Wednesday, September 29, 2010

North Carolina

Last month was a whirlwind of yet more air travel. I took two red-eyes to Grand Rapids, Michigan to shoot a short scene in an independent movie, then from Michigan I took two more flights to visit my family in North Carolina. My brother flew in from New York and my sister, brother in law and nephew drove in from Colorado. We had an impossibly good time together.

It was bittersweet as my sister and her family were preparing to leave for Panama for a one year language/cultural immersion trip through Central America. But we all came together (sans sister in law, niece and other nephew) to wish them a Bon Voyage. Yes, I cried. My sister is my best friend. But before the tears, came a pretty perfect visit.

My nephew and my Mom get along like two peas in a pod. My mother was an elementary school teacher before she had children and is probably (to those who know her) the greatest story teller that ever lived. My nephew is, well just wonderful, edible wonderful. They can play in the back yard for hours just telling stories and laughing together.
The amazing thing about my parent's house in North Carolina, is that it feels like home. Of course it is 3,000 miles away from the place that I called home for most of my life. But this house makes me feel so safe and sound and inundated with nostalgia that I almost forget that I didn't grow up there. It doesn't hurt that all the furniture, pictures and carpets are the same either. We ate every meal on my Dad's newly renovated back porch under this umbrella.
Mom loves red.

My sister is a bit of a world traveler (Panama people). She spent some time in India and makes a mean curry. This was just one of the wildly colorful meals that we ate every night.
These are my parents. They've been married for 51 years. I think they are too cute for words.
My Dad insisted on wine with every meal (this is new). It made for some fantastic conversations and because we Davies are a long winded clan, we often stayed out on the porch until the stars came out. Best of all, because we were in North Carolina and in the middle of nowhere, the stars were brighter and seemed closer than any stars I've ever seen. Living in L.A. makes me forget how much I love seeing stars.

To say that I love it in N.C., is an over statement. I would love it if it were closer to Los Angeles. But when I see how happy my parents are there, well, I love that more than anything. North Carolina has a little bit of magic in it. For example, things grow there. They flourish with a verdant enthusiasm that I am not that familiar with. And the greens, there are more shades of green in my parent's little town in North Carolina than there are in the entire state of California. See for yourself-
Then there are the beauties in my mother's garden.

Plus, um, they have a bridge...and a creek.
I wish I had a bridge. Right now, I'm thinking of all the games I would have played as a little girl, who had a bridge in her back yard. There would have been a lot of make believe fairy tales involving golden balls and prince-frogs.
Can't you see them under there hiding in the darkness? See? Magical.

The day after I flew in, my Dad took the whole clan paddling down the French Broad River. It took us about 5 hours to finish the whole trip. We saw butterfly covered beaches and the first few delicate showers of fall as leaves swirled by us landing on the river. My sister (who used to instruct white water rafting excursions) paddled with my Mom the whole way. At one point, my father and brother tipped their canoe over and it took three men to empty it of it's 1,500 pounds of water. We picnicked, swam and sang songs. My mother told my nephew stories, and we all listened. There is something older than us in North Carolina. It feels like a wiser tribal elder, someone who has something to teach me. It seemed to guide my family back to the things that mattered, the simpler things that I forget about living my life in Los Angeles. I really do wish North Carolina were closer, I would love to fall in love with it.

And don't tell me I already have....alright, I have. Shit. Time to buy another plane ticket.

Moms need a break too!

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