Waxing/Waning

Kelsey Breseman
3 min readJun 5, 2024
Photo direction by Rick Breseman

It was knit hat weather when we arrived in Pelican, but it's comfortable in just a sweatshirt by the time we leave. The day of our seaplane, there are moments of golden sunshine on the mountains.

I'm sad to leave, more than I expect. Maybe it's the summer season starting. Maybe it's that I've felt well, and fed, and in community. The timing on feeling like myself matches the predicted progression of pregnancy, but it's hard not to attribute some of it to the setting.

Because pregnancy is idiosyncratic, my parents have had to learn what to expect from me. Robert, having been there the whole time, treated me gently, helping me down steep banks, naturally taking on any tasks requiring a lot of energy. When they went hiking, I stayed back and so did he. When he snacked, so did I. He steered the skiff out over the waves to the hot springs, and kept the throttle low so as not to bounce the baby.

In the evenings, the four of us were the right number to play hearts on some evenings. On others, we imagined possible futures: in the long term, we're agreed on all living at Wildwood. There is a small second house in the offing, though it's not yet clear if it's meant to be Robert's and mine or Rick and Eileen's. Eileen had photocopied pages of books on tiny home design.

It's all hypothetical to some degree; we'll spend some months there with the baby next year (Robert's visa permitting). After that, we'll see; Robert's job is really too good to leave.

Pregnancy is handicapping. Even I didn't realize how much I was relying on my husband. The day Robert left, Rick led us on a hike I could barely manage the first few minutes of, especially on little breakfast. I walked slowly enough that Eileen came back to check if I was okay.

Eventually, I sat down in the muskeg and waved them on. I walked by myself back to town and lay on my aunt's couch for a few hours. Even when we returned to our cabin and ate a late lunch, I didn't recover.

It's shocking for me to not be up for a hike, and as strange not to carry heavy things. Usually, I'm the one climbing up on the roof, scrambling under the house, carting heavy loads from the boat to the shore.

My parents are used to me in this role, and it's very strange for all of us to recast it. But my energy is limited; we're pushing it when I haul a propane canister, climb a ladder, carry a canoe. And while I need to eat every couple of hours or I'll feel sick, they don't seem bothered by oatmeal at six in the morning and lunch at three in the afternoon.

We adjust. I keep my pocket stocked with protein bars. I spend days and hours reading on the couch. Rick carries scrap metal alone, and Eileen hauls barrow loads of rocks back to the stream for me to place one at a time. Our projects progress, and I keep mine small: a planting here, an alder peg there. I don't take down my in-progress sailboat, though I unroll the sail and pack it to stitch when I go.

On our last night at Sunnyside, Rick, Eileen, and I sit around our chart-laminated dining table with cups of hot chocolate. It's quiet. We watch out the window for our regular pair of geese, the deer that come in the evening to graze on the beach. Otters and seals bob near the skiff. The mountains across the inlet are still half covered with snow.

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