. Walking among the thousand-year-old redwoods, near Santa Cruz—a holy place, inspiring reverence and awe.
. Seeing Duck Soup again, half a century later, and admiring Harpo's antics just as much as ever.
. Having the dog days pass unnoticed.
. Being impressed by Confederates, at TheatreWorks. A world premier, and very impressive. So timely, and thoughtful, about politics and racisim and scandals, and beautifully acted (just three characters).
. Laughing at The Mikado, transplanted to Italy and beautifully performed as usual by The Lamplighters. My favorite line was cut, but I filled it in from memory: "No money, no grovel."
. Long, lingering picnics with friends, in various shaded places. Most notably of all, the retirement picnic (baked chicken with Za'atar, Indian spiced rice, tapenade, rosemary almonds, a lovely tiramisu cake with decorative almond blossoms which I picked up from the baker in the morning); and Orinda (herbed turkey breast, farro and wild mushroom salad, ratatouille, smoked salmon and cream cheese, Gruet champagne, followed by the funny unknown Shaw play).
. Finding a recipe I'd copied for Chicken Kokkinisto, with allspice berries and cinnamon. Remembering how fond I am of Crete.
. Getting my poetry collection ready to submit to a chapbook publisher.
. Coming up with my definitive lifetime booklist:
Pogo and Peanuts
The Once and Future King
The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea
Summer of '42
P.G. Wodehouse at large
Gaudy Night, and Dorothy Sayers at large
Heaven Has No Favorites
The Song of the Lark and Willa Cather short story "A Wagner Matinee"
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita
The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, The Princess Casamassima,
and Henry James at large
Lolita, and Vladimir Nabokov at large
The Bone People
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Four Quartets"
short stories by J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever,
Eudora Welty, Graham Greene
The Sound and the Fury
The English Patient, Anil's Ghost, Running in the Family,
and Michael Ondaatje at large
Arcadia, and Tom Stoppard at large
The Sonnets to Orpheus, and Rilke at large
The Tao of Womanhood
One Continuous Mistake
poems by Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Billy Collins,
Michael Ondaatje, Denise Levertov; haikus
. Always, the amiable and meditative birds.
image: A La Campagne, Dog Days