I have not written all summer. Last entry May 29, 2015. Last night the super moon and eclipse and autumn here already.
Ah, but the super moon! I forgot it was coming and suddenly saw it between the branches of the trees next door, as I was dealing with the trash. It was so close you could almost touch it. It looked like it was coming out of the Sullivan’s garden. And the stars, there were about thirty or fifty visible stars out last night—- here that is like a million. The moon had a woman’s face in it. Serene and enigmatic, slightly smiling, slightly in shock. The moon always looks a bit like it’s in shock or startled, rising above the earth, looking down at this awful planet and wondering about us…
Later I realized there would also be an eclipse. I ran out around 9:00 p. m. in my robe and slippers and saw it, the moon, blushing rose and getting dusky as though a cloud were covering it. I stared and stared there in the dark under those stars, the street so quiet, then suddenly afraid of raccoons and possums and whatever else might be lurking there to crawl up my toes. But, hard to go back inside. The silence, the darkness, the rich, damp autumn air. I wanted to lie down and stare at that reddening moon forever…
And then the sky. It was still so blue at 9:00 p.m., an intense robin’s egg blue that was pure summer. And underneath the blue, the other half of the sky was like a big white mountain in winter with peaks and ridges and crevices. I didn’t know where to look– the moon, the blue sky, the craggy white mountain. The stars. All at my doorstep. It looked like those Japanese landscape paintings from the 18th century.
I don’t remember most of the summer. I remember a cold, wet, windy spring. Waiting and waiting for sun, grass, buds on trees, waiting for the daffodils and tulips. And lilacs! Pining for the lilacs that came and went in a day. I just clearly remember the cold —-even turning the furnace back on in June.
Now I shudder to think of winter and snow and ice and freezing wind whipping me around on the way to the bus stop. The furnace humming day and night. No more coffee in the morning at 5:30 a.m. with the birds, wandering around the garden looking, staring and smelling earth and grass and flowers. No more pink phlox smelling of honey, licorice and rain.
So many of us are already lamenting the summer passing. But then you look around and see massive orange, burgundy, yellow, pink and white dahlias, candy colored zinnias, three foot high coleus spilling out of pots, snapdragons, marigolds, and shrub roses, tiny pops of jasmine here and there, nicotiana, all white, still perfuming the warm autumn nights, the grasses, giant zebra striped ones, and fluffy whites and pinks and taupes. The grass is still green and still smells like watermelon when it’s cut, the spurge is out in snow-like drifts, the park across the street is awash with goldenrod mixed with lavender, pink, purple and white asters billowing in massive clouds and mists …. the salvia bright and blue and spiky, morning glories in blues and pinks and darkest purple.
If nothing else is blooming if you have one or two pots of morning glories that’s enough. Mine are trailing through the grapes, dark, blue black purple grapes, some already turning into raisens, but they perfume the garden so intensely I feel that I am drinking wine. Each morning I wander with my coffee and am thrilled to see the morning glory, sometimes ten or twelve or sometimes only five but the dark purple color and the brightness so early in the morning is like a big hello, like bright eyes, like gaily painted lips and faces telling me that nothing is over.
The old coffee too was good. Reheated. You’re just happy not to run out and have something hot and bitterly good to drink. Drinking old coffee reminds me of that character in “My Dinner With Andre” who said that when he gets up in the morning, if there are no roaches crawling around on the counters and floors, or in the coffee, that’s a good day…
Walking towards the bus stop, falling into a slightly dreary mood about work, worry, anxiety everything looking a bit grey and old and boring, the seas of cars again like soldiers marching to war…… then a young boy on a bicycle passes me and I step to the side and he beams a big beautiful smile at me, saying “Thank You” and I catch briefly a glimpse of a sweet and gentle, slightly chubby face, blue eyes, shock of curly black hair…
I walked past the cemetery, past the wilting pink hydrangeas, the old graves and saw a big, square, freshly dug grave right at the entrance just a few feet away from the gate. It looked strange so close to the street yet it looked welcoming somehow, fresh and green and calm and the whole cemetery looked like Balm and Gilead. It was soothing to see those graves and settled my nerves.
The air was warm and misty, the clouds overhead pearly and grey, a calm settling on everything.
It occurred to me my knees are fine. I have had no pain for months and months. I walk run skip jump or do whatever I want pain-free. Still don’t know why. MRI showed problems. Is it the weather, is it the garlic, is it the Turmeric tea, is it the prayers, is it God? No knee pain!
After work I walked to the bus stop and sat and read “Taras Bulba” by Gogol. I’ve read it several times before. Some of his work is terribly dreary and heartbreakingly sad, (like “The Overcoat”), but this story has some of the most beautiful, evocative descriptions of the Ukrainian steppes in high summer– so I am reading it again for all the sights, sounds, and smells of a world gone by. Of course it is also about war, and the Ukrainian Cossacks’ wars against the Poles and Tarters. In Gogol’s story he goes deeply into the life of the nomadic Cossacks and the wars they fought and also shows them in a completely different light. They were not only freedom fighters, but oftentimes savage, stupid drunken scoundrels and beasts. Unfortunately. But, oh what a pleasure to sit on a bench waiting for a bus and not freezing in the snow and wind and cold!
I walked to the river and the water was brownish green but slightly clear. The trees along the banks still lush and green but leaves starting to fall and float down the river. Then I went back to the bench and read. Two workmen in bright vests were busy on a project across the street, finished and started to walk back. They were walking way on the other side of the street. I sneezed and simultaneously they called out “Bless You”. I almost wept.
I walked back to the river and it was full of ducks. Several were preening, sitting on rocks and others floating gently on the water. Some diving down to catch insects or fish? One had a green beak so bright it looked like it was dipped in Chartreuse. There were nine. One off to the side was watching the other ducks, as they played, dived and floated along. At one point a group of seven ducks was floating so effortlessly so beautifully, it was like a dance. Near some rocks the currents were moving in wide circles with the ducks in them, round and round they all went. Like the tilt a whirl at Riverview. Then the duck watching from the rock joined them and I stood and watched them all float down the river.