Sunday, March 23, 2014


Early days of spring: the air has that bright, scrubbed feeling; the breeze still cold. We went to the Imperial Palace at Gosho today, walked around in a grove of blossoming plum trees until the kids whined and clung and begged to go to the playground. Bless their little oblivious hearts -- they can't appreciate the sublime beauty of flowering trees and early spring light.

I haven't been able to write anything about our life here... Every time I try, it seems preposterous, vain, loaded with haughtiness. And yet I read other peoples' blogs voraciously, desperate for the details of their lives.

I had a dream the other night that a friend asked how it had been living with my family in OUTER SPACE. It was hard, I effused, and described living in zero-gravity and how challenging it was to acclimate to Earth's atmosphere on the way home.

Even my subconscious is hyperbolic.


We took a walk after dinner in the twilight, to return the pine branches we used for our Christmas tree to the mountains, and it was so quiet and humid and soft, the kids giddy to be outside in the growing dark. I feel it too -- like I'm coming out of the long tunnel of winter, finally able to see what I'm looking at.

The warmer weather makes me suddenly want to be deliberate. I will take more pictures! I will be descriptive! I will try nihonga! I will notice my life! 

All winter I have been simmering in the resentment of Not Knowing What Is Going On, and it occurs to me now that I don't have to orchestrate anything grandiose or full of purpose. A picture is emerging anyway, whether or not I write it down or paint it out.


Auden graduated from Kindergarten, speaks Japanese in the most adorable Kansai dialect, is dead-serious about anything having to do with directing and/or performing, and is also suddenly interested in science.

Isla prattles on and on, paragraphically, in English as well as something that sounds just like Japanese but isn't, quite. She is a dreamer, a dally-er, an enthusiastic describer of nonsensical details. We are constantly telling her to stop shouting.

We ride our bike-for-three every day, me sandwiched between them, huffing and puffing up hills while they argue about song lyrics and discuss the characteristics of momentum. They blow kisses to gaggles of schoolgirls, which results in a collective squeal of delight and is endlessly amusing.


Six months here, four to go. The amount of time it takes for my heart to anchor, my brain to find its patterns and cling for dear life.

Day after day: put away the futons, step down into the kitchen, make the coffee, send the kids off, ruminate over colors, collect the kids, squabble and laugh, make the dinner, protest and cajole, put out the futons, read the stories, breathe and rest.


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