Monday, August 22, 2016

Elegy for Sunday Drivers


Sunday morning is all hurry now, too, like the rest.  All zip and zoom, the need to be someplace you're not, doing whatever you aren't.

What of the mild meanderers who set out with a folded map and thermos of coffee in a bright Guatemalan bag to find a walled garden or Benedictine abbey down a one-lane road, stopping to feed a winesap apple to a dappled gray in dappled shade, or visit an antique shop on the way, or out of it, and rub the bottoms of the copper kettles full of history and time with a gentle shirt-tail, admiring the verdigris—where have they gone?


And those slowed by a flow of sheep, an unnamed monastery open to the sky with broken stairs that lead no further than a fig tree?


Those who photograph sand bars when the tide is far out, and a blue fishing float, a steady track of small bare feet?  


The unhurried pair of sisters with the Cairn Terrier named Poo Bah?


The retired geologist who ambled off to have lunch out in Chimayo, where bees hummed at the honey bear intended for the sopapillas?  Who left the car in the shade afterwards and walked to watch the weavers and consider a handwoven blanket colored by dyes obtained from flowers, leaves, or insects, but ended leaving the purchase for another time?  What of the group I thought I recognized, having martinis in real glasses on the Pecos River later in the afternoon, slicing green chile bagels to eat with good country pâté?

Another SUV roars past, not looking back, and I pull off on the quiet side road, tired of rush and its oblivion.




image:  Dappled Grey

Katholiko or Gouverneto Monastery, Crete
Sandbars, Provincetown (Christie B. Cochrell)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Silence Isn't Golden



Silence is not always golden.  Today's is smoky as the northern California air which tells under its breath of distant fires, the dull heat of late August, the parched and sun-bleached land that won't revive again for months.  I find only muddle where my words should be, a garbling rather than warbling, a smudge of fingerprints obscuring the glass of the window on the world I press my nose against to try to see through—looking desperately for inspiration, finding none, not even a glimmer of a castle turret out beyond the clouded interface (though faith promises it is there, still there).

Nectarines, Matisse, Mozart, tiramisu, none manage to clear my muddy mood, to fill with their typical charm this lackluster lacuna in the month.

But then a little junco comes, in drab colors, in unassuming form, and cheers me.  And when I check the spelling in my father's ancient dictionary, the big Random House, I find juste-milieu, the golden mean, which gives me equilibrium again, gold of the best sort.






image:  Christie B. Cochrell, View from My Durham Window

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Joies de Vivre


To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.
—Elizabeth David, An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 

And an exquisite pleasure here as well, even midmorning, with the sun like roses full-blown.


image:  Christie B. Cochrell, Green Figs