Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Watercolor

Chinook Landing, yesterday. We thought we'd walk along the river, in the fog, till the predicted rain drove us home. But as we walked along the green-turfed escarpment the fog burned thin: first the islands and then the Washington shore appeared, gold and orange and pale green. And then the sky turned blue and the fog disappeared, except for a watercolor smudging around every distance. One of the most beautiful days I've ever seen on the river. The pale yellow leaves of huge cottonwoods fluttered above us. Out on the piers, a great blue heron hunched, motionless, in his gray coat: and on the furthest pier, a cormorant, rising a little to shake out his wings. Three buffleheads flickered rapidly past and skidded to a landing on the water. So unexpected, this little protected cove of time.

What I didn't say last time, is that the day before, Alan had decided to stay on as a renter at Ashley's, at least for a few months. So we find our nest emptied. That, no doubt, is what prompted my words about having outlived my purposes. But this morning he joined me at Tom's, and we sat here companionably, while I wrote and he went through his anatomy flashcards.

Martha and I have been saddened somewhat, that college has not been for our kids what it was for us – a liberation, an escape into a larger world of dizzying ideas and amazing people – but on the other hand, our kids are still here, tied into the community they grew up in, with no intention of vanishing into a new life. This is maybe a more humane model. They seem to have no desire to escape or to cut ties. Probably a good thing, even if it does startle us. I just wish their economic prospects looked a little brighter. Thirty years ago, intelligent industrious well-educated kids like them were shoo-ins to good jobs. Now – who knows? But in any case, we will all stick together and muddle through.

No idyllic watercolor river scenes today: the rain is steady and the light is reluctant. Cars swish endlessly by, kicking up little bow waves, and everything that overhangs is dribbling.

4 comments:

Zhoen said...

Being parents your kids feel no need to escape from. Well done. Very, very well done.

Kathleen said...

I know what you mean about college. I had hoped my kids would encounter the deep joy of a liberal education. We'll see...

marly youmans said...

Yes, this generation of children is very different from ours and grew up with a whole different set of pressures. My children are similar--it is lovely to have children who like their parents. What a blessing...

What I notice is an absence of drive among children in high school and college now. They don't feel the same desire to tear open the world. On the other hand, I see less havoc and more simple goodness among this era's children.

Lucy said...

Yes, I've noticed that too; there are economic factors involved a bit, but mostly it's as the others say, less need to get out from under. I found myself shaking my head at my sister recently about my niece and her bloke, and saying, in effect, but don't they mind, hanging around with their parents and elders so much, don't they find it suffocating? But of course they don't because really everyone's so much kinder and less judgemental than they were, on both sides of the divide, which is so much less of a divide.

Odd how we bewail the apparently increasing cruelty and ruthlessness of the world but then observe the opposite in our own experience.

I don't think I see less drive in many of my younger relatives than I and many of my contemporaries had, but the drive is perhaps channelled differently.

Hope you're snug and warm and strong in courage in your new place before too long.