Greet the dawn with a breath of fire

Wow.  Talk about a great day.

I have some really big and awesomely amazing changes happening in my life right now.  I’m going, in the near future, to be working (full time) at what I’m inclined to call, "A Real, Live, Actual, Grown-Up Job," but it’s so straight out of one of my career fantasies that it doesn’t seem all that real.  But, it is.  It’s not the right time for me to say very much, though I can say that I feel like I can breathe.  I didn’t realize how much I was holding my breath all the time.

I had lunch (a business lunch, but with friends.  See? Dream Job!) in San Francisco while John and Willow went to the aquarium, the record store and knocking around Haight.  They came and got me after lunch and we headed for the beach because that was what Willow really wanted to do.  Just by chance, we found ourselves at the Sutro Baths.   I’ve never really been there before, but I knew of it and when I looked down from the parking lot six miles above the beach, I said, "HEY! Part of Harold and Maude was filmed here!"

Mostly because of that, I walked down the super steep hill in smooth-bottomed boots with a little too much heel for the terrain.  The ruins of the baths (great photos here) stick up from the smelly stagnant water and people walk across them.  Which is probably mostly fine if you aren’t with your four-year-old, but it turned me into a hisser.  "Hold Daddy’s hand," I hissed at Willow.  "Watch her.  HOLD HER HAND," I hissed at John.  I hate doing that, but it needed doing and I was proved right by this poor girl who didn’t see the two foot square, who knows how deep, hole in the part of the foundation she was walking on.  Maybe part of the big slide once fit in there.  Anyhow, she stepped into it, I’m sure because she was looking out at the stunning view of the sea, and I thought at first she’d broken her leg.  She turned out to be okay, but she was certainly hurt. 

That said, it’s really cool that there is a publicly owned place where you can go that is dangerous.  Seriously, when was the last time you even saw a merry-go-round at the park?  I get tired of being protected from myself.  I also didn’t want to walk across the cement ruins, because having water far below me on either side gave me a little vertigo.  I did it anyway, just like I ride in elevators and drive through tunnels even though I hate to. 

Here’s Willow and me in a tunnel, which was terrifying.  I was thinking two things: This is insanely beautiful, and, Please don’t let there be an earthquake.


You can’t tell from that photo, but halfway through the tunnel there is a place where the boulders part just enough to give you a view of the ocean.  You can see the water smashing into the outside of the cave, and it rushes up to just below where you stand in the middle of the tunnel, watching.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so aware of the ocean’s power.  It made me feel like nothing, but also part of things.  I have no idea what that really means, but it’s what I felt. 

Here’s what you get to see after you walk through the tunnel:


Some reward, no?  I happen to think it looks even more beautiful to my eyes because it was so difficult for me to walk through that damn tunnel. 

John and Willow hiked down to a sandy beach on the other side of the baths from the tunnel, but I knew that if I went down I’d end up falling.  I stayed up on the cliff above them and took picturesJohn took a bunch, too.

Willow was starving when we got back on the road, so we stopped off to get her a bite.  I’ve never seen her eat so greedily, ever.  It was a beautiful thing.  All the way home I drove John bonkers with my how-about-this daycare scenarios for when my work schedule picks up.  I sat next to Willow, because she asked me to, and she kept telling me she loved me and that she was glad I was sitting by her.  I don’t feel any guilt about taking on a full time job, but I’m going to really, really miss spending so much time with her.  (I’m not bringing up the other kids, because they’ll be in school 30 hours a week and I’m already adjusted to that.  I love them, too, of course.)  I was already planning to have Willow in preschool three mornings a week and in part-time daycare, too, but it’s so hard for me to let go.  I’ve spent nearly eleven years now at home (I’ve worked, but never full-time) with my kids and for all my griping, it’s what I love most.  (See? Now I’m all crying.  Sheesh.)  The thing is, she isn’t a baby anymore, she loves to be out in the world, and me working is going to mean really, really great things for her.  My time of being a mom to tiny, fascinating, babies and chunky toddlers who talk like they’re from the Bronx is over.  Which leaves me achingly sad, but my feet are on the ground enough to know that it’s time for me to make this change.   We’ll all be happier once we get used to it. 

3 thoughts on “Greet the dawn with a breath of fire

  1. eve

    I have the same griping problem. And I’m so excited for you. I love this post, all the things going on. The story of the treacherous baths and the ocean pay-off…Beautiful. Have to go look at the pictures.

    “chunky toddlers who talk like they’re from the Bronx”–my not-so-chunky preschooler is saying, “Ma” in a staccato NJ way. Scary.


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