Monday, May 05, 2008

A Nostalgia for Now

We had friends over to dinner Saturday night. We made spinach salad and homemade pesto pizza. They brought a homemade three-cheese tomato pizza. We stuffed ourselves on good food and conversation. They have their house on the market too, so we had plenty to talk about.
It's interesting how we know these friends. We met them a couple of years ago at a birthday party. J was talking about being from Detroit and southern California, that he had gone from LA to Eugene, Oregon, that he was a nurse. That particular journey sounded familiar to me. I looked at him over the table and asked him what his last name was. He told me. I couldn't believe it. I not only knew him, I knew his whole family. I had sublet his house in southern California 30 years ago. My sister and brother-in-law were maid of honor and best man at his brother's wedding in the 1970s. One of his brothers put in a fence for my parents. There we were at a birthday party of a mutual friend in Port Townsend, Washington in 2005. He and his wife V, and Roger and I became fast friends. We've done cat care for each other. We've spent many a good evening in each other's company. Here we were, Saturday night sharing a meal and contemplating futures in very different places.
After dinner, we had planned to watch a movie together. We had Leonardo diCaprio's The Eleventh Hour, and they had brought The Golden Compass. I was drawn to the documentary, but Roger said he was ready for pure fantasy. I didn't really know anything about The Golden Compass but decided that I would give it try.
Such wild, wacky storytelling with fantastic animation appealing utterly to my long-sleeping inner child. I love a movie that makes me want to ride a polar bear through the northern icy tundra. Or makes me wonder if I had an animal daemon, what it would be. What fun. There was a scene where the good polar bear had to vanquish his enemy, the bad king polar bear. Because I am a softy wimp, I couldn't bear to watch the fight. I got up to check on the dishwasher (a perfectly good excuse). As I walked across the kitchen, I had a pang of nostalgia for that very moment: for good friends on the couch, for this big spacious beautiful house that we will be leaving, for the garden already planted, for minus tides and river otters, for our backyard birds. I suddenly knew what I will miss when we are gone from here. I don't know yet what piece of music months and years from now will tug this Port Townsend heartstring, but whenever I get the urge to ride on the back of a polar bear I'll be here in that moment, in that kitchen, with those friends.

We have been packing.

Photos:
1.River otter at minus tide 5/4;
2. Housefinch;
3. White-crowned sparrow;
4. Red Crossbill juvenile

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