Andy and I woke at the same moment. 4:17am, the glowing moon washing our room with ghost-blue light. We don’t have curtains and every full moon, it seems our space is washed by celestial illumination. How is it possible that a rock that is 230,100 miles away can light my bedroom from the inside out? It’s magic and I can feel it. I am always sleepless and stirred in a way that is bigger than me, tossing around in lunar dust.
Andy got up, wide awake. I entered into a hazy, in-and-out sleep for a few hours where I thought about the things. How I want to make all my own clothes, I missed soccer sign ups, I need to get my plane ticket to San Francisco, I look forward to next fall’s road trip with my kids, I am frustrated that I had to fire my web designer and start over, I am so pleased that my garden is off to a great start, I ought to read more books.
Lately, when I wake in the middle of the night I have a song in my head. Every single night around 2am I wake up with lyrics on repeat. I started writing them down last week: Beyoncé’s Halo, Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, Pearl Jam’s Daughter, Ben Harper’s With My Own Two Hands. On the full moon night: Cat Steven’s Moonshadow.
And if I were to do a mashup and make my own soundtrack perhaps it’d go something like this:
Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
She holds the hand that holds her down
She will rise above
I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
It’s like I got this music in my body and it’s gonna be alright
Yes, I’m bein’ followed by a moon shadow
One of the things on my mind on this morning was wanting to share about our spring break. The one that happened several weeks ago. I’m getting used to this — the documenting things well after the fact. When I first started writing here (nine years ago!) I would feel like it was too late to write about a thing that happened last week. My life doesn’t allow for me to write here as often right now. And the practice of remembering, looking back at my notes (I make notes all the time about what I want to write about) and telling a story is a good one.
I actually wrote quite a bit while in our cabin in the woods. The old fashioned way: by a raging wood stove, raging pen and paper. I managed to spook myself pretty good that night and I hope to get that whole story out one way or another sometime soon. Boo.
Spring Break nuggets. We stayed home mostly, with one little adventure away.
:: Andy has a new painting on exhibit at the Brink Gallery in downtown Missoula. We went to the opening briefly. Although only there for 12 minutes, my kids managed to eat a cupcake and two fistfuls of licorice. I had wine.
:: Last days of skiing, first bare feet in the creek.
:: Long, tiring days in the garden. Planning layout, planting seeds (early April: radish, peas, spinach, arugula, lettuce, onion, beet, carrot). My kids still love to count worms and millipedes, to dig in compost and hang out with me all day in the dirt. And this mama still loves those days so very much.
:: I rented a forest service cabin for a few days but the girls and I ended up only staying one day. Long story short: I had some fear, ignited by neighboring campers and decided that even though my fear was likely way out there and even though I wanted to stay, I realized that the whole reason I get out into the wilderness with my kids is to relax and run free with them and I wasn’t doing that. I was uneasy and having wild, dark thoughts. So we stayed one night, went for a great hike and then left.
:: We then drove to a different forest service cabin our friends’ had rented (that was luckily only 1.5 hours away!) and stayed a night with them instead. It was the perfect elixir to remedy my previous night’s head trip.
:: On the way home we picnicked on the Big Hole River, stopped and swam at Fairmont Hot Springs and hit this giant slide in Anaconda. When we showed up there were two teenage couples making out under the slide. At first they didn’t stop so I gave them a compassionate mama stink eye where I communicated Just ease up a bit, friends. We will be outta here in no time. They understood but acted put out. Goodness I remember being a teenager so well.
:: The kids taught me about the brand new thing the kids are doing at school. When two people say the same thing at the same time they say Jinx! Pinch! Poke! You owe me a coke! Isn’t it amazing that these rites of passage swell up at the exact same times, generation after generation? Same handclaps, same games, same side ponytails and jump rope songs. Anyway, they are REALLY into this Jinx thing and I listen to it approximately 17 times an hour. Lots of hypothetical cokes owed.
:: Ruby made markers for the carrots and beets.
:: One day, I was in the garden while the kids played in the field. They went inside the house and came out with lunch for me. Margot said, “It seems like you are working so hard and that you need to feed your body.” She had made me a sandwich of hummus, pickles, bean spouts and tomato. And a tangelo. It was delicious and heart-melting.
After days of the sisters playing outside at home, I overheard Margot say to Ruby, “Isn’t is so fun to just play just you and me? Like, we really don’t need toys or anything but each other.” I quietly smiled from the hallway, enjoying that moment and those words I happened to hear. And of course knowing that quite soon feelings of boredom or annoyance would surface. They do because that is life: moods and feelings are like the moon’s pull on the ocean. Rising and falling, reactive and strong.
Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?*
*from Cat Stevens, Moonshadow
Hi Nici! Gosh, after reading this one, maybe I’ll just hitch hike out to Montana this summer to see you and then go to Ryan’s wedding. I need to get on that slide. I NEED to GET on that SLIDE!! There is nothing better than a long slide…well, except a water slide I guess.
I love Margot’s freckles and Ruby’s little blue eye in the last photo. And Dave and I cannot wait until the day where we can purchase an Andy Cline original to hang at our mountain cabin.