It has been five weeks since graduation. Supposedly, my summer should have started shortly after the last student turned his last thesis in. But the High Altitude Writing Institute was coming up in only two weeks. The dean wanted to take me to Winslow. External reviewers needed tenure application materials and internal reviewers needed professional statements. I needed to pack for Portland. I needed to drive to Phoenix, fly, alone with Max to Portland. I had to have fun, damnit, in Portland. Portland should have been the beginning of summer but I kept getting emails about external reviewers and professional statements. First proofs of Quench came on Wednesday. Interview questions came yesterday. A student getting funding from the tribal council needed a program of study filled out and faxed immediately.
But somewhere in the middle of Portland, perhaps over at Reed College where we saw the beaver tooth-sawing a tree for his dam, or perhaps at the coast where we made salmon and quinoa and salad in our hotel room after soaking the kids in 50 degree ocean waves, in 60 degree air temps, after helping Misty build a fortress of water and sand that she could submit for an application to urban planning school, should she decide to stop being an immigration lawyer (which she shouldn't. Because she's an awesome lawyer), after eating at Pok Pok and eating raw salmon from QFC and eating chef-sanctioned sushi on Hawthorne, after going to OMSI, after driving in the rain, after missing so much but remembering almost as much (blue house on Brooklyn. You are looking a bit thin), after thinking there is no way I can make the drive up from Phoenix to Flag, there is no way I can unpack, there is no way I can repack for camping, there is no way I can drive in the car another minute, we arrived at the end of route 231 overlooking Sedona and I sat down and realized, summer has been happening all along. This is actually going pretty well. The work. Well, an hour on tenure file, an hour on my designing my class, two hours writing, one hour emailing and program of study making, one hour of reading proofs is still only a 6 hour day and most of it, I can do outside, in the wind, with Max here some of the time helping me with his tools and driving around me or into me with his cars or convincing me that playing Lego's is more fun than organizing tenure files--it's not so bad. This is summer. I have successfully sat outside with my mom who stayed for a week and did too much work with rocks and weeds but just the right amount with Max and Zoe. I have sat outside with Misty and John and Van and Emily and Andy drinking wine by the fire and on their porch, even though it was only 60 degrees there too, and with Rick and El at their house around their fire, with Lis and her kids at my house for dinner and with Karen and Sam on the deck for writing group. I sat outside while camping and watered plants outside. I went running outside every day at 6:45. I am typing this outside even though the wind is annoying and that whatever hope I had of bringing rain home from Portland has been summarily dashed.
But I have found some water. After camping, we went down into that creek we had been overlooking the day before and got full-on wet in a swimming hole. On Tuesday, we went swimming with Lis and her kids at Bear Paw--the neighborhood pool. And tomorrow-- East Clear Creek with Emily with whom I will also sit outside tonight because she's visiting from Salt Lake.
We may be in desperate need of water here but here I have found some. And, I may be in desperate need of summer but apparently, summer has been here for awhile now.
I'm so glad that the funk has lifted. Maybe not a perfect summer, but summer nonetheless.
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