Saturday, 3rd of September, 2016
Well, where do I begin? Life is off to a great start in Maine!
On waking I went straight to work with chores, but I am going to skip those details for now because the most prominent thing to share is that I swam across the cove. After years of doing laps in the Montclair town pool, my body craves this physical expression. I need to swim. As I stood on the pebble shore up to my thighs in water, I could feel the cold making my skin tingle. Elle and Cam had walked around the cove to explore a driftwood hut someone had made. I could see them on the water’s edge. Their bodies small in the distance. “I am going to swim over to them!” I said to myself. Without a second thought I dived in, surfacing with long strong stokes. It was a spontaneous decision and as I pulled my body through the salt water, my inner voice was delighted by the new experience. “This tastes so good!” I could feel the salt water healing my body instantly. All the chlorine that had seeped into my system felt sickening, and I knew swimming in salt water was going to cleanse and lift my whole being. Obviously one ingests only a small amount of water when swimming long distances, but when you are doing it daily, fresh or salt water is best. So off I swam, freestyle across the bay, as fast as I could. With eyes open, the water was clear, I could see the rocks on the bottom. I swam the whole way without goggles, looking in awe at this new underwater reality. It was beautiful. When I reached the shoreline on the opposite side, I was panting. Cam and Elle met me where I exited the water.
“That was hard.” I said, between breaths. “That was so much harder than swimming in the pool.” I said. Cam looked at me and seemed impressed for what I had just done. “It is because it is so cold.” He said. It was then that I realized, I was cold. I was covered in goose bumps, I was blanched, and my nose was hurting. I could feel it throbbing. “Brrr, you are right!” I said. “It was cold, and that did make it harder to swim. I felt seized up. I think it made a difference to swim in one straight line, without turning, like I did at the pool.” I stood there for a moment longer, considering if I should walk back around the bay barefoot, which would hurt my feet some, or if I should swim back across? I literally had to follow my nose, which was still throbbing and so began to tip toe awkwardly across the rocks. It did not hurt too much, although treading on the dried seaweed patches was painful. With a positive frame of mind, it could be considered chaotic reflexology. Let’s go with that!
As I came close to the place I had set out swimming, two ladies that had been sitting on the rocks where I dived in, where making their way back to the cars. We were crossing paths where a patch of glorious green coastal grass grew, which is surprisingly sharp to walk on in bare feet. One of the ladies began to speak. Her demeanor was so kind and gentle, she was like a school teacher or an artist. Acknowledging my spirit’s efforts.
“How did you get here?” she jovially asked with a knowing smile.
“I swam across, but it was too cold to swim back.” I said with a smile in return.
Right away, I felt appreciation for the way in which she engaged me. I know that she saw me swim across the cove, I had dived into the water right where she and her friend were lounging on the rocks like mermaids. “Are you from Australia?” She asked next. I smiled once again, thinking that she must have heard me speaking to Maya. “Yes!” I said, proudly with gratitude for being Australian. We talked a little more, she introduced herself as Helene and we shook hands. When her friend caught up the dynamic changed. It is always interesting to me how we are all like colors on a paint palate, and our soul pigments mix. While we felt like blue, the other lady was, like purple. These glimpses are so quick, you have to be incredibly aware, we are all in constant flux. I felt the energy shift and responded accordingly. “Tell me,”I said, “How much longer will I be able to swim?” The other lady volunteered that she had swum up until October, of which time, it made her head rattle with cold pain. “Well, maybe I will give myself two more weeks!” I said, thinking I would aim to swim until mid September and see how I go?
As the ladies walked away, I had a sense I would meet Helene, the one I shook hands with again. In that interaction I also became acutely aware of just how small this town we now live in is, it is tiny, and it is remote. I have lived in a town like this once before, Sitka Alaska, and as this familiar sense of responsibility within community settled over me, I liked it. When you live in a small town, everyone can know everyone’s business. You have to clearly conduct yourself well, and I like that too.
I took up seat on the comfortable rock the ladies had vacated, and went to work braiding some fresh kelp that I found on the water’s edge. I had been looking for this exact kelp the day before but could not find any. Then today, the moment I stepped into the water there was a piece, floating like a gift to receive. Marveling at my luck, I scooped it out of the water and studied it. Effortlessly I broke it in three equal lengths to braid. Holding the kelp in my mouth with my teeth, my fingers worked quickly. It tasted good. As I looked around, further afield three much longer pieces presented themselves. Sitting them to the side, I knew I would braid them too. Not entirely sure what I was going to do with it, I found the process relaxing. All the while I kept thinking… “Hmm, something with drift wood!”
Meanwhile, Maya had drift wood on her mind as well. To my side she was exerting tremendous effort to shift a log that had washed up on the beach. Perched up high on the rock I looked down, and there she was, trying to drag a large driftwood length into the water. “Will you come help?” She called out to me. “I am braiding kelp!” I replied, not wanting to put my project down. “Please!” She begged. Maya kept pushing and pulling that log with all her might and then finally I had to help. “It is my boat, I am going to sail it.” She said. The log was heavy and it took some effort for me to slide it to the waterline. Once in the water it was buoyant and lively. The way old dry wood comes to life in water is quite amazing. Rolling, turning, and bobbing up and down. Maya straddled the wood like it was a horse and began to paddle. I turned my back and climbed the rock to keep braiding kelp. A few minutes passed and when I looked up, there was Maya, part way across the cove, floating on her log boat. Cam and Elle were still on the other side of the bay and of course Maya had captured their attention too. My Mama mind had to question, “Is this safe, could she be pulled out to sea? What is the worst that could happen?” I had just swam across the cove myself, and knew that the tidal current was not strong, and that Maya is a confident swimmer, so I left myself relax and enjoy watching her adventure. When she reached the other side, Cam helped her ashore. At which point she decided she had to row her boat back across because she wanted to save the log on the sand again for tomorrow. I watched her return voyage across the cove, and when she reached me, the log was dragged back to its original resting spot. “I am going to name my boat Rose. What do you think of that?” I was delighted she was naming her driftwood log boat. “Oh that is perfect. Coastal roses grow all around this cove.” I said.
Her friends where there at the beach again today too, they played like they had come to know each other in some great depth previously even though they only met yesterday. Maya makes friends so easily. She starts making something or working on a project and other children get curious and come and see what she is doing, then end up joining in. One of the benefits of being creative!
I used the braided kelp to start a driftwood and kelp mobile.
After we left the cove, we went to a playground. It is a sturdy old-fashioned playground with a tall steel slippery dip, and a pair of wooden see-saws. It is the kind of playground that would be deemed as too dangerous elsewhere, but of course is a lot of fun! As the children climbed, slid and swung, I harvested vibrant red clover for tea. The seaweed along the shore is powerful fertilizer and the clover was some of the fattest, juiciest most colorful clover I have seen. “This is going to make a nutritious beverage!” I said to myself, feeling pleased life can be so good. Gathering clover by the seaside was magic in itself, but on a much deeper level, clover can be used for so many things. Clover makes a great women’s tea, and can be helpful for balancing hormones, and restoring ph levels of blood that is too acidic. An overly acidic constitution can affect a women’s ability to conceive. While my baby days are past, I am keeping it in mind for menopause.
The active day began to exhaust me in the most rewarding way. I had cleaned the house like crazy – I mean crazy. Swept, mopped, and dusted all of the furniture. Took up rugs, wiped down walls. Aired bedding. Swapped lamp shades around, de-cluttered, re-arranged. It was an epic effort, and now, as I looked down at the clover in my hands, I felt myself perfectly at peace and wanting to rest. When I entered the house, post swimming, kelp braiding and clover gathering, everything felt so good. Day two in Maine, and I was home, in both myself and this house.
There was very little in the fridge but I managed to cook brown rice and dhal with spinach for dinner. We lit the candles that sit along the large wooden table and as the sun began to set we ate our meal, looking out the window and into the bay. My goodness. What a great choice we made.
