It’s been seven years since Kris first visited me here in Bloomington, Indiana. (I’ve seen her a number of times in Seattle since then.) Seven years ago she was with me only overnight. And it was hot out, and muggy. We didn’t do much. She and her husband Matt had to leave early in the morning.
My puppy Emma had just died, which is how the two of us know when she was here last! Plus, she reminded me, She and Matt had a paranormal encounter with Emma, and another with the spirit of my late husband Jeff, in the middle of the night that blew them both away. . . .
This time she was here alone from late afternoon Sunday until 10 AM this morning, and boy, did we have fun — talking (including checking out current transits to her astro chart, and recounting hilarious family memories), weeding in our Green Acres Village garden with pod mates Rebecca, Justin, and Chris yesterday morning, hiking (in the Brown County State Forest) with puppy Shadow yesterday afternoon, eating Sunday dinner out on an Indian restaurant’s porch during a massive downpour and lunch yesterday at nearby Lennie’s (sharing my favorite, roasted veggies), topped with a final dinner, last night, here at home with my son (and her nephew, though only nine years younger) Colin Cudmore, for which we pulled lettuces and onions and beets from the garden for humongous salads with all sorts of other stuff added.
Oh yeah, and we walked the beautiful Indiana University campus this final morning, before she took off for South Bend, where she is to enter a retreat with others in her position from across the country, for the next two days.
Krissy is the youngest of our large brood of eight kids, six sisters and two brothers. At 62, she is 15 years younger than me, the oldest. Her birthday opposes mine; so she’s a Gemini. Plus, her Saturn opposes her Sun, which puts her Saturn on my Sun and Ascendant! . . . So, in some ways, I feel like our roles are reversed, with her as the responsible elder (Saturn), and me, the ever-errant younger sister!
Yesterday morning, after breakfast on the screened porch, we asked housemate Dan to take our first photo of this visit, a classic hug showing, as usual, her physical superiority. But this time, she did NOT pick me up, and I did NOT sit on her lap.
We have similar values and roles in society, both of us always working to build community. But my work has been situated at culture’s edge, whereas Kris has been deeply enmeshed as a change agent with an official position in one of the world’s largest, most unyielding bureaucracies.
Her work has been wearing her down. How could it not? And yet she can still have fun. Like last night, when we had dinner with Colin, and again asked housemate Dan to photograph us afterwards.
First, this shot, which Kris and I both detested. “Why is your face like that?” We both cried out.
“Well, whenever I know my pic is being taken, I can’t smile.”
After our 24 hours together, Kris and I were more than a team, we were invincible.
The very next instant . . .
Not sure when I’ve last laughed so hard.
When Kris started to leave this morning, opening her front car door in the driveway after packing her stuff, puppy Shadow sat at the window staring out, his little “ruff ruff” signaling that he wanted something. So I let him out; and he ran down the steps and up to her and stood still while she petted him, murmuring. Then he turned to look at me; then he turned back for a few more moments of communion. Then, reluctantly, but definitively, he turned around and slowly headed back to the porch.
“Oh! He wanted to say goodbye!” she cried.
“Yes, we’re all alike!” I agreed.
‘Twas a bittersweet, but inescapable moment, in our common journey through impermanence.