A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Solstice

Actually, it wasn’t funny. At all. It was a gigantic freaking bummer. I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh about it in a month or so. I mean, last night I was 12 kinds of disappointed and 7 kinds of pissed off, and now I only feel generally annoyed. Progress!

In the midst of trying to create a meaningful tradition for our family, brainstorming that has mainly led to keeping lists “for next year”, I hedged all my bets on our outing for Solstice eve. I started the day with little presents for Fern and Jeff in bed, while we ate mandarin oranges and Fern left the half chewed carcasses on my side of the bed, where they seeped into the sheets so it looks like someone had an accident. The rest of the day was low-key, with a mid day surprise of a care package from Grandma and Grandpa Timmins (Hi Kathy! Hi Mike!). No reason to do much else, because our little excursion was going to be The Best.

~Our care package included a gingerbread bear made with love, with Fern’s name on it and candy eyes and nose. Fern immediately began to pick off the face and only looked slightly startled when I added characterization, “Oh my eyes! AAAAh!! I can’t see! Oh the humanity!!”. She looked at me puzzled and said, “What’s that?” which means “Good grief mother, what ARE you doing?”. It was hilarious, but I forced myself to stop so she could MURDER her cookie in peace.

~My little love gladly shared her sadistic pleasure.

Round ’bout a quarter to three, we rounded up the posse to head out to Turtle Rock. A little over an hour down south in the Santa Cruz Mtns, Turtle Rock is a site historically (and possibly still) used by the Ohlone to mark the Winter Solstice. In a similar vein as other neolithic stone constructions, Turtle Rock has a crack in the top that aligns with the sunset on Winter Solstice. It’s off the beaten path, but I still expected a small, cheery gathering and was so jazzed to deepen our experience of the seasons with local history. It was going to be Just The Thing. It would be the Beginning of Solstice Traditions to Come. In essence, I Put All my Sun Eggs in One Basket.

And then we got a flat tire.

A certain amount of pain- in- the- assedness can be expected to strike at any time from the Fickle Finger of Fate. But you see, I did feel that recently I had dealt with my share, at least for the next few months or so. Exactly one week before, my car had been in the shop for a crappy wheel baring. I got it back after a couple of days and it immediately got a flat tire. We then realized we had to get all new tires. Lotsa time, lotsa money, but at least we felt that our trip down to So. Cal for Christmas could be driven in safety.

I don’t know what happened. There was nothing in the road. But all of a sudden there was a “Ka Klunk, Ka Klunk, Ka Klunk” sound. Jeff said, “Don’t worry, it’s probably just a branch stuck in the undercarriage.”. I pulled over on the sketchiest little turn out on the windiest little road and we were witness to a loud, “SHHHHHHHHHHH” coming from my brand new tire as it leaked out it’s life. There was no nail, no branch. Just a hole.

Fortunately, there was also a little service station just up the road, and we hobbled to it on the spare. I spent the next 45 minutes feeding Fern crackers and watching the locals pull up to buy whiskey, while My Hero bought a patch kit and after much futzing, we were re-inflated and ready to be on our way. Except it was 15 minutes to sunset and we had half an hour to go.

So. Cold.

I’d like to say that this is where we had a chance encounter with Magic and Serendipity and realized the true spirit of the holidays and we all got our wings as the bells on the shop door rang. But instead, we pulled over when we realized we weren’t going to make it, snapped a few pics of the golden horizon while Fern cried, “It’s windy! Want get back car!”, turned around and drove home. This could also be the point where our hearts grew three sizes and we all felt the bond of family as we understood that all we need is each other. Unfortunately, what I felt like I needed was to watch the sun set into some woo woo boulder because I had decided it was going to be the Star on top of My Tree. Nobody talked for half an hour as Fern shrieked in the back and I navigated tailgaters all the way to the highway.

Eventually the mood thawed as we listened to Cold Play and discussed topics varying from Louis C.K. to the moral compasses created by religious theology. Finally I said,

Me: You know what I want to do when we get our property?

Jeff: Not leave for an entire year?

