Whenever I see Carlos moving about the boat yard, fixing or cleaning something, an image comes to mind from history books and stories and old movies. He’s like the career soldier, back in a time when soldiers marched and dug ditches and fought face to face, necessarily unromantic about the highs and lows of living, just doing, always moving, taking care of the necessary thing. Right now, Carlos is inching along the docks with a net on a long pole, fishing the algae and moss and ferns from the water. He scoops it out in long sweeps and dumps it along the row of cut back hedges on the shore. Carlos is in his late forties, a short and wiry guy, built to last, to endure, to get stuff done. He is always moving. When the rest of us are lounging around the picnic tables, drinking and snacking, Carlos prowls the yard, restless energy pulsing through him. He has a beer he keeps close, but its usually sitting on a concrete block or balanced on some stacked timber, while he prunes the trees, cleans the washrooms, washes his car again, then goes for a quick run around the bay in his small power boat.He greets and exchanges words with everyone, always interested in the physical tasks they are dealing with. “Your motor’s running good now, eh? Yeah, the guy did a good job. Lots of cleaning. It was old, he said.” He looks out at the sky, “Ah, it’s a nice day. We got it so good here.” And he’s moving again, with that restless quality of always wanting to see what’s next.
Yeah, the career soldier comes to mind when I see Carlos. A man who faces death everyday, and would be surprised to still be here after so long, except he’s not the kind to stop and think about it. If death comes, he’ll accept it like a layoff notice, but nothing more. There’s always something to do, after all.Rosa is Carlos’s wife. Rosa is as relentless and forward thrusting as Carlos in her way. But in her eyes there is an omnipresent mischief and playfulness that dances with everything and everybody. Rosa says hello and there’s a joke already forming, and a deep smile as bonded to that child you have inside you as you are to your own best memories of being that child. Rosa is rounder and browner than Carlos, steeped in round and brown she is, a warm bundle of welcoming energy. She keeps us all fed and connected and visible and laughable and smiling to ourselves. “Kirby,” she says, “Did you get lucky last night?” A raspy chortle bottoms her words. “I don’t know what kinda shape Marzenka was in. Maybe you shoulda woke her up.”
Rosa is so much like Ponczka (Marzenka) that they could be sisters. Women who like to keep things stirred up, who can’t leave anything alone, ever. I have such an interesting life. And how full of wonderfully interesting people, inspiring and beautiful people. And I remain in awe. That after living so long, and so often thinking I’ve gotten to the end of something, that surprises and newness are done, don’t I right then meet a human being who does being a human being in a totally new, never before conceived of expression of personhood. So bountiful this humanity, this worldIt was a great party last night. The Third Annual Vanguard Navy League Pig Roast. We had beautiful weather, food and music, a day that started mellow and opened up into breezes and sun bolts and summer ease. I invited a friend, John T. To sit in with the musicians I knew would be assembling. And I brought along my sax, even pulled it out three times this week, in preparation.
John T. Found himself a ready home here. When we got here, we didn’t know if there’d be a keyboard for him to play. But Chris got his out, and about an hour into the playing, what dya know, but a Hammond B-3 arrives, on a truck driven by a big man named Kid. Steve, another big guy, a natural performer with a tremallowed voice, led in the singing, and there was a steadily rocking guy I didn’t know on bass, and Phil on the congas. There were multiple drummers, including Peter, a twenty-something year old, who asked to sit early, and then hung around for most of the night.
K.B., our resident guitar maestro, joined in late and was brilliant as ever, and Chris joined on the keyboard, adding his nice flourishes. But my own personal surprise was discovering that Joe, with whom I’ve exchanged maybe twenty words in the years we’ve both been around here, is an amazing trumpet player. I finally met the guy, just yesterday, through his passion for his instrument and the music just came out. We got to lay into some smooth background harmonies together, and to noodle around a little on some breaks. But he broke out with a great solo, and then an exchange with Steve to finish off a piece, and had me knowing I wasn’t close to his league.It was a great day and a great night. The season’s change is so apparent when the sky starts to darken around eight. And there’ve been moments of Fall in the air. Next weekend I go to Cloud alone, that it, unless I take cat Rufus along. He’s the only one of our three that I would even think about taking into the country, but Rufus is so calm and self-possessed that...maybe it’ll work.
Next weekend I’ll be opening a kind of doorway, into being at this new place, and channeling what I bring into it. I want to write there this weekend, to use the opportunity of the quiet to create my own little Millay. That was one of the first thoughts that Ponczka had about Cloud – having our own little Millay, our own Art Colony. I want to build a habit of consciousness for Cloud, and the values of focus, openness, rest and of honoring things that are worth honoring along the way, which can only come if I’m aware.