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It was a strange year, dawning on the Champs Elysees with a few friends and ending in Sandpoint, Idaho with a few friends — one of which was an overlap.

Last April, in the South of France, my contact proff’s husband was teaching me how to snorkle. The water was freezing, streching from gray to turquoise to dark blue. As the waves pulled me up and down I forced myself to put my head underwater and breathe, the panic of the idea and chill and swell making me gasp and surface repeadly. “Lie, lie!” Pierre admonished in English. Finally I lay, floating face-down, staring at the huge world of weeds and fish and bubbles, breathing air, salt and spit, until, waterlogged, aching with chill, I drifted to shore.

We hiked back to their little house, drying in the semi-temperate air, and ate cheese and dark chocolate and coffee. And I tried to tell them, unsucessfully, that in the flux of sunrise, sunset; somewhere else twice a year, I had found my lost sense of home at their table.

I am only beginning to see the flaws inherent in me, wounds ground open in the sandy ocean of a larger life. And all the while I’m looking over my shoulder for home, hoping it’s sneaking up on me without my knowing, hoping I’ll drift to shore and safety while I keep one eye on the swirling seaweed, because, hey, seaweed makes a better story than coffee.

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