Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Best of June

A magnificent Don Carlo at the operahouse.  Being grateful once again for Verdi, and for having had the good fortune to visit his home in Busseto (including the little salami shop where the composers and musicians used to eat, near to the apartment where Verdi and his second wife lived, which we might have bought).

Having one of my flash fiction pieces published in FirstClass Lit, and learning that another short-short ("The Pinecone," yet to be published) got an Honorable Mention in the latest Glimmer Train contest.

Getting to hear one of Mozart's piano quartets on campus, one noon.  The charming St. Lawrence Quartet, ending the program with a tango nonet.

The Tassajara nectarine and goat cheese salad, with toasted walnuts and an unexpected roasted red pepper for color and a bit of bite.  Having nectarines in season so I could finally make it.

Thanking somebody for an important photo (the swan at Chapultapec that I was writing about recently) some forty-five years late.

The wedding of friends, in a summer garden.

An amazing young cellist, Alexey Stadler.

A delicious cauliflower, white bean, and herbed barley salad, made for a picnic.

Our days at Pescadero.  Many many many pelicans the first time.  And the next, just this week, a lovely old bulldog, Daisy, mostly crippled, who hobbled up the steps from the beach to come see me.  (Or perhaps to eye our sandwiches, though I think she mostly wanted company, having seen me admiring her.)

Summer reading.  Ways to Disappear, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

A long (too long postponed) dinner with good friends.  A lovely evening with four generations.  (Remembering just now the picnic on Bastille Day on a Paris roof, the year of the Bicentennial, which had that family feeling too, the sense of continuity and stories shared and wine and good food as the hours passed.)

The wild greens pie, so Greek and reminiscent of my Cretan rambles, I made with a cornmeal crust and the enormous bag of chard given us from the garden.

Getting to see Vladimir Ashkenazy conduct.  Our absolute favorite Mozart pianist, whose arthritis keeps him from the piano now, mostly.  A great, loud Tchaikovsky symphony (#4), as clamorous as my old favorite 1812 Overture.

The Barefoot Contessa's recipe for pink grapefruit margaritas.

Turning sixty without anyone noticing.  Knowing that I am much the same as I have ever been, only more so, only loving harder those things I've loved over the past five decades.  Trying so hard to be the person Henry James would have me be—
     “Try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost.”
     Henry James, The Art of Fiction

And resilient, in the way Jane Hirshfield admires—
More and more I have come to admire
Not the simple resistance of a pillow,
     whose foam returns over and
over to the same shape, but the sinuous
     tenacity of a tree: finding the
light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another.
A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles,
     rivers, mitochondria, figs—
all this resinous, unretractable earth.
—Jane Hirshfield

That will be good for going on with.

As will the memory of this bridge in a white village by Joaquin Mir Trinxet, another favorite new artist.  Richer and richer my treasures grow.

images:  Christie B. Cochrell, Doorway in Verdi's Birthplace
Joaquin Mir Trinxet, Unknown

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