It’s gotten so that I can’t leave the windows open at night or it will get too cold. This morning it was 60 in the house and Dawn was in her sweater, cranky, like it was my fault. She’s at home trying to work with the kids now out of school, Lily babysitting her sister Charlotte, learning about chores. Yesterday I ran into the two of them on the road, both in flannel, Charlotte and I resolved not to fight over dinner, which would be the first time “ever,” according to Dawn. And we got through it, with the cool, late afternoon sun and the big, puffy clouds circling around us like whales…and I returned to the recliner and showed Lily how to use the washing machine, and Charlotte disappeared for a time to her room. Dawn was teary, saying in her family growing up dinner was a special time, and even though they watched TV afterwards, they were all together at least…now, Charlotte and Dawn watch reruns of The Office every night on Dawn’s laptop in the den, and I disappear with Brian Eno or John Coltrane to my room, falling asleep while it’s still light out.
I took Dawn’s car for an oil change and sat in the waiting room watching the news, all of it bad, but cheerily told by young, culturally diverse newscasters. And then to a nearby bar to watch the World Cup but it was so cold I got the goosebumps and had to turn the heat on in the car and then the headlights, it was so gray.
One of the CEO’s I knew from a project died last week, maybe 51. The first time I saw him he was back from a morning run outside a hotel in Washington, D.C. I had to gather bio’s for about a dozen executives who were meeting with Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO), and knew Patrick was a runner, Swiss, down-to-earth but fiery, a true entrepreneur who’d dropped out of school and started his own business, now worth billions. He and his colleague were putting their shirts on before re-entering the lobby. Now he was dead from cardiac arrest, Dawn said.
We took the 520 to Kristi and Gary’s house for a dinner party, and sat outside with our drinks while Gary lit the grill, and I thought listening to our conversation wow, we really are middle-aged now. Friends you only see once or twice a year, catching up on work, family, real estate values…travel, vacation.
When we came back in, everyone was standing in front of the TV watching a film trailer and Gary, Chris and I sat at the dinner table watching their reactions to it, listening to the trailer music, the story cut down to a tidy package. Chris, a musician, said trailer music is its own niche: it guides you through the story’s problem and complications, but always resolves. (And if our lives follow the same arc, do we have to wait until the end for the resolution?)
As I did on most weekends, I went back up Cougar Mountain with Ginger, starting at the Jim Whittaker trailhead and winding out to Far Country Falls, then back through the quarry to Shy Bear Pass, home in time to take Dawn’s car for an oil change and watch some of the World Cup, picking up wine and fruit salad for Kristi and Gary’s house.
We talked about karma and the circular nature of things, and as June ended I read the weather for July: highs in the 60s, sunset a minute earlier now, sunrise, a minute later: how the frame narrows bit by bit, the same as what I have to report on in my life…but resolved each day to savor it, to not wait until the end for the payoff.