Is, does, can, could: resolutions, one July

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.



Categories: death, Memoir, parenting, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. I thought I had moved far enough north, but it is hot as hell here. I think my British ancestry deems I’d be better off in the Pacific Northwest – lots of gray days and precipitation and cool temps. You sound well Bill – I hope that’s the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michelle! Yes, would like to think you’d be happier here with the weather maybe but it cuts both ways you know…I love the cool when we have it like this, we’re real lucky and I’m kind of gloating I guess. I am well and hope the same for you, hang in there…


  2. You don’t exercise, you die young; you do exercise, you die young. I’d rather not spend my short life on a treadmill.
    Lots of mortality thinking here at my parents, both not well.
    I forgot how late the light stays here in the narrow Atlantic Time Zone, as opposed to where I love, in the eastern half of the much wider Eastern Zone. It’s all an illusion.
    I’ve run into one old classmate so far. We got caught up in 5 minutes at the pharmacy, me with hair gel, her with cream cheese. Middle age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Middle age. Hoping you’ll write about your time there, maybe. Having fantasies of that AHWOSG book, you know. The heartbreaking work of staggering genius, that is. Too much going on in that title, kind of fitting too: “too much going on.” And not enough at the same time, I’m sure. Interested to hear more. Funny I got your comment yesterday when I was on the mountain and you were in that shuttle listening to U2. “Through the sleet and driving snow.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. actually, what a totally stupid comment, can you please erase it, Bill? thanks


  4. Wait a while and you’ll be talking retirement, and 401K and how much you need to live on, and then you will know…your’e old. Until then, I hope your summer days this year are longer than you expected and memorable in the long run Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Karma and samsara, baby. Wheel keeps spinnin’ round and round. If they didn’t resolve the trailer, it’d just start over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. and it’s in the 90s here, unrelenting, plants and pets are overwhelmed, and still the same teams are losing the world cup. what is going on?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s just that NW people are so chill, even the weather takes notice.

    At least until August…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What do you fight about? What to serve? Or is there a new cause each time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We fight about most everything. I’m afraid Charlotte and I are too much alike, and she got the bad gene, same as me. Hey, enough of that! Happy Independence Day and hope you and the kids are doing something fun! Enjoy your time off Mark. Bill


  9. Nice!


  10. Sometimes feel like my life is a trailer that keeps getting re-edited. Maybe I should live in a trailer park.

    (Please rate this attempt at vernacular Nth American humour)


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