Hello my dears! It has been so lovely to be back in the Northwest seeing friends and family that I can hardly seem to sneak away for a moment to bust out some dizzy.
Being back on the island for visits is always a fine balance (which I often fail at) between familial duties and spending time with various pockets of friends. As I may have mentioned already, for the last two years my mother has been running an organic mini-farm on the three plus acres where I grew up. At the same time, she continues to run and expand a non-profit language academy and cultural center. Needless to say there is always work to be found and delicious produce to be munched.
The first thing I stuffed greedily into my mouth was, of course, cherries. Beautiful, shining, the color of a Mexican sunset, these were the little ambrosial orbs that I remembered so fondly. And thanks to some 30 pounds waiting in splendor within the fridge, I won’t be left wanting.
My sister Jenny and I wasted no time in setting up what can only be described as “farmers” croquet (obstacles to avoid include: lawnmower, picnic table, BBQ). Nearly the entire green is the rough. After I quickly made mince-meat out of her (rematch Jen?), we dug out an old, moth-eaten badminton net. A summer tradition, our badminton “games” are somewhere between imitation pro-tennis, and arguments that would do a debate team proud. Suffice to say with no back boundaries and often faulty score keeping, our games are never dull.
The farm is home to two cats, a warren of rabbits, and a huge flock of chickens. Sadly, the flock was recently thinned by a particularly ambitious raccoon. As the lone survivor of her brood, this poor little black hen saw her mother, father and siblings massacred. The upside is that she is now very affectionate towards her adopted human family. Perhaps we shall call her “the hen that lived.”
My first day was made even more wonderful by the surprise visit of an old family friend. An ex Zen monk (if there is such a thing), Mark, and a few of his fellows at the time, had an influential and steadying effect on my late childhood. Now based in Germany, I was lucky enough to catch him on a brief island stay.
As is tradition, he prepared a rich, frothy green tea called matcha for all of us. Sitting in the dappled sun, nibbling apricots and cherries and sipping on the matcha’s seafoam lather was nothing less than pure contentment.