T~ and I often sit of an evening and wonder when our ship will sink. Our move to Oregon three and a half years ago still drags heavily against our sails. One day we bob in a listless sea, and then the next an unexpected gust rattles our bulwarks. The relentless change wears at our strength.
Were we able to find more people with whom we could share these choppy waters, my wife and I might harbor more enthusiasm for life in the valley. But thus far, we have made only two friends. We meet and are regularly acquainted with many people here, but few with whom we want to share intimacy.
Of the couple with whom T~ and I have become dear friends, just a few months before we met them, C~, the female half, suffered side-effects of medication prescribed by her former physician. She can eat only a few things and keep them down. Her health swirls at the mercy of tumultuous winds.
Still, through all of it, the four of us have gathered every Monday night for longer than a year to share home-cooked meals, drink too much wine, and play pinochle.
They have a 1989 Toyota motorhome. T~ and I have a 1987 Toyota motorhome. Together, we began to explore the nooks and crannies of the Pacific Northwest, and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. We planned to revisit Puget Sound this summer.
Our plans are now moot. Our friends just returned from three-weeks in the Southwest. C~ had not felt so good in over a year, ate things she has not eaten for months, and kept them down. Returning home, her dysfunctional digestive and immune system difficulties returned.
Two months ago, in Hawaii, she experienced the same relief. She loves the islands. This morning she told us she will leave next week for Pahoa, to spend six months to see if her condition, which the doctors here cannot identify or solve, will be effectively relieved. If her health improves, she will not return to Oregon.
Hearing the news, my thoughts roiled with selfishness. There go our Monday nights. There go our motorhome adventures. There goes fifty percent of our friends.
Then I paused. Three years ago I abandoned my band in Arcata, and stranded fifty guitar, banjo, and music theory students in the quagmire of a state which no longer teaches music in the public schools. I left a twelve-hundred-word hole on the editorial pages of Arcata’s local newspaper.
Change is inevitable, but life is like water. Where there is an omission, life fills in the gap. Sometimes, though, the infill is effected by us.
With all the changes that continue in T~’s and my life together here in the Valley, we looked at each other this morning with a strange realization.
We have not yet dry-docked, have so far only dropped anchor in the Valley, and the rope which holds us here continues to wear and fray. In our favor, I can read the stars, and on more than several occasions have managed to navigate us through the narrowest of straits.
It does seem the winds are gaining more strength than we can weather at a standstill. In rough seas, it is safer to be in open water.