Saturday, August 7, 2010

Time, family, beach

Following a dump truck. Brushes are tied off the back, bouncing a 50 mph dangled dance that brings a sidelong wave of deja vu. The kind that makes you question whether maybe you have lived that moment before. Maybe there are streams and tangents of time crossing over and under each other all the time and occasionally we hit a cross thread. Then again, that could be a remnant of too many Lost episodes or pondering the lesser considered aspects of time travel from TWM.

I'm out of sorts with regards to routines. Up early, but not productive with that time, save a couple runs a week.

I think about those who make the most of their margins. The free space we have around the edges of our lives. Chuck Palahniuk wrote Fight Club largely under cars while working in a garage. Stieg Larsson penned his Millennium trilogy of novels while working as a journalist. No time is no excuse.

If the main page of your day and life is family and work, what do you do, what can you make of your margins?

Our girls, like most kids, don't differentiate--it's all a blank page to color, draw, write on, add stickers and glitter.

This next week is our sojourn to Ocean City. Anna woke up this morning at 5am and has been remembering snippets of the past several years of beach trips. Amped does not describe her fondness for running and digging for sand crabs and flying kites on the beach; for Sunsations and the Candy Kitchen; for the Ferris Wheel at Jolly Roger and for Jungle or Dinosaur golf.

For Anna, time and memory are starting to resemble the grown-up concept. For Ava, at five years old, yesterday and two years ago are still often called simply "yesterday." It's a much more fluid, less linear sense of time. It's awesome.

The beach, for us, is also about family, extended. We make the trip each summer, with a mess of us. It's generations creating a new shared experience, one that already sticks for the girls, the way they did for me as a kid heading to Ocean City.

This sense of family and time folds back on to last weekend, when we had the 60th Parsons (on my father's side of the) family reunion and thought back on the houses and people and times (and how at 38 I still feel like I am one of the kids at these things). And my mind calls up a Wendell Berry poem that makes me think about being together with family and time:

I tremble with gratitude
for my children and their children
who take pleasure in one another.

At our dinners together, the dead
enter and pass among us
in living love and in memory.

And so the young are taught.

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