At five in the morning the view through the window is dark and only trucks run up I-5 in the valley. The rest area looks like a marina in with lights coming and going in procession. In the 1990s this house was remodeled for good in the vaulted ceilings and a giant window in the living room, but also a bizarre laundry area requiring a stacked washer dryer blocking the roof vents- a mistake that required a major roof replacement our first year here. But the window makes it worth it mostly with it’s sweeping views across the valley to the coast range.
When I left for Afghanistan failure yo grind coffee the night before was the gravest mistake, along with opening a door too loudly, flushing a toilet before six AM, or sneezing. Any of these actions would lead to my youngest waking up and lead to a day of overtired tears. When you leave home for nine months people change; my daughter is tall and skinny and her face more angular as he adult face emerges slowly. The coffee grinder no longer wakes her and she generally sleeps to six thirty or seven. But stress still brings tears and the social isolation has been hard on my social child. Where I feel fortunate to have the space to isolate on land she misses her friends dearly. While I am happy to putter around and work on the many projects I have going; planting trees, making bee boxes, trying and failing to get the lawnmower working Bridget misses her ballet class and school day interactions.
Sometimes as a parent there is nothing to be done. While I can read stories and play games I cannot fulfill the space in her heart for her gaggle of school-girl friends. She is sad, and I am sad for her. But she is healthy and well-fed. Across the world I remember ragged children her age herding long- legged goats on the treeless plain under the view of guns, throwing rocks to chase off the wild dogs and dressed in rags. While I am sad for her loneliness I am fortunate to feed her and keep her clothed, in a place she can laugh and read in peace.
Slowly as the hour passes the gray light of a rainy spring illuminates the window. The lights of the houses across the valley will dim and the mountains outline appear. Here on the east side the light is pale and diffuse until breaking over the Cougar Mountain behind me around nine AM. It makes motivating outside this time of year a challenge as everything is cold an wet till noon; but in the summer it makes morning work cool and shady allowing more rest in the long glare of afternoon.
Soon the skies will clear and the sunsets will begin their slow progression North until June then south again until they vanish into October’s clouds again. Spring, like the morning will rise from darkness and return. What each next season will bring is unknowable, especially now but they will come and change will come with it. I make some beans for the chickens because I am out of feed for them and await my daughter’s waking. We have our hour of idle chatter before I go to work (right now a desk in my room) and her to school in the dining room. This to will change but not today.