Instead of the standard, “How are you doing?”, my friend Fran says, “How are things in your world?” It makes me think. So, how are things in my world? My world is full of beautiful, terrifying, anxiety ridden, spiritual things. You know, just like your world.
The last 17 days of my world have been filled with family reconnections and grandbaby care happiness. All this takes place on a small island town across the bay from San Francisco, California. Because our sons, their wives, and our grandbaby all live here, we visit often. Being with family makes my world bright. Family woes and wows grow and nurture my spirit and mind.
While here, Dan and I often rent a tiny house across the street from an elementary school. Watching school start includes a Jamaican crossing guard who wears a kilt, a funny mask and plays the ukulele as he shepherds the kids across the street. We watch the children arriving, the older ones importantly pedaling their bikes while younger children hold the hand of their parents or grandparents. We watch a man who always stops to let his grandson pet a friend’s dog.
After school involves going to one of several parks. Because we take our grandbaby to the park every day, we watch kids running toward the pool to make swim team or baseball team practice on time while other kids greet friends and eat their afternoon snack. Adults are here, too, walking their dogs or possibly playing pickleball. Just like church, everyone has their favorite spot as we found out one day when what we call the “Nannies space” was full and we moved over to what was obviously several small girls’ favorite tree.
We marvel at all these things because they are different from our lives. In a different environment, we look at what is around us, we set aside our list of chores, our anxieties about work, home or life. We exist. We notice. We breathe.
Eventually it is time to leave, to go back to our world, our lives. As Martin Luther King said, “We have been to the mountaintop.” We all enjoy the mountaintop, but we can’t stay there all the time. We have our lives, our responsibilities, our business at hand. We relax back into our space.
We come away, but we still remember the marveling, the joy. We try to retain that sense of awe in what for others is the everyday. We try to view our world as a visitor would. We have been to the mountaintop, it isn’t possible to remain there, but we hold close the knowledge that we will return another time.
Enjoy these photos from our trip:
Cindy Arp retired from Knox County Schools as a teacher and librarian. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell.