"The wind will move around with the sun" they say here. Every day. Every year. And so it is today. A medium blue still sea, the clanking of small boats, a puff of wind tugging gently at the blue and white awning, a star spangled tablecloth where I write, a memento from the July the Fourth. The silver birch need to be trimmed so that we can see across to where the Myres live, in their little white cottages, where we spent many August birthday parties as children, tucked into the boat house or on the jetty, eating soft sweet bolle with goat's cheese and listening to American Pie.
Today we will go on a boat trip, not to an island, because mother isn't sure if she can get in and out of a boat that much, especially on unfamiliar, rocky terrain, but perhaps around the islands, with a picnic. My mother, who was the one most nimble on a boat, who would stand at the front, nut brown, in a pink bikini, leaping from the jetty to the deck with ropes in her hand, or tip-toeing around the side of it to put out the boat fenders, is now not able to walk at all without a crutch. It is the cruellest irony. She is cooking hard boiled eggs to take with us on our picnic, and I know she will enjoy being out on the sea, her sea, the fjord she knows so well.
The sea here is a trove of treasure; we pulled silver green mackerel from it yesterday and the day before, effortlessly, one by one. The first fish I've caught in perhaps twenty years or more, taken easily from the generous blue water. We wonder whether jellyfish is a delicacy anywhere or whether it has natural predators. Archie says that turtles eat them, but I have not seen turtles here. Swans. Canada geese. Terns who protect their nest ferociously, but no turtles.
I walked yesterday with my darling man, and the dog who is ours when we are here. He isn't ours, but my cousin shares him generously and at thirteen, he is giddy to go on walks, especially if there are farm animals. The weather is what you would expect in a picture book, seventy two degrees, blue skies, fluffy clouds, a little breeze, enough to move the silver birch leaves around so that you can hear them. There is farmland, small fields, cattle, lazy with the abundance of grass, oak trees, long straws of rye, butterflies, borage, meadowsweet, feverfew, yarrow. There is nothing to worry about. His hand is in mine and mine is in his and we try to think about things that concern us, and we can't. He says, you are quiet, are you low? And I say, no, I just want to lie down in the long grass with you, and we do, my head resting in the crook of his arm, and we both stare at the blue skies, with the dog beside us. A man goes by on a tractor and waves. A runner smiles. It's all fine.
We have to take these days and remember them. We have to remember how it can be. And so today we go in the boat, with a picnic. A mother, her two children, a grandchild. Into the giving ocean.