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  • Elaine Fletcher Chapman

two-fold journey

This time yesterday I was hiking with my son, his wife, their three children and my daughter in Tennesse Valley of the Marin Headlands.The trail, easy for even five year old, Caroline. We brought sandwiches and sat on the edge of the bank and watched the children run from the waves and incoming tide. The sun bright, air clear. Dressed in layers and hats even, prepared for a shifting wind. We walked there and back in small groups, mostly small talk except for Jackson, 9, talking about the computer game Animal Jam, his classroom art project, and the decision whether he should chose the clarinet. And Emma,7, can’t keep her mind off the Nutcracker she is dancing in the next weekend. The little ones made a farewell card, bright and sweet with a multitude of loves and hearts, rolled up like a scroll and tied with pink variegated yarn.  Before dinner my daughter and I left Marin and headed to the Mission district for dinner with a friend who flew in for a job interview, the second part of my journey. The echo of children’s voices and the muscle memory of their small hands in mine still with me, right now. I am across the bay on the other side of the city. I’ve set up a small writing area in my daughter’s apartment, a body of water outside the window. A lagoon. I am here for a week after spending five days with my son and his family. My husband flew back to the East Coast two days ago. I am waiting to see the Nutcracker next week and in the meantime afforded this second wave visit. A second wave, a second wind to pause, take breath, reflect and read. Meditate. Hike Land’s End, Fort Funston, Half-Moon Bay.  Attend yoga on the Labyrinth at Grace.  My son may join us later in the week for lunch. All things seem possible this moment.

The books surrounding me: Patti Smith’s M Train, The Sankha Karika,  The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali, The Heart of Awareness : A Translation of the Ashtavakra Gita, and The Gate of Tears: Sadness & the Spirttual Path. And one more, Distant neighbors: the selected letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder. All for this second wave because believe me there was not a still or quiet moment in the first wave of this journey. We sang music, wrote a song about the Hippie Tree in Tibruron, hicked the fire road and Lake Lagunitas, watched a movie or two, made pies, told stories, played Skylander and Aninal Jam, listened to music from the Nutcracker. Shared Thaksgiving dinner. Right now, not a sound other than the keyboard. Our five days planned. My home landscape, changed and changing. Roots grafted, not uprooted. East Coast, West Coast, gounded in each. Heart renewed and spent, renewed and spent.

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