This morning Gary and I walked the length of the beach to the north. We were out for two hours. A little more. We started early, but it is a holiday weekend, and there were many people on the beach we didn’t know. Most of them had loose dogs with them. Several of the dogs were Golden Retrievers. Some of the retrievers were well-mannered. One barked and growled and ran at everyone. Like the rest of them, this dog failed to respond when called and, like most, was not on leash. The owners apologized for their dog’s aggression (genuine dog people would recognize his behavior as that spoken of as a “spook” and fear-biter) but the young couple did not have a leash with them, so they continued down the beach apologizing to the people their dog harassed and the dog continued to not come when called. It is why there is a leash law, for dogs like this Golden Retriever, whose behavior was not at all characteristic of that breed. Most of the dogs we met were perfectly behaved. The little King Charles Spaniel greeted me like a friend. I have pet her before.
I found some peculiar rocks and each of us found a small piece of glass. Last week, on an island, I found a half dozen pieces of glass, all thin and nicely frosted, none of which would have survived long on our coast. I found lovely pebbles there, a nearly spherical rock, and we will be talking about that trip forever. It felt like a secret place, that island, a magical, liminal space. I feel not quite comfortable about naming it. The grass is very green, thin over stoney ground. The sheep are entirely wild, and the world is silent and still. The view was so quiet that I stared for many minutes at a time to convince myself I was not looking at a brilliant photograph.
Here, our view is forever moving, the waves close enough to hear, sometimes, each tipping breaker. Mostly, however, it is a roar. Ruby once asked us to turn it off, that sound.
We spent Thanksgiving in an entertaining hotel. It was a good night, but there were quibbles. The homeless man in the sitting room where I was grafting Ruby’s birthday sweater together. He had recently been in one of the rooms, delighted with his shower. He rubbed his head with a white towel and rubbed his elbows with lotion from a tiny bottle just like the lotion bottle in our room’s bathroom. Harmless and cheerful, but he may have caused some guests to leave the room. Several hotel blunders made us laugh. Nothing terrible—two little spiders in the bathroom, litter under the bed—but enough that we thought I must write about it when we got home. Gary should be beside me, helping me to remember all the funny things I am forgetting here.
Instead, Gary is downstairs sorting through the folders, pamphlets, papers, and other items I have already sorted. A week or so ago, Gary moved 16 “bankers’ boxes” into the living room for me to sort. Yesterday I finished going through them. Student work and lesson plans, papers from 20 and 30 and 40 years ago. I reduced the pile of boxes by 75%, which Gary declares a success. He is going through my discards to be sure I don’t throw something away that I might regret. He insists I keep my horse scrapbook from 1962—racing results from Longacres and articles with horses clipped from The Seattle Times. I remember each clipping.
When Gary began resorting, I organized Christmas gifts, labeling them with post-its, identifying the intended recipients. That did not take long. I need to attach the sleeves to Ruby’s sweater and address holiday cards. My NaNo count is at 63,256 words, including a just-begun new story. I should be working on that.
We took a break and checked our Visa bill. Yikes! And they said our account “may have been compromised” and they are sending a new card. I thought we might buy some organic cotton washcloths and sheets online, but I’d best wait. I made a frittata for breakfast using leftover curry and put butter to chill in the freezer to make pie crust. Then I came upstairs to my grandmother’s desk to write an overdue blog post.
A moment ago, as I typed, two youngsters were playing in the ocean, barefoot, in November and in an outgoing tide. People worry me sometimes. Our ocean is not a tame beast. Those little girls were just outside my window, but thankfully they have returned to the rental house next door and a youngish man is playing frisbee with a slightly older boy on the sand.
Just now Gary laughed while sorting downstairs. “What?” I said. “Oh nothing. I love you!” he called up the stairs. He has found something ridiculous, something I did.
That butter has been in the freezer too long now, and I will have to take it back out to warm slightly before I can make pie crust. Gary asks for only one thing at Thanksgiving: pumpkin pie. The filling is begun. It will be dinner tomorrow, only a few days late.