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