Ponder this:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


For too many days last week and the week before and, it seems, back into living memory, there was rain here. Or, if not rain, dreary damp chilly days.
It is raining right now, at 3am, and I am feeling so good. 
I have the doors open.
It is sixty-four degrees. At 3am. 
The air smells fresh and feels good on my skin.
It feels like a summer night.
The plink and drum of the landing fat drops is satisfying, and by turns escalates to a soft white-noise thrum. 

I'll be going back to sleep soon, washed and soothed by this lullaby.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Running Away

 I'm reading two books. One is The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family and the other is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I believe it was Decca Mitford who, in her mid-teens, established a Running-Away Fund at the local bank. And fictional Juliet Ashton, in Guernsey, twice ran away from her childhood home with her uncle. 
All that running away reminded me...

When I was very small, younger than school age, I ran away regularly. Somebody would hurt my feelings and I would pack my small plaid plastic suitcase with God-knows-what and set off up the dirt road. Sometimes I slammed the screen door and sometimes I left quietly, perhaps with a sad little sigh.  My mother always came after and caught up with me, hunkered down and talked me out of my snit. And we would walk home again.  And then one day she didn't.
I couldn't believe it.
I reached the shade on the summer dirt road, halfway up the hill . . . and she wasn't behind me. She was nowhere in sight. 
I dawdled. 
I sat down on a stone wall and waited, to give her adequate opportunity to come and make up for whatever had gone wrong in my world. 
It seemed like an hour. It probably was ten minutes.
She didn't come.
I had no place to go. It was a long trip back down the hill, my little shoulders drooping down under the weight of  the knowledge that not only did they hurt my feelings, but they didn't care if I stayed or went. 
I think that was the end of my running away.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cosmos forest

There were fifteen minutes of sunshine yesterday. I missed seven and one-half of them, but the seven and one-half that remained were glorious.  These cosmos didn't bloom all summer. They grew. And grew. And grew. Into a huge ferny forest. They have trunks instead of stems. When the weather turned cool, they burst into bloom, and show no sign of retreat.

For a few moments I could close my eyes, feel the sun on my face, and listen to the buzzing of the bees...
And pretend it was summer again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Let there be light. Please!

I've been funking for several days. The cold wind, the white-gray sky, the early dark (soon to become earlier darker, DST ending on 11/7), the care of aging animals, two evening meetings that were . . . difficult . . . to live through, not to mention the tedium of preparing the minutes, which, in these cases, I feel, need to be verbatim. It wears me down. During the week I had one of my rarely-indulged twelve-hour sleeps: went to bed at 7pm and stayed there, mostly unconscious, until time to get up and, once again, shoulder my yoke. 
The season of dry hands, dry skin everywhere, has arrived. Lotioning, as an activity, is not so luxurious in the dark and cold as it is in the balmy warmth of summer. 
Life has not been fun.

Deprived of sun, I have turned to illusive sources of light and warmth. I dig in the jewelry box for all the sparkly things that I own. Pearl and silver and faceted jewelry, the prisms of color and glimmers of light provide remembrance of human-friendly seasons. Pearly-pale nail polish to reflect any stray glimmer of illumination in my environment. I have discovered sparkly body lotions: gold, silver, pink.
Arrayed in my faux glow I emerge luminous as the interior of an oyster shell.

Remember that gaudy colorful bracelet? Wore it yesterday, received compliments from fellow color addicts. I could recognize them by their glazed eyes as they stared hypnotized by the jewel tones.
Listen: We take our pleasures where we find them.

I have run through every possible eBay item I might want and am now shopping for things for friends. Told Little B yesterday: "I bought you a couple of nightgowns. If you don't like them, we'll give them to the poor people."
"Why are you buying me nightgowns?"
"Oh . . . they were a good deal..."

Yesterday, in the shop that specializes in fitting those of us who are breast-challenged, a fortuitous introduction to an eighty-something woman twenty-six years further along in this experience. Baring of, comparing, what remains of former bosoms, sharing of stories, tears of gratitude and celebration and empathy. Sometimes just the right person appears at just the right time. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? It was, in a minor this-is-my-world-now way.

And now it's Saturday, the forecast is for "milder with some sun" and 58*F. Today I will be able to be see and feel the sunshine, freed as I am from the week-long office captivity.  A respite from the long clawing-through-winter that has barely begun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Suh-WEET Baby James!

Husband said, this morning, something about "sailing away," and James Taylor started singing "Riding on a Railroad" in my head. From there I went on, in my head, to other James Taylor songs from my youth.  Now I'm stuck in an early '70s James Taylor mood. Dangerous mood, this: I was not a happy young woman. So I'll focus on the videos.

