November came and went. The ginko down the street buried the still green grass in a blanket of brilliant yellow. The maples at the park had a banner year of blood red leaves. Even the oaks seemed brighter than usual.
We cleaned the house for showings. I knocked little items off the bus to do list. We took a trip to Augusta, GA. I inadvertently taught my son to cook.
We keep busy.
I’ve never been a big fan of waiting. I should preface that by saying that idling is not waiting. Waiting is the opposite of living. Waiting never ends. You’ll always be waiting. Waiting for things to change. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for your proverbial ship to come in. Waiting is an alternative to living, a safe alternative that doesn’t require any of the risk and uncertainty and pain of actually living.
The secret to getting yourself out of this sort of deferred life thinking is realizing that there is nothing to wait for; there is only the living you’re not paying attention to right now. I don’t want to live like that, waiting for some imagined future. That’s not living. I want to live.
The days have turned cold and gray around these parts. Clouds settle in with a very Portland-esque determination about them. The world is moving into winter, you can see it, you can feel it. The blue birds are passing through, flashes of rusty red and blue feathers dart between the leafless branched of trees already settled into their long winter rest. Most other birds have gone to points south. Only the hardiest remain, the Carolina chickadees, the tufted titmouse, the occasional downy woodpecker.
None of the birds are waiting. Neither are the squirrels constantly scurrying around the yard. I can’t tell if they’re already digging up nuts or still stashing more away. But it’s clear they’re not waiting. There is nothing to wait for, there’s only today and the increasing need for food that the winter cold brings. Though I think that’s a far bleaker way to put it than the birds would could they talk, at least judging by the playfulness they same to have in spite of the cold. Perhaps even because of it. After all, everything else is gone, which means less competition, fewer hawks in the sky. Perhaps winter is the best time to be a chickadee.
Winter is definitely not the best time to work on a 1969 Dodge Travco though. There’s no heater, not in the dash, not in the cabin. There is, however, a couch now, and it converts to a bunk bed. Okay, I still need to order the foam for the couch cushion and get the whole thing recovered, but I finally have a place to sleep at least. I’ve also finished up the kitchen, installed an entirely new propane system and slowly, meticulously sanded down the dash in preparation for a fresh coat of paint (or possible gel coat, still undecided).
The long winter nights mean less working time in the bus though. We seem to spend more time cooking in the winter. My daughters have been helping cook since they were around two. However, because they spend so much time in their own world, they don’t always want to help cook. Elliott on the other hand is sometimes excluded from the world of his sisters and therefore spends more time in the kitchen than they do.
One night he pulled a chair up to the stove and I let him help with some risotto. Now every meal he’s in the kitchen, dragging his chair up to stove. “Me, cook.” This morning he cooked the sausage. I put it in the pan and broke it up so it was easier to stir, but he did the rest and told me when it was done. I told him when it wasn’t pink anymore it was done. Then he scoops a few bites sausage out of the pan and onto the cutting board to cool.
Of course nothing pulls the girls out of their own little world like noticing that someone else has carved out their own little world, especially if that someone is their bother. So I end up starting a few pans of food and turning them over to the kids while I drink coffee and stare out the window at the chickadees, wondering when the warmer weather will arrive.