Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires


Charlotte in Germany 2009, with mom’s old dog Merlin

I dropped the kids off at theater camp with the other awkward-looking children not cut out for sports, pale and withdrawn, future artists: and Charlotte’s outfit, a riot of stripes and patterns — she’s still doing that thing where she closes one eye and flicks her head to the side then closes the other but has no self-consciousness about it, just walks and toggles eye to eye (the Parallax View Phenomenon), and she’s right where she belongs now, at theater camp.

And I spend the morning doing chores to feel less guilty leaving Dawn with the kids for the rest of the week while I go hiking, and finish packing for my trip, stealing her maxi-pads for my first aid kit because they’re good to stop the bleeding I explain, and she agrees — and I’ve gone back to November in Scotland for some reason, maybe visiting our English friends up the street who asked where we went last winter and I sketched our route on the palm of my hand, starting on the east coast at Arbroath and zig-zagging to the southwest where we left by ferry for Belfast, and what it was like in that chauffeur’s house by an old castle where we spent Thanksgiving: that memory like a stone we took away but it doesn’t look the same removed from its original context, it changes over time. Every framed picture there, every view out the windows windswept and exotic, the rain and the leaves, the wind: hunkering down with our puzzles and boardgames, the wood stove, our beer and wine, the game meats I found at the local store, the Victoria sponge cake their cook baked for us we ate the very first night.

Now the morning light has softened and it’s sleeping in some, it’s not that bracing light of early summer but the golden hour of the season instead, and everyone’s away now enjoying the last of it, and the lake shore is low, with a stretch of beach pebbles drawn out, all the left behind rafts deflated and life jackets from the weekend put out on rocks waiting for their owners to come get them, a pair of cotton socks still wet.

The morning light is golden and warm, pours thick like syrup with just the sound of the lawn sprinklers and my sandals on the walk home and I forget where I am; I toggle between views too, looking forward, looking back, having to remind myself to just stop and look up.

Post title from the Cocteau Twins song of the same name, from the album Heaven or Las Vegas.


Categories: musings, parenting, travel

Tags: , , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. “that memory like a stone we took away but it doesn’t look the same removed from its original context, it changes over time”; “Now the morning light has softened and it’s sleeping in some”; “The morning light is golden and warm, pours thick like syrup with just the sound of the lawn sprinklers and my sandals on the walk home and I forget where I am” – yes, yes and yes! Hitting all the spots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a nice poem Jon, thanks for sharing with me and for your note. I was offline most of the week, so apologies for the late response. I was on the trail with a friend and the only bathing came from an alpine lake and a river, refreshing but not really thorough, you know? Seems my nails have grown lots more than you would think too. Gosh I need to get sorted! Bye for now, Bill


  2. Perhaps Charlotte is hiding a secret talent: she’s looking forward in time.


    • I like that Dave, yes — man, we just did a stretch of the PCT near the Canadian border and I think I need a wire brush to clean my toes, yuck! Sorry for taking so long to respond to this, hope your weekend is good. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  3. yes, you and your daughter both sharing the ‘toggle between views’ superpower. it’s hereditary.


    • Hey Beth, sorry for responding to you so late on this but I was gone for a while…it is a freaky hereditary thing I’m sure you can relate to with your family, seeing yourself in them and vice versa. Dad needs a nap now; I did +40 miles on the trail these past 4-5 days and I’m pooped. And it’s hot, by PNW standards here! Hot! Our frail temperaments are wilting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post, man. I like this a lot. I like the way it bookends itself, for one. And how it makes me stop and consider what I’m missing, for another. I know I’m missing things intellectually. I need to be reminded artistically, so thanks for doing that. And I can relate to the toggling too.


    • Hi Walt, thanks! I saw you posted too and I’m looking forward to reading. I love when I can squeeze in a bookend, and that you appreciate that, I think it’s a cool closure-thing or something. I like the frisbee analogy that it can come around again, but better to catch it than get hit by it. Thanks for your email too, very cool. Bill


  5. first paragraph–golden. So much of it, really, but oh how I loved “…and she’s right where she belongs now, at theater camp.”


    • Hi Ann, thanks! Sorry I normally write back on comments more quickly but I was off the grid for about five days, in the North Cascades by Stehekin. They just got internet there, can you believe it? Good for them, though. I did a stretch of the PCT with my good friend Brad Shaffer you may have known from SBUX. I should go back and reread my post because I’ve forgotten it! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend. Bill


      • What a wonderful adventure! “just got internet there”–wow. A blessing and a curse, no doubt. Say hi to Brad the next time you play together.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right on, will do. He’s the best partner on the trail. Tell Paul hi too, if he remembers me. If you guys ever get back here would be nice to meet up too. I went up St Helens with Paul once and the dude didn’t break a sweat, I kind of hated him for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Such terrific writing – this is one of my favorite posts. (The picture of Charlotte and Merlin is wonderful as well)


    • Thanks Beth, glad you liked it! That photo was from a hay party at Christoph’s, celebrating his birthday that August we first arrived, in 2009. Bill


  7. The chauffeur’s house sure sounds nice. I like the line about how the memories keep changing. Hope your hiking trip goes/went well and that you don’t wind up needing the maxi pads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny Kristen, nice. Yes, I could use one on my heel now but who am I to complain? Glad to have my coffee maker back and my bed, not to mention the family. Thanks for the well wishes! Bill



  1. Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires — William Pearse | pinklightsabre – musnadjia423wordpress

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