine and Bakersville. They left at dawn on Saturday morning; Maya and the budding young fisherman Karik followed to watch for a couple of hours. After that, they mostly hung out with me. The presence of relatives of course leads to multiple family visits. Robin and Tammy were at my house chatting with Maya and drinking tea in the late morning. After naptime, my granddaughter-in-law Polly and six-month old Ginger arrived for lunch and more visiting. The two little cousins paid great attention to each other, and their young mindfulness was inspiring. Karik stays in a day care while his parents work and is used to being around babies. He was gentle and attentive with his little cousin. She in turn was responsive: smiling, giggling and watching with her amazing concentration.
I sat in a chair nearby and luxuriated in being a great-grandmother to these two beautiful, intelligent and amiable progeny. The two mothers chatted around the edges of the required parental duties: nursing, changing diapers, speaking words of caution or praise. Both mothers were lavish with the hugs and kisses (even to me). My dog Nigel wisely retreated to a safe spot under the dining table in close contact with my feet. His reward came later in the afternoon when he got to romp and run with the hounds in his fenced-in yard. While Maya monitored the activity, I sat on the deck and laughed.
The weekend wasn’t just about family; it was rich in community contacts as well. Saturday afternoon there was a workday at the local food co-op and Robin, Tammy and my grandson Miles all pitched in. At supper time Maya and her gang (except for the dogs) went off to Spruce Pine for pizza. I joined Robin and Tammy at the Celo Community Center for a pasta supper —a fundraiser for the Celo pre-school. The food was good, but the real attraction for me was the chance to talk with neighbors and friends that I don’t often see anymore. Just as I luxuriated in watching the eager faces of the little ones in the afternoon, I loved looking at the relaxed middle-aged faces of people I’ve known for thirty-five years in some cases.
On Sunday morning, the fishermen took off soon after sunup and planned to be back by about four. After morning tea Maya and Karik and I set off to visit a few craft studios that were open as part of The Highway 80S Art Hop. We went to see the work of several of our favorites and even did a little gift shopping. Once again we all took naps, and then I made a risotto with peas, manchego cheese, shallots, and parsley for lunch. Soon the fishermen returned and after a whirl of packing and checking to make sure nothing was left behind, they headed down the mountain for their respective homes.
The richness of my life is a constant source of wonder to me, and I find it is easy to live in the now moments when they are made precious by the presence of family, friends of long standing and interesting neighbors. However, much as I love the hustle and bustle of Celo weekends with occasional houseguests, it is the quiet and solitude of my daily country home that sustains my spirit and my health.
All the best, Donna Jean