and if you fail,
think of how well you've failed—Joyce Sutphen (These Few Precepts)
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I fail, daily and hourly, to be my own person, when under siege.
I remember out of the blue a house in Oakland with a tangled garden where I (just out of college and far lost from my way forward) shut myself in my room and hid, not wanting to be overwhelmed by my overweening roommate who knew herself already—her tastes, her style—unerringly.
But I have blundered very well into some semblance of a self, even here in this centrifugal force-field. Squirreling one piece of me away, and then another, and a third. The little stone Buddha, Jonas Kaufmann’s Verdi, a sunstruck bench at one of the missions, a red bocci ball and wood grain at Tassajara, my French press for Ethiopian coffee, the small kaleidoscope, a postcard of the Seine, an angelfish, the paper birds, white mint tea, roast tomatoes, beaded bags with semiprecious stones for keys and ID cards, this and that piled against the onslaught.
Mixed metaphors, I know—but that too is a fine failing, and very me.
image: She Who Is
Monday, October 21, 2013
I was momentarily saddened as I walked around the cemetery just outside the city walls of medieval Alcudia to see a couple of graves marked this way, just with numbers. The nameless dead—somebody loved, surely, before forgetting and oblivion set in, before all those who kept the name in their hearts were, in turn, no longer there to remember.
Against the back wall overlooking the Mallorcan valley I also saw stacks of headstones waiting for their inscriptions. A kind of eerie hovering of death, much like the Kite we saw this morning on the way to work, circling the grassy hill, waiting for prey.
But there is the memory of love, there, all around, and in the end I’m not saddened by cemeteries.
image: Christie B. Cochrell, 51
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Random favorite things about the trip:
- Central Park, saxophone lullaby
- New York dogs
- Mozart at the Met
- six a.m. decaf Americano at Pret a Manger, Heathrow
- sparrows in the fondly remembered breakfast courtyard at Hotel Born, Palma
- candle lanterns strung up in an olive tree
- peppers at the Sunday market
- lavender- and lemon-scented sea salt
- grilled Mediterranean vegetables and fish
- green door splattered with sun
- alluring country roads
- fieldstone farmhouses
- buying Cypriot Halloumi raviolis, used books, mint
- the tropical bird in the medieval plaza as the night came on
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Green Door, Alcudia, Mallorca