Monday, January 19, 2009

I've been here before

Seven years ago, Brian and I went with friends to the benefit concert that John McCutcheon does every year for Santa Cruz's Resource Center for Nonviolence. Actually, he does two concerts, an evening one and a daytime one, and for one reason or another we ended up at the Saturday morning concert with our friends Brian and Chantal, and I think we were all surprised to find ourselves in the middle if a family concert. We had fun and enjoyed the music, but we were seriously out of place there, all of us in our early twenties, just married, and childless.

This year, though, as I sat beside Chantal and listened to the music, while Brian and Brian chased our little girls around the church (perhaps they are a little young yet), I realized that now we definitely fit in a little better.

We were lucky, too, that Saturday was such a beautiful day. We sat in the sun outside the church afterwards, snacking and visiting and letting the little ones play. It didn't feel like January, and it didn't feel as though much time had passed since the last concert, except I think I am even happier now than I was then.

Finally, our friends left to take their baby home for her nap, and Brian and I realized that it was too gorgeous a day to live Santa Cruz just yet. Hesitantly, feeling a little silly, I suggested to Brian that it had been nearly exactly ten years since our first date, it might be fitting to go to the same restaurant for lunch--especially because it was near the beach and probably had patio seating. He grinned and immediately called Palapas to get directions. (Actually, he called and asked if they were open, if they had outdoor seating, and how to get there. I laughed, wondering if they wondered how they even existed since we obviously knew so little about them.)

We had a lovely lunch. Adriana was a good behavior, the table had a view of the water, and the food was yummy. Afterwards, we skirted the resort and walked down to the beach, Adriana chasing and stomping on her shadow as we went, to the great amusement of some of the people eating outdoors at the resort restaurant. There are days when I realize I need to put the camera down, and not live life from behind it, but I do regret that I had left the camera in the car when we went to the beach. It wasn't the first time Adriana had been to the beach, but it was the first time since she'd gotten over her anxiety about sand. We all took off our shoes and rolled up our pants (we really hadn't planned for this). I wish I had a photograph of her tentative steps on the sand, and then of Adriana and Brian making their way down toward the water, side by side, shadows stretched out long behind them; a picture of Adriana and me snuggling and singing "Puff, the Magic Dragon," as we looked out at the water and one of Adriana burying Brian's feet in the sand. I wish I could have recorded the beautiful plants on the faces of the cliffs, and the reflection of the late afternoon sun on the bay. And there are impossible pictures: one of Brian and me scrambling to get Adriana, ourselves, and all our things out of the way as we realized we'd sat down a little too close to the water, and one of her holding on to both our hands as we made our way back up the beach to go home. But the camera was in the car, and instead of focusing on taking photos, I was focused on Adriana and Brian, and in a way I need the photos a little less because of that.

At the end of Saturday's concert, Mr. McCutcheon spoke about the next day's "We Are One" concert, saying that he'd called Pete Seeger to tease him about singing on the Mall to support a President for once, and to ask what he would be singing. And then everyone there in the church sang the song, "This Land is Your Land," but all day long it was Pete Seeger's song "Circles" that was running through my head:

All my life's a circle, sunrise and sundown
Moon rolls through the nighttime till daybreak comes around
All my life's a circle, still I wonder why
Seasons spinning 'round again, years keep rolling by

Seems like I've been here before, can't remember when
I got this funny feeling we'll all be together again
No straight lines make up my life; all my roads have bends
No clear cut beginnings, so far no dead ends

I've met you a thousand times, I guess you've done the same
Then we lose each other; it's like a children's game
But now I find you here again, the thought comes to my mind
Our love is like a circle; let's go 'round one more time

No comments: