The baby quails nesting in the lopsided bush beside our porch—(though a tragedy with a swift and silent hawk the same day as the death of the priest in Rouen has left me fearing for them more than I can delight in their baby bounce now. My innocent enjoyment is gone, or severely rattled, my love much cordoned-about with cautions against losing more of me.)
. Beethoven's 9th, his life-affirming symphony with choir, horns, and trumpets. "Every creature drinks in joy"—music to take to heart.
. Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, joyful in quite a different key, and equally restorative.
. Somebody singing in the back garden, this last day of the month. An off-key hymn maybe, the Baba Yetu we heard one workday on campus, the Lord’s prayer sung in Swahili, or ad lib plainchant, or some kind of spiritual or working song, from a culture I'm not even aware of, giving thanks another way. A second voice picking up from the first. A man and wife, celebrating Sunday. (Saturday is usually tennis lessons with the children on the red clay court. Or actually a green court which I have transformed into red clay, because I liked the one in Aosta so much, and the one I used to play on with my friend Rachel back home in Santa Fe, at the convent across the road from school, the net torn and swayed, no one ever around.)
Good books, even without a striped hammock or Nantucket porch swing to read them in—
. The High Mountains of Portugal, by Yann Martel. Quite fascinating. (And never mind that Portugal has no high mountains: that's one of the fascinating things.)
. A Small Death in the Great Glen, by A.D. Scott. Compelling, a good summer read. The first book in a series of mysteries set in the Highlands, which sat on my shelf for years untouched and I was pleased to find.
. After the Fall, by Victoria Roberts. Funny. Very New York, like Eloise, beginning with a most precocious Olmec head.
. tea with blue cornflowers (the Darjeeling with strawberries as well)
. another tea, a gift from Mendocino, with flowers too, hibiscus, and the spice of cinnamon, the leisurely presence of elderberry
. the edible flowers I found to decorate a double-chocolate clementine cake for last night's dinner with friends around an outdoor table
This blessing, for the coming month, from John O'Donohue—
May you awaken to the mystery of being here
And enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and
Anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift
Woven around the heart of wonder.
images: Christie B. Cochrell, Bowl with Tea
Cake with Edible Flowers, MyLife Living Assistance