8ish Years Ago, Somewhere in Virginia

Yesterday our refrigerator broke. Well, I could probably say that several months ago, our refrigerator began to break, and while M&K are great at many things, home maintenance is not something that comes naturally to us. We are greatly inclined to ignore the compressor ka-chunking after every cycle. Until we realize the ice is not frozen. And actually, most of the food is not cold. (Good thing we don't ever stock up on meat.) Then we are motivated to take action. We spent this morning at the Scratch and Dent, selecting a suitable replacement. It was actually the first appliance we have ever purchased. And a side note about the Scratch and Dent....is this a Pittsburgh thing? Literally everyone from friends to neighbors to the crossing guard at Laurel's school recommended that we go there. Actually it all sounded more like, "Yinz have to go the Scratch n Dent!" (Even if they don't normally speak in a Pittsburgh accent.) Anyway, we found a fairly unscratched and undented model and they will deliver it on Thursday. Until then, it's ice chests and everyone has to clean their plates. No leftovers. In other news, the post office has lost a package M was expecting and the PWSA still has not issued us a water bill since February. The dental office charged the wrong insurance account, and I had to straighten that out. Marko is in a "dumping out" phase. The weather has suddenly turned hot, so I need a bigger diaper bag to take when I go out to make sure I have enough water for all of us. And that was pretty much my week so far. Yes, life is indeed exciting right now.

Cheers! From the AT, 2007
Here you can see a picture of us from about 8 years ago. Clearly slackpacking on the AT, since we seem to be carrying a bottle of wine. I believe we are somewhere in southern Virginia. I remember I saw a scarlet tanager that day. There was a lot of sidehill trail. Hiking without a pack felt effortless. A couple of '07 thru-hikers that we know are on the PCT right now and posting updates on their Facebook feeds. Watching my friends' adventures unfold reminds me of the many adventures we have had. Some folks we know are moving to Phoenix, which stirred up all these memories of late-night stir fry at Johnny Chu's and watching Akron/Family sweat in Modified Arts. The homemade tamales my teacher's aide brought me, and walking across the entire South Mountain Preserve with Leah and Kristijo. And my cousin Lisa is moving cross-country and just texted me from the road, which made me think of cooking blueberry pancakes in the Bitterroot Mountains with Lance and M, for some reason. Not sure why. They are nowhere near Idaho. I guess it's just the adventure. Rolling into a place that you've never been and seeing it with fresh eyes.

I think I'm on the path I'm supposed to be on, but there's so many different ways life can go. Actually, I guess I don't even believe in a "supposed-to-be path." This is just where I'm at. Enjoy it, or change it. But when my fridge breaks down before we're ready to do the rest of the kitchen upgrades, or someone asks me what's new and I have to say that I spent most of the day on hold with the water company, or sweeping up cheerios, I sometimes think, "seriously? How did I get here?"

The other night, M took me to see Neil deGrasse Tyson. Yes, we went on a date to see an astrophysicist give a lecture. Trust me, he's very entertaining, although I just can't get into Cosmos. He was speaking about something he calls the Cosmic Perspective. It was very interesting to see his slides zoom in on DNA strands and zoom out to theoretical models of multiverses. You can read more about his ideas in this essay. I think I was most moved by the interconnectedness of it all, and the way that patterns repeat themselves across nature and space. He's right that if you are musing about the cosmic perspective, you have it pretty good because it means you aren't mired in day to day survival.

And for all the mundane chores that must be done and redone, I have this incredible gift of watching a two year old and a five year old navigate the world. They pick up a shard of a buckeye nut and bring it to me. Which tree did it come from? Who ate the rest of it? How did they crack it? Can a tree still grow from this part? Can we put it in our mouths? Things I would just step over become reasons for curiosity and conversation. Last night and today we had a lot of wind, and little sections of new leaves from the chestnut tree had blown down all over the school yard. Marko spent a half an hour gathering them up as if he had found something amazing. He probably doesn't even remember last fall, so this idea that leaves coming down to his level, where he can examine them and touch them was sort of mind-blowing. Plus, he insisted on wearing this blanket as a cape, so it was very cute to watch. Laurel is reading more and more everyday and seeing her eyes light up when it "clicks" is just as rewarding as it was when I watched my America Reads Challenge mentee.... little six year old William in...gulp...1998, do the same thing.

So, that's life right now. Good as ever, but not because it's perfect or easy. It's just amazing when you stop to think about it.


Anonymous said...

There are few hikes I look back on more fondly than that dessert trek. Old sneakers, too little water, and great company.


k said...

We were bold to think we could do that hike. But we did it.