Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Day Late

(This should have posted yesterday, of course, but I was feeling moonstruck—)

What comes to me on this spring solstice (and full moon) day?
. A new Mary Oliver poem, "Leaves and Blossoms along the Way"
(The point is, you're you, and that's for keeps. —words I've been waiting to hear
. a recipe for lamb burgers with grilled shallots and goat cheese
. a picture of a friend in an intriguing northern England garden; countryside I almost know
. one of the tiny paprika-size-and-colored bugs I know from childhood (windowsills, Santa Fe:  box elder bugs, maybe?  And why am I associating them with Latin classes and the sunny patio behind our classroom one May morning?)
. a little ringing of the treebell / birdbell with its paper tail
. the pages of writing I thought I'd lost, and a confusion of others
. a good curry, under the trees
. bright red Adirondack chairs for sitting in to edit
. the mirrors in the garden—a multiplication of garden like a reflecting pool, but holding mysteries and almost memories (that sultry square somewhere in Mexico where a train stopped for an hour one night)

image:  She Who Is, Woman of the Wild

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pink Roses

Mine, and others'.  (All mine, of course, in the end, after I pick and rearrange theirs — unrepentant thief that I am of beauty.)

I'd love to have the whole place swimming in roses

—James Joyce, Ulysses

Somebody hands up to the stage a bunch of obviously home-grown roses, after the official cellophane-wrapped bouquet—generous full-blown blossoms from an old garden Damask rose, a climber, nurtured on bone meal and sometimes, Ruth can’t help suspecting (seeing the two woman who have given them beaming, looking so much alike, but one ancient, tiny, bent), Peet’s Sierra Dorada coffee grounds swooshed from the breakfast cafetière—“the very devil to clean, otherwise”—by the gardener’s Hampshire-born mother, widowed for six years, who shares a little house with her in Fairfax and has loved Dame Kiri as her own since she sang at Charles and Diana’s wedding.  The petals rain down as the singer touches them and puts her nose to them; soon the stage around her is littered with vivid red petals.
(from "Bridges," by Christie B. Cochrell)

I see you, rose, book half-opened,
having so many pages
of detailed happiness
we will never read.

. . .

Summer: to be for a few days
the contemporary of roses;
to breath what drifts about
their blooming spirits.

. . .

All that we feel, you share,
yet we ignore what happens to you.
There would have to be a hundred butterflies
to read all your pages.

There are ones among you like dictionaries;
those who gather these
are tempted to bind all the pages.
Me?  I like the roses which are letters.

(from Roses by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by David Need)

images:  Christie B. Cochrell, Pink Roses and White Hydrangeas; Vincent van Gogh, Vase with Pink Roses; Pierre Bonnard, Pink Bouquet; Pierre Auguste Renoir, Roses in a Vase; Pierre Bonnard, Vers Bouquet de Roses; Vincent van Gogh, Pink Roses

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Reading in the Garden

Another favorite new artist, of the romantic bent I'm head over heels in at the moment, avoiding reality like crazy (or maybe trying to visualize that alternate reality I'd like).

Though my dress isn't nearly as rosy, I'm sitting in my own garden among the shades of rose immersed in To the Lighthouse—always favorite summer reading, and something I felt nostalgic for.  Maybe Colette next, or a Marguerite Duras.

"There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs."
—Henry Ward Beecher

A little French Sumatra decaf, to be followed by some cold Lady Grey tea . . . and later a wedding, and an opera, and maybe lamb burgers in a walled patio in the city . . . what more should summer be?

image:  Richard Emil Miller

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Best of May

Returning to Kona all these years later, and finding it—and me—essentially unchanged.

Lilacs at Kew Gardens.  Getting there at all, at the end of the week and day (if not down the Thames grandly on a riverboat), taken by the whimsical notion of going in search of the grass garden mentioned in The English Patient
"They unwrapped the mask of herbs from his face. The day of the eclipse.  They were waiting for it.  Where was he?  What civilisation was this that understood the predictions of weather and light?  El Ahmar or El Abyadd, for they must be one of the northwest desert tribes.  Those who could catch a man out of the sky, who covered his face with a mask of oasis reeds knitted together.  He had now a bearing of grass.  His favourite garden in the world had been the grass garden at Kew, the colours so delicate and various, like levels of ash on a hill."

The cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral.


My friend Fleur's chocolate brown hen speckled with turquoise paint from brushing up against the newly painted house.

The all-white bedroom where I slept, filled only (enormously) with morning sunlight, the calling of doves, and a treasure of books.

One of them, Masaru Emoto's amazing study of various influences on water molecules, Messages from Water.

The mango-flavored Kona Brewing Company ale, frosty cold.

The ceremony for my mother of flowers and friends and words.  Aloha translated:
alo, 1. sharing 2. in the present
oha, joyous affection, joy
ha, life energy, life, breath
Using Hawaiian language grammatical rules, we will translate this literally as "The joyful sharing of life energy in the present" or simply "Joyfully sharing life."

The boat blessed with red ti leaves.

An inspirational new title for a poem or story:  Playing Canasta in the Afterlife.

Incalculable gifts of friendship.

Revisiting the yellow fish.

The feeling (awed!) of being held in the embrace of the enormous banyan tree, and looking up and up inside it, like a great living cathedral, standing already high up on the platform of the treehouse.


Guava smoked goat cheese.

Driving through a whole cloud of purple jacaranda blossoms, outside Waimea.

Staying at Peregrine House on Hawks Lane.  (In principle, though better was the little Georgian room that looked out on the Norman castle which we had all to ourselves first thing in the morning.)

A book on the monastic life by Patrick Leigh Fermor, picked up at the cathedral shop.

Royal Deeside heather honey shortbread.

The forest white tea from Hawai'i, which also is reminiscent of honey.

Derek Jacobi's wonderful rendering of Mercutio, in the Kenneth Branagh production in London.

Walking in the woods outside Oxford, with bluebells and violets and other spring flowers, after a lunch of crusty bread and lovage soup.

The cottontail and jackrabbits gracing our yard.

The sunstruck peonies left kindly in my writing room at month's end.

images:  Emanuel Phillips Fox, Woman Writing
Christie B. Cochrell, Lilacs at Kew, Cloister, Water with Yellow Fish, Peonies