Me: Yes, that. AND…get a giant rock and chisel a crack in the top of it to make our own goddamn solstice thingy.

So there you have it. Rule number one of our new tradition…We’re not leaving the f*cking house.

Happy Solstice!


11 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Solstice

  1. Man, that sucks! I gotta say, that is a beautiful pic of you guys. And I love Fern and her poor gingerbread man. My boys do that with theirs too (and chocolate easter bunnies, and chocolate Santas, and well, pretty much all the time) Hope you guys have a holiday filled with peace, love and light.

  2. you slay me with your humor. so sorry turtle rock didn’t work out AGAIN! let’s go there sometime in the spring and check it out then it will have met you and will pull you to it without any hassles next year.

  3. hahahahahahahahaha! this is the best post ever. it’s always fucking like that, is it not? it reminds me of end of the first scene in A Christmas Story, when th camera pans out from Ralphie’s house as they all get ready for work/school and the dad is cursing and beating the hell out of the furnace, and Randy can’t put his arms down and is crying and it’s just never the perfect image we have of our little families. fucking woowoo rock. i’ve given up on all my “it would be so nice if” and i figure when i am very very old i’ll get my woowoo rock and my clean rugs. right now it’s apparently going to be “get back in the car, pwease?” and flat tires. god bless us, everyone.

  4. It’s good to see you kept your sense of humor throughout that. Fern seems to have weathered the tire issues with style. You could put a smaller version of the rock thingy in the yard at the house. That way it’s portable and can be use for each of the four Solstices. Well, we’re one year away from the end of the Mayan Calender. I’m wondering what zaniness is going to be unleashed upon us by the powers that be. Nature will be giving us the ass kicking we’ve got coming for abusing her but our reaction to it will determine if it’s good or bad. Remember the rules of The Secret; there is no good or bad situtation, one’s reaction to it makes it good or bad.

  5. haha, oh no! what a solstice adventure. well, at least you got some gorgeous photos, and that’s what it’s all about huh 😉 haha. i like the idea of solstice at home anyway. i didn’t even go out for a late night walk. just stayed cozy by the fire and baked cookies. anyway, christmas and all its hoopla is really just one big solstice winterfest right! so party on my friend!!!

    good luck with the tires from here on out! no one deserves that many tire problems. cars suck. too bad i love road trips so much, ugh!!!

  6. Smiling. I know it sucked big time for you, but smiling because those memories are going to be hilarious when you guys sit back and retell it in a few years.
    PS Going nowhere with kids to celebrate is the best. I’m mastering it…finally…kind of. Ha!

  7. so weird. i recently had my car come home from the TIRE shop, only to see it had a big ol’ flat when i came out to it after getting home. we made the best of it by enjoying the tow truck entertainment. you made the best of it by rolling with it like the pro~goes~with~the~flow~lady that you are. i think you could teach a class on this. and you got the cutest best most beautiful family shot i’ve seen in a long time, possibly ever. AND you have the best plan for your future home! your own homegrown solstice rock. how inspiring are you???? (we just watched the episode on little house on the prairie, where pa has to go away to find work and he becomes a rock buster. he hand turns a large drill bit in rocks while another dude sledge hammers on the drill. i can’t wait for that post with you and jeff doing that! so yeah, you are queen of make~it~work, i declare…. and somehow you brought in louis ck to the scene to boot! i am so in love with you!!!! you’ve got good plans coming through the dream portal. it’s all in the flow and it’s all so beautiful and not always obvious, but pretty much always magical for you dear faerie friend, because you pay attention to what matters, without even meaning to. and, even if you are tallish, you are still faerie, it’s so obvious to me.

  8. oh dear, there was a little of your solstice in our new year’s day today–only i must take most of the credit for lack of planning. only THAT was kind of my point for the day: let’s just let the day take us where it will and enjoy the time together as we set the tone for what will hopefully be a healthy, happy, peaceful year…okay, now that i write that out it seems like we were doomed to fail. guess we need more practice with the expectations 😉

    as always, your candor is a wise and delightful breath of fresh air. thank you 🙂

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