Sometimes you get the calculation right and sometimes there is the real world.
Looking at the map it doesn’t look too terribly long of a drive from the wet lushness of Bainbridge Island to the heart of Oregon and the lush environs of Eugene, but all the beauty comes with lots of twists and turns.
We set out from Winslow into a perfect day. It feels just about perfect that we have reconnected to Michelle’s Grant clan on the Island. The only thing lacking is that in leaving we have to leave, and that, on the delicate level or fellowship, seems wrong
We make a quick stop at cousins Dave and Rachel’s place to pick up a heavy blanket. My brother lent me one for night sleeping for Michelle, but she doesn’t need help in that way. The idea here is that it might help when anxiety peaks in the afternoons. It was good to see them for a swift hello/goodbye. Rachel to return to her prolific and brilliant writing and Dave to whatever NDA-bound things he does for the Navy. We were off on what I thought would be a long but not too long drive.
GPS fluctuated from a 7:30 PM arrival making it a 9 hour drive to go 240 miles and 5:00 making it a happy drive. It seemed the device was possessed. But we followed along dutifully and were lucky that the 5:00 arrival was right, which means we arrived at 7:30 with many, many short stops.
But soooo worth it when we arrived at Molly’s guest house out in the fields of Springfield, Oregon. Homey and cozy and you feel like you’re right there on the farm.
Kirk and his wife Sam joined us with Pizza and snacks, and we had a wonderful time on the back deck catching up. It was so great to see Michelle’s smiles for Kirk but also the connection she made with Sam; it was like she was looking at a long lost friend. I don’t think they had ever met.
Just a great night.
We were off in good shape the next morning.
180 miles that took us 5 hours with lots of stops to stretch the legs. Umpqua ice cream! (It’s the only thing on the journey I want to mention. The rest is best left unsaid.)
Then… we arrive in paradise!
The Asha Retreat, home for the next three days, is hard to describe. Suffice to say, “GO THERE!” It comes with 18-inch-thick walls to fight off heat and cold, a myriad of lovely, eclectic, spiritual touches, a running stream, a pool and a temple. And a dog who made fast friends with Mo.
Home in what used to be our home, at least the area, where we embarked on journeys into the Classics, bought a house, married and eventually adopted Matthew and Mikaela. 14 years that took place about 22 years ago.
And it seems not greatly changed though I know that life has moved on. While the physical universe has only slightly altered—alteration taking thousands of years and fooling us into thinking that things are “the same”—life is always in motion, the big chaotic dance of interchange and exchange. Which is as it should be.
We are more like, in the way of time, the fire that raged through here three years ago, a bullet driven by wind that did great damage. I can see the linear scars of standing dead trees, but the grasses have all grown back and there is lots of new construction. Fast.
We are like that, fast, but good. We touch one another subtly, or not so, and the good we do is invisible in the physical universe unless you know the context, the connections, the exchange of life that led to whatever beauty has been left behind. “I planted that tree.”
We hope to see old friends and recapture that beauty, bring it back into focus like dusting off a mirror, and maybe say grumpy things about how things have changed. And that’s okay too.