Thursday, July 02, 2009
The main reason for our "vacation" this week of all weeks, is that Sisters is an hour away from my extended family's annual 4th of July week reunion. 42 years in a row, and going strong.
Each day the gathering grows, the river gets warmer, the mosquito bites and sunburn lines increase. Most of these cousins I don't see all year, but when we meet up at WUG, we pick up right where we left off. We stick our now middle aged bodies into old swimsuits, apply the SPF 50, the spray with DEET, and grab a floatie. We slog through boggy water and duck under willow branches to climb to the top of the property. We 1-2-3 jump into the Little Deschuttes river and float away the last year of our lives for each other to hear, and the river to wash clean.
Beer O'Clock comes early and we move ancient folding chairs into the water and enjoy the best of both worlds: half submerged, half basking in the sun. Talk moves from surface to deeper layers as the week progresses.
We watch as our beautiful teenage daughters canoe upstream. Standing up. We remember when we were those girls, coming to WUG in between years of high school, in between childhood and adulthood, in between innocence and harsh reality.
I tell a cousin of my year - my "successes" my "failures," my hopes and dreams for the year to come. "I need a project," I say. "I need something that takes my mind away from the day-to-day minutiae, that betters the world, that makes a difference."
"I affirm that in you," she says.
And just like that, I feel affirmed, and although I know I don't need another to affirm me, I soak it, and the love all around me, up like the hot July day.