July 18th, Yes Meet Day 8



Yann returned in the morning courtesy of the Boyds and they entered just as I was making my re-entrance into the waking world. After a hearty round of "good mornings" I took my coffee into Curt's music room, had him set me up with a keyboard sound, and I began to bang out the introduction to "Perpetual Change." In an instant, the whole gang was crowding into the doorway, as if summoned, to discover from whence originated the deeply familiar, rhythmic melody. I would have insisted they immediately gather around and sing along, but I sensed it might be a little early to make demands of my friends. Although the musicianship in this group ran high, the desire to actively self-express at every opportunity was often lacking in everyone but me, so I was often on the border between helpfully encouraging the others and being a pest.


A group of us went out shopping to a factory outlet mall, but I stayed back, not feeling any pressing need either to add to my belongings or subtract from my savings. When the troupe of consumers returned Yann gleefully showed me a lively "fruit" necktie he'd purchased. My attorney-husband had instructed me well in the manly art of tie-tying, so I obliged, putting it on myself first, taking care to achieve the appropriate overlap. I then slipped the knot, removed the tie, and donned the bare chest of dapper Yann. It looked even better as a headband, I felt.


This was to be our day to travel to cross to see some of the natural wonders the Bay Area has to offer: the Redwood Forest and Pacific Ocean (this land was made for you and me). Anticipating the joy of communion with my Mother Nature, and also feeling so satisfied from being among dear friends, I didn't indulge in much of the lovely breakfast spread provided by Wendy and Sandy (California fruit salad: Mmmmmm!). I did enjoy a couple slices of mellow-sweet mango and grabbed some cold leftover chicken as we headed out the door on our adventure to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach. We mostly piled into my van again, Curt driving this time since he knew the way, Yann riding with Sandy and Darrel. We stopped at the secret location of Curt's work where I admired the Oleander bushes and borrowed a floral accessory for my hair. I noticed my shorts had ridden up and a cheek was showing, so when I saw the others laughing, I just removed my pants entirely so that the shrubbery could see me moon.


I sat in the wayback of the van with Chris, who had purchased a tabloid at one of our stops. He began reading headlines aloud to the rest of us. It seemed studies proved women were, in fact, superior to men! Attempting to win the woman in me over, tongue in cheek, I hope, Chris asked if he could be our (women's) obsequious slave. This was silly, I said, because the *reason* for women's superiority is that our role, historically, generally, has been to see to the needs of our spouses, families and communities and in doing this we have magnanimously transcended the need for the authoritative ranking of inferior and superior. Generously I said he would have to settle for being our equal.


Dawn had brought along a notebook of drawings and writings from her young daughter, Sarah, and wanted to show me some of the perceptive marvels it contained. I began feeling the absence of my children again, though, and tears welled up. I had to ask her to stop -- sorry, dear Dawn. Have I mentioned yet that Dawn has a beautiful voice?


As we approached the Red Woods of Muir, the highway became a higher, winding path through towering eucalyptus forest and mountains appeared decorated with misty waftings of white vapors. Chris asked me if those were real clouds. "No," I told him, "they're Sears clouds."



I was citing Frank Zappa ("is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?") but the reference was beyond the ken of the young Christopher Michael. I later asked both Yann and Curt if they'd have gotten the joke and they replied, "of course" and they even could say which album the quote came from.


Due to the place's popularity we had to park down the road from the National Park entrance and walk. The byway and I provided for everyone a taste of wild fennel -- or was it anise ? (Even the garden-savvy Sandy wasn't sure.) Inside we signed a petition for the preservation of primeval forests and ventured wide-eyed into spectacular shadows beneath towering groves.



Yann disappeared at the juncture to the gift shop and met up with us again wearing a skyblue Madras shirt which sported or sprouted a talltree monogram on the pocket. Dawn and Chris marveled at the size of the clover clusters and paid special attention to spying animal or dwarf or fairy "hidey-holes." They compared the deep feel of the ancient forest to Fangorn of Tolkien fame. Indeed, the personality of the trees made it easy to imagine the possibility of the existence of Ents.



At one point along the hike, when the embracing, patient power of the woodland was most pleasingly palpable, Sandy noticed aloud that it was almost as if the solemnity of the place moved us all in the direction of meditative awareness. "Almost?" I asked.


Fragrant wafts from Bay Laurel trees would assault us unexpectedly and the sun beamed in at times, inciting the camera shutters to open and close for poses beside gnarly reddish trunks and dainty lacy green foliage. I couldn't resist the urge to sing in the "cathedral grove":


in deepest woods and fern

young deer step light through the

morning mist

ascend the swallows

first light streams through the treetops

bouncing as the flowers illuminate



As we were leaving I asked the petition man if I could sign twice.


