Monday, March 1, 2010

The colors, scents and sounds of hope

"Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?..."

I know: goofy! But those are the lyrics that came into my head yesterday when my husband pulled into a shipyard in Anacortes to introduce me to this huge rusted hulk of a ship being refurbished. My first impression, mind you, wasn't unlike my first impression on meeting my husband: Ugh. There's nothing here for me!

But on closer examination the boat's black and rusted surface offered a wonderful rich tapestry of color and light; I could have feasted my eyes -- and my camera -- for hours.

The double-wide on Shaw, where we spent Saturday night, is a bit like that as well: it's exterior is unprepossessing, to say the least. But the forest around the house has a wonderful inviting scent despite the proliferation of weeds underfoot, and every time I walk in the door I'm greeted with the sweet fresh air of home.

It's been a wonderful two days, quite frankly, getting back in touch with what's most meaningful to me. It began with two more ferry trips -- off our island and onto Shaw -- and then a loaves and fishes sort of dinner: a salmon barbecue and potluck for over 100 people, with (amazingly) six sides of salmon left over (auctioned off at the end of the night to benefit the maintenance budget for the island's cemetery).

We were a bit late arriving, thanks to a last minute store run to replace the batteries in a beeping fire alarm, and people had already claimed their chairs and were standing in line for food. I put our utensils down on the only table left that had 2 seats together, worrying a bit: would I know the folks we'd be sitting with? We'd been living away from the island for over 10 years now, after all.

But we came back to our seats to find we'd placed ourselves between some of our favorite people (how could we not, in a whole room full of favorite people?) -- a former monk and mountain climber who now programs computers for a living, and a musician/photo-journalist couple who run a retreat center not far from our house. It was a magical evening, filled with stories and conversation, and was topped off with a beautiful impromptu performance on violin and flute performed by Native American friends of the family whose island presence we were celebrating.

Another ferry ride in the morning brought us to this Anacortes shipyard, and the rest of our travels brought us back home in time to watch the final game of Olympic hockey. But then we were back on the ferry again, this time to visit old friends across the water and talk about future employment possibilities. By the end of the evening, ferrying home, we had some good advice and some exciting possibilities: though the path is not yet clear, we can begin to imagine new careers which will allow us to grow, to bring new gifts into the world, and to continue finding time to appreciate the blessings of family, friends, and community.

With luck, we may come to find that this challenging period in our lives will prove to be a bit like the rusty ship: unappealing, even off-putting at first, but in fact rich with color and blessing and promise for our future together. It feels like the daffodils in my heart are finally beginning to poke their heads up through the frost, and the scent of spring is in the air...

1 comment:

Maureen said...

What a great weekend you had! I'm delighted for you.