November, 2006 Archive

Adventures with Ethan

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

A Walk to the Confluence of Warm Springs Creek and Big Wood River

What do you call a guy who does the Luge? Click mvi_7408.AVI for the answer. Then run the Quicktime movie backward.

Babysitting in Idaho 2

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Monday November 13, 2006 12:30 P.M.

Abel sleeps, second nap this morning. I fed, changed, carried, played with him since 9:00 when Amy and Joe left with Ethan for school. He got tired in my arms, turning to jelly, eyes closing. While I worked at the computer he sat in his rocker and talked, and when he complained, I just tapped the moon and star rattles.


Babysitting in Idaho

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Friday November 10, 2006

img_0107b.jpgIsabel is in the third hour of her weekly cleaning Joe and Amy’s house as I sit on the couch in the slant sun illuminating the back sides of the bare aspens in the front yard and creating complicated patterns on the walls through the many windows in sight. North November light.

Inga swearingen croons through the sound system. Four year old Ethan is in nursery school and ten week old Abel is deep asleep. I held, rocked, played with, sang to, fed and changed him for two and a half hours until he drifted off in my arms. As he relaxed, his body got heavier while his consciousness thinned and floated away–along with my own. Now he’s awake again. Only a forty minute nap.

12:10 Abel sits in his bouncy seat listening to the Bruch violin concerto. He’s waving his hands and feet, fascinated with the soft moon, star and blue dog on his toy bar. He stares at them, his own movements rocking him, occasionally furrowing his brow, swatting and talking, and I talk back.  Now the sounds intensify. They could lead to crying or just be self-expression, cheering at the ball game.img_0115.jpg

I have nothing to do but attend him. Behind the music, the sounds of the Spanish soap opera from the tv in the kitchen as Isabella cleans. We conversed a bit in Spanglish: she has five children, aged 22 to 7. She looks youthful and moves fast.

It’s three days after the election, after the national headlong plunge into darkness has been arrested, after the citizens of San Luis County voted overwhelmingly to approve a huge shopping center on prime ag land with no environmental review. I flew here for a week to provide some support for Joe and Amy as she returns to work.

Terry Tempest Williams

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Friday November 17 enroute Salt Lake City to L.A.

Last night Terry Tempest Williams spoke and read at the Wood River Presbyterian Church. The day I arrived in Ketchum, when I saw this event announced in the paper I’d bought tickets for me Joe and Amy to attend on our last night. The large parking lot was full, the sanctuary of the church, which houses Ethan’s preschool, is a large wood panelled cavern with side windows giving on a view of the dashing river just outside. I’d read Williams’ canonical ecoliterary text, Refuge, years ago and essays in Orion along with her collection, On the Open Space of Democracy. Eloquent and informative, her writing is driven by urgent personal grievings and celebrations, by the need to formulate dilemmas without resolving them, and by an activist’s unrelenting drive to battle for what she believes in. I would have gone out of my way to hear her speak in California, and yet here she was at the doorstep of our home away from home.

On the way into the hall, Joe and Amy introduced me to people of many ages they knew. I was glad to have nudged them in the direction of folks interested in writing and ecology among their own extended circle of neighbors, especially after talks about Amy’s community involvement on the board of directors of Ethan’s school and her strong opinions about the error of demanding twenty percent rather than fifteen percent from developers to create affordable housing.

ttw_reading.jpgTerry was introduced by a young woman who sat on the Ketchum Arts Center board that sponsored her talk in connection with a display of photographs on the theme of nature and place that I wished I had known about. The bad setup of the p.a. system made her hard to understand, and for the first part of the program I was irritated to the point of distraction that in such lavish surroundings and at such a pricey occasion, nobody was taking responsbility for the sound. Terry took the stage, and with an apology for shakiness due to diarrhea from food poisoning, sat down to deliver her presentation. I was surprised by her appearance, for some reason expecting a dowdyish presence from the Mormon wife of a contractor, but instead finding a svelte, blackbooted, silverhaired beauty.