For the past six months or so, our family weekend excursions have been a variation on the theme: Effort to provide everyone with fun ends with bedraggled members grumping back home after an outing that couldn’t have been more torturous if we had tried. In addition, our “Bippety Boppety Boo” has been off, and if there’s a logistical element that can get in the way…say, oh, timing our adventure before the arrival of nap time…it does, and the whole experience goes “SPROING”. Life has felt like an antique, cartoon clock, whose springs and mechanical bits explode every time we try to wind it.
The winds of change, however, are blowing through our lives. Is it because of planetary alignment? New magical methods of parenting? Stepping into the flow of the Tao and reaping the synchronicity that comes floating by?
Or is it the passage of time? Specifically, the passage of that period of time from 18mos to 24mos, a phase that feels equivalent to some point in adolescence. Whatever threshold Fern was navigating from baby to toddler has been successfully passed through, and while I don’t think this will have any bearing on the shape and form of tantrums, it does seem to mean that I come out of a weekend saying, “That was great! Let’s do that again!”. And whoa nelly, let me tell you, it feels like a bright new world.
I have never been to Angel Island, as it does not allow dogs, and this is the first time I have been sans dog in 8 years. It was a bittersweet moment, realizing we could go. Another step on this journey of my New Life Without Leo.
Jeff returned home, and we looked at the clock. Getting to the island requires
taking a submarine and a sedative taking a ferry from Tiburon in the North Bay. If we get in the car right now, hit all the lights and step on the gas…we can make it. Feeling brave and lucky, we decided to go for it. I continued to feel lucky until Jeff, who was driving, didn’t believe me when I said we should take the Tiburon exit, not the Larkspur Landing, where the other ferries were. Usually annoyed by the iphone, this time it provided just the right amount of righteousness. Which wasn’t very satisfying because by the time we turned around, we had 10 minutes until the ferry departed and we were 15 minutes away.
But oh those winds of change! We zipped through downtown! I leapt out of the car at the terminal and sprinted to the gate, just as the last of the line was going through! Jeff arrived with the kids! We didn’t have cash! The ticket booth stalled the boat, “They need an ATM machine!”. We procured cash! And toot toot! We made it!
Do I look stoked, or what?
Our two little niblets still mostly do parallel play, but moments like this make me melt.
The boat ride was thankfully only 10 minutes (I do not have sea legs) and as we approached the dock, I felt a little like
John Locke a Coast Miwok, about to set foot on the promised land. I will admit I kept half expecting to hear the sound of clanking gears and chains, and to see the occasional tree get ripped up from the hillside. (There are about 5 of you who are getting these jokes. You’re welcome.).
It was already such a good time!
There was a slightly unfortunate realization that getting to our event meant hiking 1/4 of the way around the island. Uphill. But what’s that on the breeze? Ah…it smells like change…. It also smells like bribery, since we knew that the event was serving hot apple cider and cookies. Fern could be heard chanting all across the island, “Hot cookies! Hot cookies!”.
The top of each incline rewarded us with another vista.
Mt. Tam across the Bay.
At the top, Leo had the excellent, albeit odd, request to “stop and climb for a bit”. Isn’t that what we were just doing?
Ah, but there’s a Trudging Kind of Climbing and then there’s an Exploring Kind of Climbing. Especially when there are good sticks to be found and a soft forest floor.
She insists on taking her shoes off in nature. That’s my girl.
I could have spent all day exploring right here.
But before we knew it, and with nary a tear, we had arrived at our destination. Camp Reynolds. Otherwise known as My New House.
My New Bedroom.
Right next to My New House was the bake house, where there were tables set up for ornament making, there were cookies in the brick oven, butter churning on a counter and the ambiance of my dreams. (Hey family, the kitchen was so reminiscent of Aunt Marion’s Camp kitchen that I was transported.).
I might not be in the majority, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who swoons at this kind of stuff.
There were the typical types of crafts…popcorn and cranberries, clove oranges, and then this:
I have yet to try, but I think we all should.
They also had the tops of tin cans to decorate, tin lantern style. I definitely will be doing this at home.
I even wore a really good outfit.
My new favorite little gingham dress: thrifted. Slip thrifted. Sweater, street find. Socks, Target.
And now, it’s time to go back to My New House.
Hello, Angel Island? Our local native tribes called. They’d like their artifacts back.
My New Wardrobe.
My New House comes with a Grumpy Porch Man who plays the Hurdy Gurdy and scared the bejeezus out of Fern.
There were many haggard Monarch Butterflies in the tree tops around the island. I whispered a wish to get a photo up-close. This sweet bedraggled one obliged, alighting right next to the Mean Music Man.
Our revelry was interrupted by the realization that we had 1/2 hour to book it back to the dock.
But of course we made it. It’s a brand new world!
Goodbye Angel Island.
“We’ve go to go back!” We can’t wait to come back.
Despite my protestations, I do frequently feel grateful for the beautiful city in which we live. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t want to live in a city, but if I have to, San Francisco is the best there is.
Happy Monday! (And it really is!)