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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weeds in the Grass

I'm in the throes of first love.

There are mole holes in the backyard and weeds in the grass.  Slugs crawl up the exterior walls of our house, leaving trails of a yellowish slime.

It has at least misted if not all out rained every day for a week.

And still ...

All I feel is love and impending sadness at the thought that we will be leaving here tomorrow.

I'll miss my son who now lives only a two-hour drive east of here.

I'll miss the quiet.  The lush green.  The rolling ocean waves seen faintly from our front windows if the fog hasn't moved in.

I'll miss the stands of alders and waist-high ferns on the hill behind the house.  And the creek so hidden by the overgrown foliage at the far edge of the yard that we only know its presence by the sound of it.

Perhaps especially I'll miss the me I am in this place:  calm, creative, content.

What do you most miss when you leave -- even for a little while -- the place you love?  Do you feel you are more yourself in some places than in others?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rainy Days and Slugs

Whenever I fall in love -- whether with a place, a person or a thing -- I tend to minimize the negatives.  Perhaps we all do this to some extent.  If we didn't we'd probably never fall in love at all.  And I've had enough experience now to believe that we don't love in spite of defects or foibles, but because of them.  That's what makes what we love human if they are, well, human.  And that's what makes them unique if what we love is a place or a thing.

I'm telling myself this as I get used to long, chilly rainy days here on the Oregon coast.  When my husband, George, and I arrived at the beginning of May our weather was glorious -- almost two solid weeks of temperatures in the mid to high sixties, deep blue skies, and not a drop of rain in this place where pretty much everyone told me to expect constant rain.

Still, it isn't the rain I'm afraid I won't learn to love.  After all, rain gives me the opportunity to cuddle up by a fire with a good book and drink lots of hot herbal tea.

I'm afraid I will never, ever get used to living in a place with slugs!  Slugs as, I kid you not, as big as cats.  Slugs everywhere: crawling up the outside walls, curling up under the ferns or the flowering rhododendrons, hanging out on the back patio.

No one told me about the slugs, only the weather.  When I look at them it's difficult not to recall the slimy leaches at the Wisconsin lake we went to every summer as kids.  They'd maneuver themselves from the bottom of our rowboat and onto our bare feet and calves when we weren't paying attention.  We wanted to boat, but we didn't like leaches.  I want to live at the coast, but I don't like slugs.  In fact I hate slugs.

I'm trying to remind myself when I see yet another slug, that no place or person we love is perfect.  It's usually the little things we dislike the most -- and I'm trying to categorize slugs as a little thing.  There's the proverbial raised toilet seat or the wrongly-squeezed toothbrush tube.  It might be beard clippings in the sink or the way he chews his food or loads the dishwasher.  You probably have a list of your own irritations.

I'm also remembering how once I was afraid of spiders and now I'm not; that I couldn't drink ice tea without sugar and now I can; how I was terrified to fly and now I don't mind it at all.  Perhaps I can learn to love slugs, or tolerate them a little, or love the Oregon coast despite the fact that I'm going to have to share it with these disgustingly oozy-looking, large things.  

When I learned about spiders and bats and how necessary and good they are for the environment, they stopped scaring me.  Sometimes all we need in order to change hate and fear into acceptance and even, perhaps, fondness and love, is knowledge.

I can put up with the rainy days because I know that without them we wouldn't have the lush, emerald beauty of the forest that edges the ocean here at the coast.  Without rainy days, there is an increased threat of wildfires as has been happening all over the American West these last few weeks.

So I'm wondering if perhaps I can learn exactly what it is slugs are good for and then like them a little.  I don't know.  But I'll do some research and get back to you on that.

Help me out here.  Do you know anything good about slugs?  Is there something you once hated and now you like?  Has learning about something changed fear or hate to respect or love for you?  If so, let me know in the comments.  I can use all the help I can get.