As I write it’s that slack-tide between Christmas and January 1, when humans allow themselves that collective exhale before breathing life into the New Year.
I’m in the Sierras with Rachel’s family, watching baby crawl under the Christmas tree, doing her best to make sense of a children’s book of Moby Dick (how could you make a children’s story of such a thing? They have, harpoon and all) and take occasional chomps on a branch. Spent an hour early this morning steaming the boogers out of Haley on account of the thin air. About the only place she seems to want to nap is on my back, snowstorms or not.
Before coming south for the wedding we worked hard getting the boat into order for the solstice weeks when we’d be away. Haley occupied herself with what has come to be a favorite toy, her wooden spoon, while we cooked Thanksgiving dinner – which turned out to be a winter king salmon dropped off by a good friend who wanted to be sure Haley ate some fresh firsh for the holiday.
Meanwhile R and I, with the help of close fishermen friends in Alaska, stocked up on fish, started to box it up – the fair majority of folks listed this as their wedding meal of choice. I paddled around, skiffing in Haley’s Comet, and finally coming up with a blacktail with my buddy Rick. We butchered him up and sent the Alaska protein east for the festivities. Freezing hindquarter then shaving it off to make jerky for Christmas presents.
With the work and expertise of Stephen Warren we began replacing bulwarks on the Adak, continuing to weather in the wheelhouse, and just making the boat cozy. We got some snow, and Colorado got his morning romps in. I wrapped up teaching my online Stanford class – which was amazing, thanks to students who just blew my mind with their essays and commitment to wrestling with tough questions. In the cold nestled into the Hemingway berth to get work done; it stays warm and dry in there – which, well, is saying a lot for our sweet tug.
The wedding will be a day R and I will remember as long as we live. It wasn’t easy to get there – two days of travel, involving a stop in Las Vegas (which the baby, disturbingly, loved.) But got there we did.
The fun began the night before the wedding with a cake Rachel had schemed up of the Adak. (You can compare the pics – amazing). The only hard part was cutting into it. The following day the ceremony in New Hope, with close friends and family, my fishing skipper Eric Jordan marrying us, and saving my butt when I forgot my ring lines, best man Justin Ehrenwerth emceeing brilliantly, and so many others filling in. It was a community effort. I mean, how cool, all these people you’ve met over the course of a life gathered under one roof. I can’t think of a greater thrill than seeing two people from two parts of your life – Alaska and New Hampshire, England and Philly, Greensaw and Stanford – sharing stories. Powerful and moving. And all your dudes gathered in one spot, from Oakland, Alaska, NYC, New Orleans, North Carolina, Philly, Washington DC – right there, putting a log on the fire, pulling off the keg, wearing XtraTuff boots from Alaska. Too friggin cool. Not to mention having wee HMJ there to witness it all, dressed up in all her finery. Going from this
Someone cleans up well. Real well.
And I know the party was good because we got kicked out of the rehearsal dinner space by a ten-foot bouncer, kicked out of the reception area for the wedding, kicked out of the after-party space in the old barn, and stayed up until the wee hours dancing by the fire at the Inn. Now R and I are just waiting to get the prints of all the photobooth images. Sorry guys, bet you didn’t know we get to see them. I’m hoping for all moons and no stars.
As far as the book goes, things go really well, with nice words coming in from Richard Ford, Adam Johnson, the amazing Molly Antopol, and others. We went on a family field trip to NYC to visit Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, met with my editor Jenna Johnson. Haley promptly ate all of her daisies. May god provide wings for this creature I have put out into the world (I’m talking here about the book and not the baby – I think can do without her wings for a bit). It’s a scary prospect, this creation going into the world, but I can’t think of better people to do it alongside than Jenna, Michelle, Pilar, and the rest of the crew at HMH.
After the incident, the city administrator supported the jailer and two policemen who stripped this 18 year-old kid, tasered him into unconsciousness, then left him in his cell without medical help. The city administrator and city attorney then refused to release police procedure – forgetting, for a moment, that we live in a small island community, and not Chicago. Except Rahm Emanuel reversed his stance and distanced himself from bad police behavior. Whereas our friend –
But none of that. Cozy thoughts. And how could you not? Hunkered down in the snow in this sweet Tahoe cabin, doing puzzles, making fires, skiing when the crowds aren’t bad, sledding with the wife and kiddo, and taking that collective exhale before gearing up for 2016. Which will involve pre-launch activities Seattle in February, sailing the tug for Wrangell in March or April to get her hauled out and worked on, release of the book April 26th in NYC, R setting up her own practice, and so, so much more.