Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Musings, 01 September 2012

Good morning,

To my left, between two soft muslin curtains, I see a glimpse of calm blue. In recent days, I have watched waves rising taller than my beloved husband slam against him, and imagined, from my safe distance, his exhilaration at withstanding their thundering force. I saw his strong hand briefly rest on the shoulder of his life-long friend, a woman our age, both of them so familiar with the beaches onto which these waves break that memories have formed, and faded, only to be rekindled each year on the shores of Lake Michigan. The woman's husband and I sat and watched our spouses walk the waves, and were content.

I realize that I've been in this lovely place for more than a week. Sand dwells in the crevices of my shoes. My swimming suit flutters on the line. Grey shows in the roots of my hair at the carelessly drawn parting, but I pay it only little mind, giving idle thought to calling for an appointment when I return to civilization. I've only had one or two political squabbles with my conservative husband since he joined his sister and me several days ago; on most else, we agree, and for the most part, we've deliberately kept our breakfast dialogue to more pleasant subjects. Our children; the sand dunes; the sweetness of the morning air. Important stuff.

By mid-week, I divested myself of my umbilical tie to the office. Do you realize that I am on VACATION, I e-mailed my office after the tenth or twentieth small request electronically arrived from them. For the first few days, I had spent several hours each morning attending to my clients' needs, belatedly realizing that nearly everything I had done could have waited or been delegated. I told my receptionist as much, and sent a terse note giving guidelines as to what should be copied to me, and what should not. And then, I set to relaxing in earnest.

I watch the car ferry disappearing towards Wisconsin. I am charmed by the idea that the highway which bisects these northern states ends on the shores of this gorgeous resort and continues on the other side, with the cars destined to traverse it carried on the decks of the ferry while their drivers and passengers lounge and chat for the length of the journey. We are a stubborn race: we find a way to get where we want to go, even to the point of traversing one of the largest bodies of water in our path.

A man stops to greet me, having risen from the wicker chairs surrounding small wooden tables. His group meets daily, to drink coffee and discuss events of the day. He mentions that I should encourage my husband to join them on Monday, and I agree to do so. A hand stretches out to clasp mine. I am a stranger here, having only come for less than a handful of years, but this man welcomes me as though I am a life-long resident. Ironic, that thought, the thought that I am made to feel so wanted in a place that I have never thought to be.

On the porch of this old hotel, a camera lens is raised. I've done that, too: pointed the small eye of my cell phone towards the vanishing edge of the world, and tried to capture the stunning expanse and the awe in my belly. I upload the resultant image without any hope that I have done justice to the grandeur, and with less conviction that I can ever convey the power of what I see. I've walked alongside the Lake, and above it, on the high walk, gazing down over the tops of houses which they call cottages but which seem grander than the name implies. I stand against the railing and lean out far enough to see the flags raised over the sidewalk below me, and feel the sharp intake of my breath. I cannot say whether I have succumbed to asthma or joy.

I walked to the Lighthouse, and remembered photographing my son sitting on the wall beside the aged structure, a half hour or so after he learned of a friend's murder last year. His grim, stunned expression lingers in the place where he sat. I gazed the distance to the shore and thought of him, off in the Midwest, moving beyond the boy that he was and getting comfortable in his adult form. The world has turned a full round and I have returned to in the same spot, with the same shedding skin, the same slight wince, the same feeling of vague unease. The overlay of calm might be deeper; the cast of my gaze might reach farther; the inward peace might be surer.

A scant few days remain of my sojourn in this place. I intend to make the most of them. I will walk back to the cottage on the low walk, and find my husband. He has a favorite chair on the screen porch, and I imagine him there. I will take his hand, and walk down to the beach with him. We will talk of nothing more challenging than the evening's plans. The wind will rise to caress our faces. And I will speak his name.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Epworth Heights, Ludington, Michigan
01 September 2012

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.