I did pull down a jigsaw puzzle. It says it's the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, although the castle-like house looks European. It was just what Nancy and I wanted, lots of green. In this shot midway through the weekend, my brother-in-law Rodger only has about 750 pieces to go. I don't know if it got completed after we left Sunday evening.
The kids keep us young. But they didn't stay as little as they were at the last family gathering. They keep narrowing the gap between short and tall. I wish I could harvest and store the youthful energy that was spent running, jumping, diving and swimming. Not that I know what I'd do with it if I had it. You also have to have something you want to do, and the will to do it. I am a sedentary person, but Don and I have decided we're going to start biking around our beautiful state. At least I can do that sitting down.
There were play fights. There were serious adult conversations too. Sometimes I think some play fighting as adults wouldn't be a bad idea, as long as there are quick peace talks, the way the A-team, Aden and Asher demonstrated.
There was sport and adventure. Eric, my tireless fisher-nephew, was no end of entertainment for his nieces, nephews and first cousins once removed. (Did I say that right?) But poor Lydia didn't have a stomach for the fish's pain.
Eric tried to show how to cause the least amount of damage extricating the hook, before letting the fish go.
We have gobs of love and joy in our family, but we also have pain, just like everyone. There is illness, there is heartache. In the cycle of family, new ones being born and starting life's journey, it's up to the older ones to show the younger ones how to not only endure suffering, but how to gather around each other, encircling and touching, even when we don't understand. We fail sometimes when we can't stomach the particular type of hardship we face. Other times the younger ones show the older ones how to do it better.
Life gets so messy. When you're at the cottage with 20 or 30 people, life really gets disheveled, and you're sleeping pretty close to someone else. You might be closer to the person in the next bed than you are to the one in your own. You wouldn't do that with just anyone.
We all have shadow selves, the parts we don't really want anyone to see, the aspects that cause us shame. But these are thankfully only part of who we are. What I saw this 4th of July, more than any other in memory, were some of the greatest challenges we've faced to the cohesiveness and flexibility of our big, and getting bigger, family. Look at us. We look like oddly shaped countries, with distinct borders, and big bodies of water separating us. The nice thing about being human, and not land mass, is that we can easily grab hands and shoulders and instantly thin the distance to a stream. One that flows between us and is easily crossed.
There is a Blogger issue I have reported at a forum, along with many other bloggers, that comments that get posted (since at least 9:30pm EST July 5) do not appear on the post. I received email notification of 8 comments from Mystic Rose, Gemma, Anna, Terresa, Delilas, Gwei Mui and rauf, but they have not appeared at this post. When I posted a comment about this below, it appeared when I posted it, but when I refreshed the page, it was not there. I hope you are not experiencing this at your blog, and I sincerely hope it is rectified soon. I am still not over the grief of discovering some time ago that I had lost at least the first year's comments at this blog, and also at Paris Deconstructed. These were precious exchanges with dear friends, including the first time rauf visited synch-ro-ni-zing, with Wordsworth's daffodil poem. :(
UPDATE: As of 11:30AM July 6, comments seem to be sticking.
UPDATE: As of 1:00PM July 6, some comments don't stick! It's a random comment stickiness.