Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot…

Well, my trip up to TrishaTruly’s was not everything I thought it would be, primarily because two days prior, I developed a sore throat that persisted and turned into a raging sinus infection. That, coupled with the fact that this Atlanta resident is not used to daytime temps that persist in the 40s, means we didn’t do a whole lot. Which is fine really. My goal was not to go up and be entertained, but even the simple act of lounging around was hampered by my inability to breathe or to summon enough energy to get excited over a nice bottle of Bordeaux.

Families are funny though; perhaps even moreso when you know so little about them, as is the case with me and my PA family. A few know the whole story, but suffice it to say that I didn’t grow up with Trisha or either of my half-sisters, though it’s too bad really. I think we would have had fun. It’s funny though to watch them all and how they relate and how they act and then to compare it to yourself. I imagine that this is one of those things you sort of take for granted when you grow up with your real family. For instance, my oldest sister is very uptight; perhaps made even worse by the fact that she’s seven months pregnant.  But she can be an extremely warm person when she wants to be and saddens me to see her the way she was on this trip.

Trisha is a very different person than she was when I first re-met her some ten years ago. Her life has been flipped upside-down and to her credit, she’s made lemonade, and lemon meringue pie, and lemon shrimp kabobs, etc., out of it. She lives in this great old house and when MLI asked me upon my return, “What does her house look like?” I was a bit stuck on how to describe it. It’s a simple home.  I mean, it’s not going to be featured on “Fine Living” or anything, but from the moment you walk in, you feel welcome. Her house and yard sits on the edge of…I don’t know how many acres of near-pristine forest, whose ground is part dirt and part granite outcroppings that just beg to be climbed. Walking, or even just sitting on her porch in an evening and you’re likely to see any number of deer or turkey out in the field, and as was the case my first night there, a pair of copulating raccoons doing it “high-wire” style while hanging from the power line.

My last whole day there, I roused myself and half-walked, half-mucked through the running pools of melting snow and made my way back to a mostly still-frozen pond back in the woods. From there, I worked my way around the water, using it as a reference and I headed back into the woods. Not too far–just far back enough to lose sight of it, and there, among the storm broken spruce branches that had been packed down by a few of the many resident deer as they rested beneath the trees, I sat on top of a large granite boulder and meditated on the quiet. It was unearthly still, accustomed so as I am to ambient noise from my daily life. But here, there was little to spoil the moment. No trucks, no music, no phones; only the gurgling of water tumbling from some hidden rocky creek bed, and the occasional “Ca-caw!” of a distant crow. I stayed there until I figured I was nearing the cut-off time that Trisha had given me before she considered me “lost in the woods” and launched a mini-search party. And so, more than a little cold and stiff, I rose from my rocky plateau and made my way back to the house.

It really is a wonderful place…the kind of place about which you constantly find yourself thinking, “I could live here.” But then, I also imagine that if I did live there, I would eventually take it for granted and that would be a travesty. Faced with increasing costs required to maintain a 100-year-old homestead, Trisha may end up having to sell the old place off, but I hope she can keep it for a while. As my family grows, I don’t know how many more times I’ll be able to venture up there to see her and the land, but I’d love to have the boys up there once or twice. There’s little to compare to it in Atlanta, and there is something to be said for taking boys out into the woods and letting them lose themselves in the simplicity of rocks, trees and wildlife.

All in all, health issues aside, it was a good trip, a necessary trip. And now it’s back home to wailing banshee boys and hectic schedules.

I can’t wait!

The Family (You Don’t Remember) Resemblance

 Weekend in PAI returned Sunday from a trip to Pennsylvania—Honesdale, PA to be exact—where I was visiting my maternal mother and my sister (oh ok, half-sister). Honesdale, in case it sounds familiar, is the sight of the parade at the beginning of the Gina Davis, Samuel L. Jackson flick titled “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” where Gina Davis plays a lowly-housewife jolted out of her hum-drum life only to find that she’s really a top-notch assassin with repressed memories. I give it two thumbs up.

At any rate, I made the distinction that this is my maternal mom because as many of you know (as if there were many of you) I’m adopted and have a caravan of family pieces scattered around the U.S. like goldfish crackers are scattered around the backseat of my truck. My maternal mom, lovingly self-referred to as “Bio-mom,” is a 50-ish aged woman enjoying a rebirth now that she and her husband (also father of my two half-sisters) have gone separate ways. She has a new boyfriend, a new hair-do, and has lost a number of pounds and has apparently sent them packing down here to Atlanta where they were delighted to find a DNA match for a new home around my waistline.

I did a lot of face studying while I was there this time, which is what one does when one looks nothing like anyone in their immediate family. And as one restauranteur my Bio-mom knew remarked upon meeting my sister and me, “Her…I see the resemblance, him, not so much. Must take after his father.” After which I simply sat and enjoyed the momentary noise of the crickets chirping outside until my Bio-mom filled the silence with, “He does.” Said restauranteur felt suitably embarrassed and beat a hasty retreat.

But it’s true, I don’t really look like my mother. I mean, perhaps there is some resemblance, but nothing like there is between my full brother or my two half-sisters so I really have no one to compare myself to.  Which I suppose is kind of good, unless I ever want to know what my hair will do by the time I’m 50 (I’m already going silver so I have a pretty good idea).

The weather turned nice and fallish just as I arrived and my mother and I suited up and took the bikes out on about a 15-mile jaunt. We kept up a pretty good clip actually, stopping a couple of times for a scenic break (the picture at the top is one break we took). I also got a couple of good workouts in at my sister’s house where her husband has set up a gym fancy enough to rival most hotels I’ve stayed at. So all in all, I felt good about all the wine and cheese I ate while I was there.

Monday morning I dropped by an old bosses’ office to say hi and I mentioned my weekend to him. Knowing that he is a recreational biker, I also mentioned that I rode about 15 miles this weekend. Then, as a courtesy, I asked how his weekend went and then I listened with increasing agitation as he explained how he did a 100-mile cross-mountain bike race up in the North Georgia mountains. Ah well, I guess I did ask.

I wonder what time the gym opens in the morning…