Friday, October 21, 2011

On having the balls to mark the wood

Moments of supreme clarity sometimes arrive when you’re sopping wet.

At least, that’s how it is for me.

I spent much of last weekend hanging out at Summer Lake Hot Springs. Though the motive for the trip was my speaking engagement at a nearby library charity event, my real reason for going was a fervent desire to soak my bones in the hot springs.

(Insert “bone” joke here. Go ahead, I’ll wait).

The outdoor rock pools were heavenly, but I was particularly charmed by the rustic bathhouse with its large, spring-fed pool. The structure was built in 1928, and a four-inch pipe feeds water from the springs into the indoor pool.

(Anyone want to make the pipe joke?)

The water feels heavenly, and light streaming through the skylights give the place a dreamy, ethereal feel. It’s romantic not only for the steamy heat, but for what adorns the walls of the structure.
Names. Hundreds of them. Joe loves Julie. Raven-n-Mark. Peter & Jenna 4ever. And somewhat curiously, Tooter & Hank.

I swirled around in the water with my gentleman friend, tracing my fingers over the letters.

“Don’t you wonder how many of these people are still together?” I asked. “Like Rod and Tiff – how do you think they’re doing?”

“Or Nick and Kyle,” he added. “I hope those crazy kids made it.”

I sighed. “Once upon a time, all these people were so giddy with love, they carved their names in the wood. Now – how many of them even speak to each other? There’s something sad about it.”

“There’s something hopeful about it,” he countered. “About having the balls to do it in the first place – to make your mark and lay claim to each other knowing it might not last.”

The words socked me in the gut. Not because I’m a romance author. Not even because he had his hands on my bare back when he said it.

But also because he knows. We both know.

Both of us were married before, and both divorced under startlingly similar circumstances. Neither of us wanted or expected our splits, but we both emerged on the other side feeling happy and whole and remarkably stronger.

Under the circumstances, you might expect us to be jaded. We’re cautious, to be sure, but somehow, neither of us lost heart.

I’m sure that eternal optimism is part of what kept me writing romantic comedy even when I wasn’t feeling particularly romantic or comedic. I do believe in forever – even now, knowing what I know about those names on the wall or my own happily ever after that turned out not to be.

It's always true things might not work out the way you hope.

But it's also true they might.

That's enough for me. That's what I choose to focus on, both in my writing career and in my life.

So here’s to anyone who’s had the balls to put yourself out there despite the odds it might not last. Here’s to enduring faith, love, and the hopeful handling of wood.

22 comments :

Christine Tyler said...

I love how your split personality shows up in the last sentence with inspirational eloquence and a penis joke all in the same line.

LynnRush said...

Faith, Hope, and Love. Those are the words I live by. So much so I have them tattooed on my arm. :)

Patrick Alan said...

OMG! Both of you married gay men? What are the odds?

Isis Rushdan said...

Great post and wonderful story. So glad neither of you are jaded! Love can be a beautiful thing. Here's to having the balls.

Patty Blount said...

You made me cry.

And laugh.

But you made me cry.

Matthew MacNish said...

I've got a great hot springs story, but it's not the kind of thing I'm sharing online.

If you ever get up to the Olympic Peninsula, you should check out Sol Duc hot springs.

Delia said...

Patrick Alan, you are a card, my friend. A card. *snort*

You're right. It takes balls. Or ovaries, which are kind of ball shaped so maybe they count? Either way, I'll remember to bring a pocket knife should I ever visit the hot springs.

Also, this? "Moments of supreme clarity sometimes arrive when you’re sopping wet." Would make an excellent opening line of a novel.

Linda G. said...

Awwww. Only you can manage to be so dirty and so sweet at the same time. I love it. :)

KD Easley said...

That was lovely. Penis joke and all.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Love seeing your initials there. You deserve a little crazy hope.

C D Meetens said...

That was so sweet, and a nice reminder to keep on hoping.

Loralie Hall said...

Love the last picture. Absolutely inspirational ^_^ <3

Tawna Fenske said...

Christine, it’s a gift. Um, or a curse.

LynnRush, that is AWESOME! What a great tattoo!

Patrick, dude, you’re weird. That’s saying a lot coming from me.

Isis, thanks! I’m rather proud of my balls. And his. Wait, what?

Patty, it’s my ultimate goal with my books to make people laugh, cry, and feel warm & tingly in inappropriate places. Two out of three ain’t bad in a blog post :)

Matthew, I was at Sol Duc Hot Springs the summer of 1997. Please say you weren’t doing your inappropriate act next to me at the time.

Delia, all my gentleman friend had was a tiny little two-inch blade on his keychain. Suffice it to say, the carving went kinda slowly!

Linda G, dirty and sweet…that’s me!

KD, thank you. The penis joke was especially lovely though, right?

Jeffe, wait, are you suggesting those are OUR initials in the last pic? *blinks innocently* We would NEVER deface public property.

CD, glad you enjoyed it!

Loralie, kinda hoping the hot springs folks don’t see it and beat me up, but I suppose they’d have to punish a lot of people if they were out there persecuting all the name carvers.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Janelle Alexander said...

Thank you so much for this post, Tawna!

I -really- needed this today. :o)

And the inspirational message was greatly appreciated today too... ;o)

Lindsay said...

Lovely post, my friend. xo

Wendy Sparrow said...

Awww... your beard burn comment brought me here and I'm so glad it did.

I missed your initials in that last picture the first time, but I'm glad I caught them. Right on! *fist bumps* Good for you!

I loved it all... especially the last line.

Brandi Guthrie said...

Your romantic interest says all the right things suspiciously often.

Fess up, you're dating Fabio. (Or another dude who's probably graced romance novel covers.)

theemptypen said...

No one is fessing up?

My husband and I defaced the nook at Napoleon House in New Orleans on our honeymoon. Of course we went tiny just to hedge our bets.

Mary said...

Love this post! It's wacky and sweet and funny all at the same time. That guy is lucky to have you and it's awesome that you feel the same way. All the best, you crazy kids!

Prudence MacLeod said...

Don't worry, most second marriages are way better than the first. There's lots of love, life, fun, and penis jokes out there. Enjoy 'em.

Jeannie Moon said...

Tawna, I wish you a happily ever after. It's what we all deserve. <3

Lisa Ahn said...

You are an inspiration. And funny. And I wish you an abundance of faith, love and hope.