On the winding way out and downward towards Stinson Beach, I played for the others my audio tape of Paul's music, featuring Wendy's poem, "I Wish," our "Skydance" and some material of his own. I wanted to take advantage of our encounter with the woods to play them my "Treesong," which went over well, I thought, I hoped. Everyone was still a little quietened from the time among the holy groves. I began peering around the ridges for a glimpse of the sea. The sweet first sighting of the ocean horizon and lacework of waves from above is always a moment of moment for me!


We parked and the others walked as I ran to the waves and waded in. I often long for the presence of the sea from my Ohio home and I was accordingly smiling and observant the whole while the waters and I were near one another. We deposited Giotto Lady's offerings of sand dollars from the Atlantic -- sea to shining sea -- and collected others to send to her. I played Frisbee some with Curt and Chris again, but soon, heady with the saltsmell and wavesong, I began to drape myself in seaweed and walk alone along the surf, losing track of myself and the others, seduced by the setting. By the time I caught up to Yann who was way up the beach with Sandy and Darrel, I was dragging a big seaweed bladder on a string like a pet on a leash. When Yann graciously refused my seagift, I flung it around by its tentacle and it snapped back into the sea.


Wendy had lingered near to where we first greeted the water, up to her ankles in rolling seafoam, looking west, sensing the kind of moody emotion from ocean and sky and their mingling colors which sometimes transforms into one of her paintings. We began walking together along the glossy part of the strand when I found a feather, a quill. I wrote in large, lovely script in the wet sand,

d e a r * w e n d y ,*

and threw my arms around her.


Dawn had been collecting lots of seawrought curiosities for her daughter and I offered a dried bladder head for a possible doll with curly kelp hair. Then, implike, I placed it deep within one of Chris' removed shoes. Back at the van Dawn and I watched, restraining our laughter as Chris put his shoes on. He discovered in the first shoe his camera and laughed, having forgotten he'd put it there, then (the suspense was killing us) the kelp-haired bladder assaulted his other foot. The look of puzzlement at finding something in the other shoe was superseded by one of pure confound as he stared at the contorted object, not knowing what the something was. Dawn and I doubled over, laughing explosively: silly girls. Wild roses and honeysuckle perfumed the air and I provided for every tongue which so desired a single drop of nectar from a honeysuckle blossom.


Yann rode with us again as we left the sea, me watching longingly as the road turned and eventually left behind the last sight of ocean, lit silvery-gold in the lazy late light of the low-slung sun.



we fled from the sea: whole


I shook maracas to State of Independence, feeling complete and free albeit a little melancholy. Dawn and Chris were experimenting with motion sickness in the back while Yann made fun of them.


to move we delight

the motion decide


Curiously Strong Peppermint Altoids came to the rescue. Our arrival at Strawberry Joe's in San Raphael came none too soon, since we all were famished after the day's length and activity. We nearly ate the menus, everything looked so good, while waiting for a seating area large enough for a party of eight. As we slid in beneath two tables the waiters had rigged together, the leaf collapsed and fell crashing to the floor. We would prove ourselves similarly, noisily, joyfully, boisterously problematic to the waiting staff the remainder of the evening.


The food was perfect, the wine fine and flowing, the warm camaraderie the best ever. The bread pudding amazed me with it's flavor and I tried to share it with Dawn, but she had her own rich dessert to attend to. As we lingered to finish the wine, I expressed concern for Yann when everyone else began domineering the conversation with reenactments of all the best skits from Monty Python and Holy Grail. It was one of the FEW movies he hadn't seen. But he assured me he found it amusing even though he couldn't contribute memorized lines himself and Wendy said they would have to rent the film that week when Yann would be bunking at the Vigs', so that he could see for himself what all the bedlam was about. In the end everyone picked up everyone else's tab and I managed to gain a full stomach and some lively memories, all without paying. (Thank you so much, Curt & Wendy.) We made tentative plans to visit Sandy and Darrel in Santa Cruz the next day and said goodbye in the parking lot.


I chauffeured the party homeward, all of us drowsy and dreamy, full of food, wine, and warm feeling. Someone's suggestion to see Yann's hotel room went over, so we all briefly paraded in for a tour of his majestic premises. We lounged around in admiration a few moments and because it was so warm I felt the occasion called strongly for ice. We left Yann holding the bucket and returned to our own cozy accommodations. Wendy checked her e-mail for messages from not-so-secret admirers while I sat sewing my hippy dress on the folded futon beside her. Dawn was next to me and her voice lulled us with lilting descriptions of her rustic home in Pennsylvania, her orchard-yard, her devoted family.




only when you spoke did I realize

how you understand this life


I retreated to the livingroom, opened the blinds and slumber subdued me in the all-night light of the near-full moon.


my merry tale **** Day 9