“Because we all love imperfectly.” ― Elizabeth Strout
They were ready to burst out the door as soon as I forced myself awake, but I made them wait while I tried to wake up with a cup of coffee, our first morning, back in this quiet, remote house. And then we left, climbed the dirt road in the warm, muggy, early morning, not seeing a soul, and we turned onto the trail into the Menemsha Hills, passing the fragrant pepperbush in bloom on both sides of the narrow trail, tripping quickly over the rocks in the dirt. And then we stopped to see the view of Vineyard Sound from the lookout, and kept going, down, down, down in the morning, and finally, to the wooden stairs onto the rocky beach. And then we walked over all the beach stones, over the clay spillage from the cliffs, softening our feet, and past the brick chimney and the fresh brook and kept going to the Great Rock, and even beyond until we met private beach and turned back, now for my solitary swim at the great rock while the dogs watched. The water was fresh-cool and very still and the gulls and the geese gathered on all the rocks. The dogs had cookies for waiting well and watching, and I listened to The New Yorker’s “Writer’s Voice” podcast: Elizabeth Strout reading one of her new Olive Kittredge stories, “Motherless Child.” Her newest novel, Olive Again, will be published in October, and the story, read by the author, was just the right tone for the morning by the sea. We walked home, we were gone a long time, just right, and I felt so relaxed and peaceful for this day: just my husband and son and our dogs for the moment. And we took friends in town to Lucy Vincent Beach, and they had two delightful red-headed children I’d never met, and when they got in the car I knew how much I had been missing being around children! Five and seven were their ages. As soon as we got to the beach I took them on a walk and we had pails and I showed them how to gather some of the dry clay in the sand spilled from the cliffs and moisten it, and of course, they were thrilled and fascinated and wanted to make their sculptures, and I got to play. Tonight, after dinner, we took the dogs to Menemsha for ice cream and sunset. As we walked the pier I found myself spontaneously taking a deep breath; a very very deep breath down to my belly, and I realized, this breath was a transitional breath. It was the breath of having arrived at peace and joy and rest and bliss. The Elizabeth Strout quote about love speaks to me very much today. Because I know how much I love the special people, family and friends, in my life, and how this love is never perfect, it is always flawed, and I am flawed, and love and how it is real and flawed and imperfect is still very very good and good enough.