A few hours after I arrived at my northernmost destination in Canada, my mom called to say that my father had been admitted to the hospital with a serious condition. Friday at sunrise, I found myself on a prop plane headed from Vancouver Island back to the mainland, where I caught a flight south. It was eerie that day, the ribbon of Highway 5 unspooling so quickly beneath me, like a time-lapse film in reverse. I marked the progress by volcanic mountains: Baker, Rainer, Hood, Shasta, Lassen. We came upon each one far too quickly for my heart, mind, or body to make sense of this transition, and before I knew it I was on the ground again in the Bay Area.
My mom and I are alternating shifts at the hospital, hanging out with my father who is in remarkably good spirits, considering. Stewart is checking in nightly from the cabin via the satellite phone. Sometimes it takes us three tries to patch together a ten minute conversation, but it’s a comfort nonetheless. He tells me what the weather is like and what the resident grouse have been up to that day. For now, it makes sense for him to stay where he is, to hold the northern fort.
There will be more posts here when that’s appropriate, but I wanted to quickly write this one to say where we are today.