Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cambria Palms Motel


This is the motel across the street from our house. Next to the Venus Arms Apartments. I love this rundown, ramshackle place. It is home to a couple of our periodically homeless guys when they are flush and can pay for a week or two. Most everyone else stays a night and then hightails it to the Creekside Inn next door or anyplace else they can find. Not that it's bad, it's just kind of old and flat and depressing.


Today it is raining. Our only day off together this week and we've sworn off going into town every weekend, so we're just hanging out. I'm playing with my photographs and Yolie is out in her studio turning some discarded object into art. The dogs are sleeping in their various hideouts and everywhere the sound of falling water is pressing down, calming and soothing us and making us drink another cup of coffee or tea and stand at the window and stare out and stare out some more.


I thought I'd make a list of things I love:

Our home.

My coffee cup, which sports a reproduction of a vintage coffee label "Ever-Fresh Coffee." The mug is squat and deep and plain.

The bay window in the livingroom, which currently sports a bust of Qwan Yin flanked by a bird of paradise and a bamboo. Behind her head is the lush green wall of the escalonia hedge that hides the front of our house from Main street. Right now the rain is falling in the gap between her and the hedge, giving the window a heartbreakingly beautiful sense of serenity and perfect motion.

The aquariums full of silent fish and gurgling water and green plants.

Our ancient douglas fir floors, scarred and mauled by eight hundred thousand dog claw marks. Black stains from old nailheads. And the most beautiful, warm glow from the old wood.

Swiffering that floor. A deep sense of accomplishment floods my body when I've swiffered all the dog hair and dust from my mangled floors. When I'm depressed I will swiffer six or more times a day. When I'm happy, I can get by with a single pass.

The quilts hanging up on our walls. Yolie used to spend months on them, hand dying batches of fabric, sitching them together in off-kilter rectangles, then quilting a mass of interconnecting spirals over the top. You have never seen anything like them.

The painting over the mantle. It's in sepia tones and shows a man diving off a oil-can raft into the dark, glistening water of a lake. He is in a full swan dive, suspended over the horizon line, poised between air and water. It is a hopeful piece. One of the few I've done that I am happy with.

Our big, comfy, overstuffed, dark chocolate colored leather sofa. It is amazing how many people and dogs can nap on it or watch Nova.

My wife's cooking. She is obsessed with making the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie. She is amazingly close to it, but I hope she never quite gets there. The batches and batches of "failures" are wonderful. She's also gotten me to like lentils, but don't tell her that. She does the same thing with food that she does with her art or her clothes. She can take the simplest ingredients and turn them into an odd, but delightful, experience.

My wife's face. Her limitless, dark eyes, her passionate mouth, the light that emanates from her skin. And the subtle scent she gives off. Like a shy flower not making a big deal about it.

The wonderous train wreck of parenting.

The gift of knowing other wonderful people, all engaged in the same struggle, all equally adrift and equally determined to make their way. I love seeing how they all do it. How they earn their small successes, how they fail and how they right their little boats when the waves knock them sideways. How they sing as they man the oars. How they sleep, huddled together in the hull as the waves rock them and as they drift through a night awash with mad stars. How the night holds them.

My own body. The strength in my hands, in my arms and back and legs. The way it still does all I ask of it, or nearly so. The way it can wrap itself around the body of my wife and shelter her. Give her a measure of its warmth and strength. A place to go to.

Okay, that's enough for now.


What's your list look like?



Blogger Lisa Cohen said...

"how they right their little boats when the waves knock them sideways. How they sing as they man the oars. How they sleep, huddled together in the hull as the waves rock them and as they drift through a night awash with mad stars. How the night holds them."

Thank you for this. It was something I needed to read today. On my list this afternoon--the robin's egg blue paint that speckles my hands and smears across my face after spending the morning painting bookshelves for my son's elementary school.

12:07 PM  
Blogger 666poetry-finchnot said...

your photos continue to scare me

you have such a beautiful
way with words scott

so honest

always a pleasure / a gift to read



5:50 PM  
Blogger Radish King said...

1. The way light looks at certain times. These days, it's around 4 p.m. when I'm driving home from work, the sky dark, the buildings of the city underneath golden.
2. Watching my cats stretch before they walk across the floor. Before they do anything.
3. The sense of wonder and sometimes fear I get from watching my son surf the wild Northwest Pacific.
4. The scent of my violin, under my chin rest. I always smell it before I play. Varnish, perfume, tears. Sometimes I put the ebony pegs in my mouth. They taste like the forest.
5. The feeling of an orchestra all breathing together, suddenly, during a performance.
6. My fireplace.
7. Knowing the Ho Rain Forest by heart.
8. My legs. My legs in gorgeous shoes.

7:08 AM  
Blogger deirdre said...

-the way my dog knows with every fiber of her being the difference between... get in the back ...and stay home and guard the fort
-the way she looks running at me full tilt, her ears, her short legs
-the feel & musty smell of my horse’s neck under her mane
-the first cold beer in my neighbour’s yard after a day on the range
-my husband’s hands
-the light just as dawn breaks & that precious hour that follows
-the house before anyone is awake
-the fire
-city lights from the hill, any city, any hill
-smell of the saltchuck when you’re heading north
-the jean skirt I just bought at value village for 7.99
-my mom’s laugh
-joking with my son on the phone – his laugh & mine together
-that humungous beaver hole under the fallen down spruce
-the feel of a hot sheaf of 90 pages of paper freshly printed off
-tucking in up to the log cabin to paint, scribble, drink & eat
-that bed up there with the big brass porthole cut into the logs

I could go on forever it seems, and I had forgotten how much I loved, thanks scott for reminding me.

and i never thought I would ask this question of you...but...
what kind of swiffer do you use?
the mop one or the dust one?

10:17 AM  
Blogger Pris said...

For this very moment, I'm loving this post and I'm loving the process of starting yet another poem.

1:56 PM  
Blogger LKD said...

My list?

Oh, hell, I'll just write the damned poem. (grin)

Thanks for sharing your list with us, Dish.

I've often wondered if people who are in love, people are genuinely happy take that love and happiness for granted. It's good to know that they don't, that you don't.

4:11 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Thanks for touching base with me on this. Paint-flecked hands are one of my favorite things to have, too.

It's nice when we can connect with what we love.


If I can scare you with my photographs....
I must be doing something right.



Good list, girl. You rock 'em like rock 'em, sock 'em robots!


I love your sketches and your way of being in this world, at least what comes across on your blog. Thanks for coming by and sharing.


I'm glad to have your friendship. Hope you are well.


I'm sure I take too much for granted, but I really try not to.

Love to all of you.


7:39 PM  

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