Good lord, was there ever a better-looking man than James Taylor? Maybe my father . . . the proportions of their faces are very similar.
Look at that Sweet Baby James album cover. Those sensitive lips, those deep-set penetrating eyes. The eyelashes! Even the unibrow...     
He's grooming out those between-the-brows extra hairs now, or maybe that's been a benefit of his general hair loss.
I read a J.T. biography and the author kept referring to his "nasal voice." He doesn't sound nasal to me. He sounds mellow and velvet
'Ceptin' when he sing blues. Then he soun' dif'rent, mm-hmm...
I don't think there's anything he could sing that wouldn't mesmerize me.

I saw him perform, years ago, in a local historic theater. One of the first comments he made was that it was nice to be playing in a place that was built for the playing of music. As he spoke, he glanced here and there, up to the ceiling. He didn't move his head much, moved not much more than his lips and his eyebrows. With that prominent occipital ridge and nose, and the controlled movement, he has a hawkish look. 
Look at those cheek and lip muscles when he sings, "Oh, Mexico..."
As the music grew more lively during the concert, he began to tap his foot and bounce at his knees. His loose trousers hanging and flowing from his butt to his heels...  
By the time we all got to Steamroller Blues . . . oh my...

I would like to see him again in concert, but I'm not sure I can do the concert thing anymore. On the other hand . . . something small and private...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Year Grows Old

I have entered my October personality phase.
There are lots of people who just love October, and I have, some years, too. This October I'm drifting into my alternate personality again. That old hibernation urge is becoming strong again. My synapses have slowed, my thoughts have turned inward, my confusion grows: How to survive until Light and Warmth return? The only reassurance I have that it will happen is that I have done it so many times.

MiMau and I have this in common: We associate eating and affection. 
In her case, she requires petting to eat. Inversely, the less petting I receive, the more I eat. 

The last three books I have read:
A Dog's Purpose
I read about it at The 7 MSN Ranch, got my hands on it as quickly as I could. It's a great dog story, with more dog's-point-of-view understanding and less sappy sentimentality than other books it brings to mind (The Art of Racing in the Rain, Marley & Me).
The Silent Miaow
Forty-five years ago my closest friend recommended it to me. A few weeks ago somebody was packing up her mother-in-law's belongings and asked me if I wanted some of the books. The Silent Miaow was in there and I grabbed it. (Note to L:  Thanks for the recommendation. If you have any other books you think I should read you'd better tell me now: I doubt I have another forty-five years to follow through.)
Lent to me by a friend who watches her DVD of Under the Tuscan Sun over and over again, and who rushed to buy Eat, Pray, Love
I got it in the first fifty pages. The rest of the book made me sad: How come I'm not finding dimes and pennies and how come my lights aren't flickering when I think of dead loved ones? Am/Was I less loved than the people whose stories fill the book?

As an antidote to Messages, yesterday I was able to retrieve my requested Packing for Mars from the library. Lots of information, lots of wit. The chapter on space-sickness, which I read last night, seemed a little more extensive and in-depth than previous chapters. Or maybe it just seemed that way because the author writes so descriptively . . . I began to feel a little green and had to take a break.

Things I used to do before I acquired two poodles:
  • Knit
  • Read more than two pages at a time
  • Bake goodies
  • Be able to follow recipes
  • Had a maximum attention span > that of a gnat
  • Walk in a straight line, farther than five feet, without stopping. I seem to recall being able to put away clean laundry without doing the hesitation step (to allow the pack to dis- and re-assemble) the whole way.
  • Polish more than three fingernails without stopping 
Next Saturday I'll be sitting for another civil service exam. Same title as my current title, new candidate list needed. I'll be there with my No. 2 pencils and my silent handheld calculator and my picture ID. I expect the county needs the list to fill school secretary positions. Hm. Pine-oil-cleaner-and-chalk smell of school, piping child sounds, the constant need for carefully considered language... Not a perfect fit for me, but if it got me away from the political shenanigans in Small Pond, and through three more years to retirement age, I might could do it.

Husband was just outdoors and says there is ice where there was water yesterday. I believe this is the first frost. 

Edna St. Vincent Millay - When The Year Grows Old

I cannot but remember
   When the year grows old—
   How she disliked the cold!

She used to watch the swallows
   Go down across the sky,
And turn from the window
   With a little sharp sigh.

And often when the brown leaves
   Were brittle on the ground,
And the wind in the chimney
   Made a melancholy sound,

She had a look about her
   That I wish I could forget—
The look of a scared thing
   Sitting in a net!

Oh, beautiful at nightfall
   The soft spitting snow!
And beautiful the bare boughs
   Rubbing to and fro!

But the roaring of the fire,
   And the warmth of fur,
And the boiling of the kettle
   Were beautiful to her!

I cannot but remember
   When the year grows old —
October — November —
   How she disliked the cold!