Just as my young writing students create their own holidays, my major-holiday-skipping friend compensates by inventing her own events, designed whimsically to honor those she's lost. Well last night, as we pulled into Astoria, OR, it occurred to me that without consciously realizing it, for the past five or six years, I've been shaping my own invented holiday. As of today I am giving it an official name: Blue Scorcher Day.
|Self-portrait. Blue Scorcher Day commences.|
You might think, given that association thing of mine, that after the divorce I would skip future trips to Astoria, that it would trigger copious amounts of pain. Instead, I returned the very next year, on one of a series of healing trips I took that summer to both avoid and face-off with all that my divorce stirred inside me. See, I got to hang onto my brother-in-law and his partner despite the split, and they invited me back, and I accepted.
|Twas the night before Blue Scorcher Day.|
So last night, as we pulled up to the house, and as I stepped out into the cold air (before going inside to sit in front of a roaring fire), I realized this is my alternative to Christmas. This is the one night of the year where I go to bed almost too excited to sleep, knowing that when I wake up I can run down the hill to the Blue Scorcher and grab a still-warm cardamom almond roll and a cup of coffee. I know I'll see Joe, one of the founders, who that first year I came back after the divorce, invited me to work for a day making bread with him, an experience I think every brokenhearted human might try as a means toward feeling the crack start to mend.
I also know I'll see Iris, who is another founder, and married to Joe, with whom she has two sons, one of whom bears an uncanny resemblance to my own boy. Iris is a fiber artist and a go getter and a get shit done kinda gal like me, and so we have no shortage of topics to explore.
|This is the Columbia River. Though I meditate with my eyes closed, I know that just beyond my eyelids lies this view, waiting.|
|This is my bedroom in Astoria. It's on a deck, it has heating and cable TV and I am five steps from indoor plumbing.|
I might wander out for awhile to explore the thrift stores and little shops, watch people, admire architecture, fantasize about moving here, and wonder if the dogs will be pissed if I drive them in the car for 2500 miles straight to this, our new home in the Pacific Northwest. Then it's back to the bakery for an afternoon beverage and contemplation about the healing powers of certain places and people that we stumble into accidentally (or perhaps not).
|Cardamom Almod Rolls. Worth the pilgrimage.|
|I set up shop in the corner and wait for my old friends to pop by.|
|I had the curry lentil soup for lunch.|
|I also had the tempeh reuben.|
|This sign on the community board speaks to my heart.|
|After lunch we strolled over to Marie Antoinette's Cupcake Parlor which is full of the most bizarre and whimsical art ever.|
|Monkeys at Marie A's remind me of Warren and me.|
|If Rebound were a sculpture and if she lived in Astoria at a cupcake shop.|
|Back to Blue Scorcher for a Hibiscus Tonic with agave, ginger, lemon and cayenne. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!|