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.