Two cousins have recently come through for us in amazing ways.  We had a chance to stay with my cousin Julie for a weekend of catching up, hiking, bird watching, wine tasting, lots of laughs and good food and fun.  Julie is the eldest of six cousins on my dad’s side, always the pioneer, and my mentor through the years when it came to adventures from food to travel.  Her delightful husband John is a dedeicated naturalist and park ranger, acolyte to John Muir and Edward Abbey; his font of wisdom and naturalist philosophy were just what we sought at that point in our trip, fresh from the desert and the mountains.

Meanwhile, back in Colorado, my other cousin (my mom’s side), Mikey, beloved torturer when I was little a kid, now my dearer-than-a-brother thai lunch buddy and friend in need, has been moving mountains for us for a fun but logistically messy project we started, long distance, a few weeks into our trip.  Mikey, you’ve been a lifesaver… I owe you a box of crayons to snap (maybe even a giant pencil).  Cousins are truly the best.

 

An Ode to Cousins

A cousin is a treasure, as cool as cool can be
Maybe you five*, and maybe sixty-three*
Every one’s a piece of you, a part of who you are
It doesn’t matter if they’re near, or if they’ve travelled far.

You show up on their doorstep; they
As family, take you in.
They’re always home away from home
Cousins, see, are kin.

A cousin is a mirror, as true as true can be.
You think you are original, and then you really see,
That all your strengths and foibles, your habits, manners, hair,
Are all reflected back at you, genetics that you share.

So as you go through life, and figure out just who you are
Remember that a cousin can provide a guiding star –
Because a cousin is a challenger, a supporter and a friend.
Someone you can count on who will be there till the end.

*Jen has five cousins, Colin has over 60!

 

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Wine Tasting with cousin Julie, and hubbie John, around Jackson, CA
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A hike in the woods.  I guess they farm for pencil wood here?

 

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