Since school started, I’ve been trying to absorb two new realities: that Cal is now in middle school; that Abbott is now in high school. Seven years from now, Alexi and I will pack Cal off to college, and then – what? The planet will inch toward change and a new season, as it always has and will, but my existence will be outside the rhythm of a school year. All I can do is to be present while they’re still here.
Despite the linear progression of time, in many ways this October is the same as any other. The days shorten; the light progressively loses stamina and warmth. Mornings, vapor rises from Elliott Bay, obscuring everything from view. Then the fog gives way to afternoon warmth. Wind whips through the trees and across the water while birds call out overhead. Our gutters fill with leaves.
Our schedule is a dizzying choreography of who has to be where, when. The past two weekends I’ve taken Abbott out of the state and out of the country for hockey. Last weekend we were in Gibsons, BC. I walked the docks while Abbott warmed up for his game, and felt a tug for the time I spent working on boats in Valdez, Alaska the summers between my years of college. Back at home, we ended the weekend watching the debate together. It didn’t seem real, making certain the boys understood that despite a presidential candidate saying otherwise, sexual assault is not “just locker room talk.” For months now, we’ve been witness to the presidential race and have felt keenly the darkness of the times. It should go without saying that racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and misogyny are never okay. Being an American should be synonymous with speaking out for the marginalized and the dispossessed.
With so much that may cloud our future, it’s impossible to tell what's going to happen next. But there are a few things I do know for certain. That the yellow dress the neighbor’s gingko is slipping into will be gone this time next week. That our table is set and ready for our next meal. That on some not too distant day, I’ll watch Canadian geese rise out of the water with their honking calls, joining together in flight. I’ll continue to do my best to make the days count.