Ithaca has been my place of belonging through many incarnations of self: awkard, bony-kneed kid; bewildered teenager; black sheep returned home in my early twenties after a disastrous marriage and a long disconnect from family; thirty-something graduate student leaving a mathematics program in Seattle to study Ecology at Cornell. It was in this last life that I was most happy with myself and with life and where I met my husband Joe. If one could just get an academic job wherever they wanted to be in the world, I'd be so happy to come home again. I love my house and my yard and my neighborhood in Columbus, but I miss the stars at night. And the 200 waterfalls. And the community of family and friends who have loved me steadfastly through every one of my incarnations.
Our "vacation" this year is the week and a half that I had off between teaching that we are spending with family. Although it's been wonderful, it's been quite a whirlwind of activity. As I might have mentioned one or two times, Taran is no picnic to travel in the car with, so we have not visited since last September. As a consequence there is an insanely long list of people that I'm trying to connect with in a very short time and we have had 2-3 different social activities every day since we arrived. By this morning, Taran was gray and yawning and just wanted to be held so we stuck him in our new/old toddler frame backpack (thank you, Jennifer!!) and walked and walked and walked.
I have to say, I am so pleased that my family and friends are getting some time to know him and love him up and I'm hoping that all of our adventures have been worth it for him. Judging from his face in most of the pictures I've taken, I'm guessing he hasn't minded.
When we arrived on Tuesday, he was so overjoyed to be out of the car and able to go far a walk.
He hopped and ran and even tried to skip with a little coaching from Grammy Pauly.
There is nothing quite as wonderful as seeing your child overjoyed to be with family.
Not even a sudden rainfall could dampen his spirits.
The next morning we went to the Ithaca Farmer's Market which is truly a wonder for such a little town. There is stall after stall of some of the most beautiful produce I've ever seen, artfully laid out in big woven baskets and strewn across hand-woven cloths.
Taran wasn't super thrilled at the idea of getting back into the carseat, but a little coaxing (ok, I admit it, bribing with a cookie) and a handful of brightly colored tissue paper did the trick and we were soon on our way.
At the market, Taran was completely mesmerized by a young violin prodigy, who's playing was jaw-dropping. My one regret about getting a used older-model Canon is that it has no video capacity. But at least I captured a few shots.
After the market, we headed up to Auntie Jenny and Uncle Matty's for breakfast. Jenny had a whole bag of wonderful gifts for him including funny hats and books. Although he was happy to snuggle up with Jenny and check out a new story....
Taran was infinitely more excited in that moment to tromp through Matt and Jenny's patch of black-eyed Susan's and sort through their wood pile.
The rest of the trip I'll have to tell more about in another post. I'm going to head out the door now and go buy a beautiful bottle of wine at my favorite wine shop. And tonight Joe and I are going to drive up in the hills outside of town with our wine and a blanket, snuggle up close, and gaze at the stars.