Dinner Chat

My daughter and I are often eating dinner in the lengthening daylight at the kitchen table, just the two of us with the cats under our feet, and my daughter offering bits of her day — if I listen, and don’t press too hard, what she cares about she slowly spills.

Our conversation drifts into what it means to grow. Through our glass doors, I see the box elders behind our house swaying in this spring-is-coming wind, the Vermont winter gradually eroding. So much of my life I sought stasis — the imagined security of here is where I am. In my daughter, I see this same illusion of when I am grownup, as though adulthood is a kind of plateau.

We linger at the table, with the unwashed dishes and evening chores undone. While she speaks, I think, here, now. The wind curls around our house.

Accept yourself: be yourself. That seems a good rule. But which self? Even the simplest of us are complicated enough.

— From Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World

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Caspian Lake, Greensboro, Vermont