A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


A Hot North American Summer
Sunday, August 26, 2007

From the inside of my daughter's Lillooet house, by the living room that faces the back garden, I looked out on Friday night and saw a bright almost full moon. It was bright enough to reveal the mountains that surround Ale's property. They are there, almost here - that close. To the left of the garden I could spot the outline of the tent that Rebecca's father, Bruce had sent with us. Rebecca and Lauren were to sleep the night with Ale while Rosemary and I were to enjoy the comforts of Ale's bed. I heard some chattering and that's when I noticed that Ale, Rebecca and Lauren were not in the tent, but outside, flat on their backs on sleeping bags. They were gazing up at the starry night. I had done that at 10 (in photo here with cousin Jorge Wenceslao and Tia Sarita). I had experienced in Corrientes that first awareness of the existence of stars. Rebecca at 10, was equally enthralled.

It would seem that the summer of 2007 will be a seminal summer for Rebecca. With Howard in Texas she caught her first fish. We faced near 40 degree tempertures in Texas, Merida and this week end in Lillooet it reached 30.

Our trip to Lillooet had not begun smoothly. All the curves between Pemberton and Lillooet made Rebecca cry. She missed her parents and was feeling dizzy. She could not understand why anybody would want to live in Lillooet. Lauren, with the wisdom of childhood, had chosen to fall asleep. Rosemary and I prepared ourselves for the worst. That was not to be. Friday night, before those stars, Rebecca came up to me and told me, "I love this place."

I had jokingly (with a serious face) warned Lauren with the possibility of marauding wolves. With a flashlight, just in case, Lauren bravely faced her first ever evening in a tent. Scarry noises were met with that flashlight and all three girls slept most of the night. Ale woke up to hear the strange noise of rain. It seems it never rains in Lillooet. But it did.

Saturday morning Lauren moved some large garden parasols near a peach tree and we had breakfast (I made thin pancakes) in the garden. "Why are you wearing your pijamas?" Lauren asked me. As I looked at Rosemary's perfectly relaxed face I answered, " Because we are on vacation." But I managed to change, to climb the apricot tree with Rebecca and to conjure a few tricks (the very few I ever learned in Buenos Aires) with her and a soccer ball. Lauren played with a hose and made a mud hole. Rebecca soon joined her immersing her feet and covering her legs with mud. The girls initiated a new activity every half hour including the making of clay figurines and pots (that Ale will fire in the school kiln). At all times Ale showed her patience with them and we can understand why she is such a good school teacher.

I wonder how much of this vacation Rebecca might remember. When she told me that she had even seen satellites up in the sky, for once I was a diplomat and did not tell her what I would have told her back when I was 10, "That's nothing, I saw the Milky Way and the Southern Star." For me this will be a summer I will never forget.


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