On a trip to town in the morning I had bought two houseplants. Having given most of our plants away last week, I was feeling lonely without them. My new plant was sitting on the table in my bedroom. “Time for some new friends!” I thought, regarding the plant that was now my company. I consider plants companions, but the larger significance sunk in too. “Yes, a new life, and new friends. But where am I going to get more plants from?” I wondered.
As we entered the plant nursery I was very much looking forward to choosing plants. We had twelve indoor plants living in Montclair and I had just given away or sold ten of them. We could only fit two small plants in the car and the movers could not transport them. I had tried to pack more, but I knew they would not travel well, so I had to let them go. As I walked around the plant nursery I could not find what I was looking for. It was slim pickings for indoor plants and suddenly I felt very sad about giving them away. Also, indoor plants are expensive here! I had selected two small plants and pots, which totaled $70. “I sold our umbrella tree for $20,” I said pitifully to Maya, “and it was huge!” My mind went into a spiral of regret that had to be quickly shaken off.
“Maybe I could organize a plant swap? Where we give each other cuttings from our house plants!” I wondered, trying to recall what plants Meg had?
While Maya and I were buying plants Cam and Elle joined the local library. Reading is Elle’s very favorite thing to do and she was so pleased with her new library card. Walking along the street towards me with the card in her hand, it was like she had been granted a driving license, she was beaming. It was a pretty library card too, sort of old fashioned with scrolling font and flourishes. “How was the library?” I asked Cam. I consider a library a measure of the community. “It was fantastic.” Cam said, “Really impressive.”
As I pottered around the house, Cam was working on his computer. For whatever reason I made point to stop in to see what he was doing. Our house sale was over, and he had just paid off all of our debts. “Wow!” I said, looking at the screen of transactions and numbers. A good feeling swept over me, it was excitement. Even though a mortgage serves a purpose, there is a wonderful feeling to be had, living life without debt. We hugged and I congratulated and thanked him, because with me not having a wage, he largely steers our financial ship. In that moment I truly felt rich and light. Funny how owning nothing can make you feel rich? Right now we are rich in choice, and my gosh, I felt like anything was possible.
Then, the most important thing of our day happened. We started setting up Bluebell’s new house. Bluebell has taken up residence on a shelf in a nook leading to the girl’s room. She now lives at a light filled window, and has a view of the bay, which she is very happy about. For Blue Bell, who owns her house, life just got a whole lot better. “Bluebell, what do you think of your new view?” I asked. “EEee, don’t bother me Kirsty, I am setting up house, I am too busy for your small talk! No small talk” she shrieked. That fairy of ours can be so persnickety.
“What was your favorite part of your day?” Elle said as I tucked her into bed. “Hmm, well gosh, so many good things happened today!” I said, thinking of everything. Elle is open to hearing almost anything, but I have to include at least one thing involving her. “Well, I think it was when you came to me, and told me you think you like life better without using ipad.”
Sitting at the table, writing out the grocery list, Elle came over to me and slipped her arms around my neck, drawing me in close. With her blue eyes looking earnest, I could tell she had a deep thought to share. “Mama, since I have gone three days without using ipaddy I have liked it better and I thought I would just go without it here.” My heart exploded. Elle’s maturity, seems well beyond her years and I often question how this child came to be so wise? Wiser than me that is for certain. When I think how I have struggled, and the drama I have created to lessen my use of a device, and here was Elle, so calm and sensible and serene. “Oh, that is so good to hear!” I exclaimed, taking her into my arms for a bear hug. “That sounds like a very wise choice.” Isn’t it amazing how the children know deep down what is best for themselves if given the chance to experience change.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue
3 thoughts on “15. Getting Settled”
I love reading about your new adventure!
And I can’t wait to hear about your girls and school. If I were to stop homeschooling I would put my children in a Waldorf school.
Please keep writing! 🙂
Gorgeous writing. Loved this!! ❤️
I like the idea of a plant swap. I have a very tiny garden, as I live in an apartment, full of very happy aloe. It keeps putting off baby aloe and I would love to share it. I’m sure you will gather a new family of plants in time.
(I keep checking back for the latest post. I do love your writing. Take care.)