Friday, September 21, 2007

At This Moment

Urged on by Nan, here is my moment...

This morning at 6:45 am while stopped at the traffic light leading out to the main road of my daily commute, I looked to see what I could see~~

A distinguished elderly gentleman and his faithful companion on their morning constitutional.

A firefighter raising the American flag at the fire station.

The two young men who live in the nearby apartment building on the return leg of their morning run.

The windows of the elementary school turned bronze, reflecting the sun just rising over the tips of the trees.

Morning gray clouds tipped in rosey red by that same rising sun.

Remains of morning fog rising up from the pond across the street.

Bright spots of reds and golds in the maple and oak trees signaling the season to come.

...and I heard the click, click, click of my right turn signal as it tried to keep time with the Morning Wakeup Mix from my iPod

...and what I felt sitting in my car, windows and moonroof open...fresh, cool air with a hint of the warmth of the day to come, this last Friday morning of summer.

Thank you, Nan, for giving me the excuse to stop, look, listen and feel. It's definitely something I should do more often!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Coincidence? I Think Not!

The other evening when my daughter and I came home from a shopping trip, there was a documentary about whales on The Discovery Channel. I asked my husband, "Why is that whale jumping so high out of the water?" He replied, "It's not a whale, it's a seal the whales are playing with just like Juliette tossing her catnip mouse." I never knew whales did that...something to think about. Then, the next morning, I opened my email inbox to find the following poem in the daily newsletter from The Writer's Almanac.


In Sitka, because they are fond of them,
People have named the seals. Every seal
is named Earl because they are killed one
after another by the orca, the killer
whale; seal bodies tossed left and right
into the air. "At least he didn't get
Earl," someone says. And sure enough,
after a time, that same friendly,
bewhiskered face bobs to the surface.
It's Earl again. Well, how else are you
to live except by denial, by some
palatable fiction, some little song to
sing while the inevitable, the black and
white blindsiding fact, comes hurtling
toward you out of the deep?

~ Louis Jenkins, North of the Cities

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Report Carla Bruni

No Promises

This week's email from Barnes & Noble included a coupon for No Promises by Carla Bruni, a "B&N Exclusive." Well, I left the coupon sitting on my desk work when I left on Friday afternoon; however, after listening to clips from the CD in the store, coupon or no, this one was coming home with me.

Most of my music purchases are done on iTunes these days, so it was quite a treat to unwrap a CD, read the liner notes, and take in the beautiful pictorial and graphical presentation of Ms. Bruni's compositions based on poems by Wm. Butler Yeats, Dorothy Parker, W. H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Walter de la Mare, and Christina Rossetti.

One struck a perfect chord~


When I am old and comforted
And done with this desire
With memory to share my bed
And peace to share my fire,

I'll comb my hair in scalloped bands
Beneath my laundered cap
And watch my cool and frabile hands
Lie light upon my lap.

And I will have a sprigged gown
With lace to kiss my throat
I'll draw my curtain to the town,
and hum a purring note.

And I'll forget the way of tears,
And rock, and stir my tea.
But oh, I wish those blessed years
Were further than they be!

~~Dorothy Parker

A lovely, sensual CD.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Maytrees

In prose as stark and bare as the landscape of Provincetown, Annie Dillard tells the life story of two young people who love and marry, befriend and betray, return and resolve.
From Annie Dillard dives headlong into the deep, unfathomable mystery of married love in this lyrical novel -- only the second of her long, distinguished career. Set largely on the windswept tip of Cape Cod amid rolling tides and drifting dunes, the story is simplicity itself: A man and woman meet in postwar Provincetown, fall in love, marry, and have a child. Years later, one leaves the other in a bewildering act of betrayal that tests but does not break their transcendent bond; later still, their lives intersect again in an unanticipated twist of fate.


Looking at the copy of The Maytrees sitting on my desk, one would think that every single page boasted a brightly colored Post-It flag...not quite, but almost. Dilliard's beautiful (and sometimes challenging) language begs to be read, flagged, reread, considered and, ultimately, consumed.

Some favorite passages:

p. 3 ~ For a long time they owned no car, no television when that came in, no insurance, no savings. Once a week they heard world news on the radio. They supported striking coal miners' families with cash. They loved their son, Pete, their only child. Between them they read about three hundred books a year. He read for facts, she for transport. Nothing about them was rich except their days swollen with time.

p. 58 ~ Sometimes now Lou searched old albums to test her proposition that nothing so compels a woman as the boyhood of the man she loves. She saw a snapshot of boy Maytree in cap and knickers dwarfed by his cross-eyed father on a wharf. In the prints, Maytree's cap's shadow blacked most of his face. Here again he crouched on the beach, as at a starting block, between his hairy mother and his visibly half-dead grandmother, in a wind harsh with that present's brine. In those prints she saw unease in the boy, as if he had been scanning the offing for the man. No, it was she who sought for the man in the child. She could not find him, so the boy seemed to her lost in a deafening wind. The boy seemed--wonderfully--to need her without knowing it. But he did not, not yet. Perhaps, she asked later, he never did?

p. 89 ~ In late September, when Lou could stir at all she moved like a glacier, the queer sort at which dogs bark. Reading Hardy always distracted her in rough patches, as when her father vamoosed. Now she might enjoy the company of solid Farmer Gabriel Oak. She read, "It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in." ... She had no force to fight what held her as wind pins paper to a fence. She was a wood horse, a rock cairn, a jerry can of pitch. She found herself holding one end of a love. she reeled out love's long line alone; it did not catch.

p. 96 ~ Perhaps every generation passes to the next, to hand down to yet more chldren, an untouched trunk of virtues. The adults describe the trunk's contents to the young and never open it.

p. 108 ~ Just as few men love their wives so much as their daughters, few, if any, women love anyone so much as their children. ...often she missed infant Petie now gone--his random gapes, his bizarre buttocks. How besotted they gazed at each other nose-on-nose. He fit her arms as if they two had invented how to carry a baby While she walked, he patted her shoulder in time with her steps. If he stopped patting, she stopped walking. If his pats speeded up, she stepped lively. ...Later she washed his filthy hair and admired his vertebrae, jiggled his head in toweling that smelled like his steam. She needled splinters and sandspur spines from his insteps as long as he let her. Every one of those Peties and Petes was gone. That is who she missed, those boys now overwritten.

p. 189 (as I can never resist even a passing reference to a favorite poet) ~ He and Lou used to have a way about them he recalled vividly. One man loved the pilgrim soul in you. Would she be thinking such a thing?
~ * ~

The Maytrees was an exquisite reading experience, one that I shall revisit often in the pages of my mind.

Harper Collins, 2007
216 pages
Rating: 5/5 (General Reading Scale)