Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

Grand nephews Eli on the left, Isaac on the right. 

Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what's going on. --Pema Chodron

There are two posts I want to write today. I want to write about the truly wonderful week I spent with my sister and her family. It was great! But I also want to write about how good it is to be back in my natural habitat, here at the base of the chateau, in the sweetest little apartment ever.

The week in Oregon was spectacular. The disappointments were minor and had nothing to do with any individual. For instance, there was no snow up in the mountains, except on the peaks we could see in the distance. We had hoped to snowshoe by the lake. But the weather was spectacular. It was bright, sunny and crisp. I was able to take another look at a very bright Milky Way up there. And Venus - my goodness, she was so bright it was unnerving.

My sister and I have similarly mellowed as we've gotten older. Both of us are more relaxed with ourselves, hence with each other. We have always loved each other beyond all reason, but we have lived very different lives. Sometimes it's hard to even imagine the life of each other. At times in the past, our differences got on each other's nerves, but not this time. When differences arose, we were more curious than anything. It was great!

My niece Emily, her husband Brayce, and Isaac. Yes, Bigfoot, too. We were in his territory.

My niece is one of my favorite humans ever. I knew her husband only slightly until we spent several days together under one roof. He is grounded, kind, smart, funny and absolutely genuine. He's an excellent partner for my niece and superb father to their kids. The boys are awesome: wacky, shiny, smart, creative. I had a blast with them! At one point we had five or six paper airplanes aloft at the same time. There was a lot of running around, laughing - you know, mayhem. Finally someone yelled for us to stop. I got in trouble for having that kind of fun. Can you imagine anything better?

I could go on, but the bottom line is: we had a great Thanksgiving.

Crescent Lake

That's one of my posts. Here's the other:

When I was younger, one of my fantasies centered around living in Paris for awhile. I imagined my tiny apartment in a grand old building, saw myself with my string bag, walking to the markets to buy food. I envisioned myself sitting in cafes, exchanging witty repartee with the locals, cooking elaborate dinners for bon vivants, drinking wine.

A few weeks after I moved into the chateau, it came to me that this is my Paris apartment, right here on East Capitol Street. I live here as if in Paris, I surely do! My wish to live in Paris has been granted - and I don't even have to speak French! It's the best of both worlds.

Coming home to the chateau is never, not ever, disappointing. It's cozy, clean, warm and inviting. I know where everything is and do not live out of a suitcase. Ahh … home sweet home.

One of the gifts of being 60 is that I've had time to practice mindfulness over a period of many years. I really am getting better at being here now, at appreciating what's right in front of me, whether that's my Parisian life here on Capitol Hill, or being surrounded by dear ones in an unfamiliar terrain.

Life is good from coast to coast. L'chaim! Shalom.

My sister Hannah and me.


Steve Reed said...

I love seeing you with your sister! And her family, too. That picture with Bigfoot cracked me up -- at first I didn't see him, and then I was like, "WHAT?!"

You are living your Paris life -- that's absolutely true. Washington was designed by L'Enfant, after all!

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah! Didn't even think of that!

ellen abbott said...

At a family party at one of Marc's brothers' house who had a big bag full of nerf balls a little smaller than a tennis ball, I picked up a couple of them and bounced them off the heads of some of the people there. Well, all the kids and the young at heart adults grabbed handfuls and pretty soon there were dozens of nerf balls flying everywhere. Eventually, one of the not young at heart adults put the kibosh on it. But it was really fun while it lasted.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen - exactly. There was a loft in the cabin so we were not only sending them out over the railing, but trying to fly them between the slats on the loft fence. One landed on a window sill - we were so excited but could not replicate it. One landed nose first in a glass of juice on the table.

It was a blast!!