Friday, November 04, 2005

It's Indian summer here. Temperature in the high 70s, sunny and lovely. Enjoy it while it lasts!

My daughter sent me new pictures of the baby. Emma has grown so much since the last time I saw her, at Labor Day, the pictures took my breath away! Time is rushing past like the big winds of the stratosphere!

On the other hand, Louis and I went down to the Modoc Speedway again last Saturday night for the big $10,000 race. Our friends were racing. What an experience! It was loud, dirty and cold -- but we had a wonderful time! The cars are rattletraps, but so colorfully painted and lovingly tended! All the winnings go back into the cars.

They're brought to the Speedway in trailers practically the size of houses, and the trailers have widow's walks on top so that the owners and mechanics and their families can stand or sit up there to watch the races! It's definitely a family affair, with wives and children of all ages hovering around the cars in the pit. We sat in the pit bleachers. We ate hot dogs and French fries and drank hot chocolate. It may be warm during the days now, in October and November, but the nights are cold.

We didn't get home until what would have been 3AM except for the change in the clocks back to standard time. The big race came last of all the races and took more than 2 hours to run because every time a car spun out or collided with another car or lost a roof or had some other mishap, the race had to be stopped so the roof could be put back on or some other piece of metal could be torn off altogether or the car could limp or be towed off the track, which is what happened to our friends' car. Something stopped the race on nearly every lap--and we were told the race was 50 laps long. We lost count! So you can see why it took forever!

Dirty with red dust, cold, tired and delighted were we.

Everything had to be washed on Sunday.

Monday, September 19, 2005

We went even further into the country last Friday night to the stock car races! it was lots of fun! We have friends who race and they were there to explain it all to us, which helped. The dirt track had been wetted down, thank god, or we'd have been a total mess. Folks who knew we were going laughed at us: from Manhattan to Modoc! they said. You'll have to wash your hair before you go to bed. As it was it was relatively clean for us spectators, at least. The cars were a wreck, or course, and there were a lot of car casualties. Some races that started with a dozen cars ended up with three or four!

We got home at midnight and we were so revved up we couldn't go to sleep until one-thirty. We spent the time talking about our old travels. All those cars skidding round and round so fast on that track woke something up inside us! Adventure!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Phoebe was flirting with the butterflies as they sat atop the fallen figs, feasting. Four red-spotted purples, at right angles to each other, forming a black, artificial flower, opening and closing their blue-tipped wings in a silent dance. Phoebe watched, then she extended her pretty white paw to touch, and one by one the butterflies flew away.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The sixtieth anniversary of Hirsoshima. All nuclear weapons and energy technology must be resisted! If only because the waste can't be disposd of safely for thousands and thousands of years. Not to mention the dangers of possession by nation states (including ours) and international revolutionaries.

Down here nearby the Savannah River Plant, summer is progressing apace. Earlier in the summer, we had a bobwhite and a whippoorwill singing morning and evening. We've had two great blue heron sightings: in both cases we saw him (her) flying out of the top of a tall tree, leading us to believe that he (she) nests in the trees and comes down to the creek to feed.

I have a little square turquoise ceramic ashtray I inherited from my mother. It sits on a table by the sliding glass door in our bedroom. I walked into the bedroom the other day to find a green anole resting on it, completely still, looking just like a majolica sculpture.

Out west, meantime, our Emma is learning to smile. She smiled at me several times when I was last there, when she was just a baby of five weeks old. Now that she's a grown-up eight weeks old, her parents tell me she's smiling a lot. She's also talking on the phone. She definitely said hi to me the other day. She's trying to get her hand to her mouth. She can see it out there, but she doesn't know how to make it come to her. Sometimes it arrives unexpectedly. Then she's happy. But then it goes away just as unexpectedly and she wants it back. Very frustrating.

Enjoy the heat. It will be gone soon enough.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I was in the delivery room for the birth of Emma! What a thrill!

She took her time getting here -- she was 10 days late -- but she's here, alert, alive, and a love!

We missed her so much once we had to come home that we adopted a kitten to shower with our unused affection. Phoebe is 7 months old, a white kitten with caramel markings, a ringed tail, and golden eyes. She's very affectionate with people, but she and Amos are taking a little time to get acquainted.

He was a little jealous at first, a little anxious about his position. He seems reassured that we still love him best.

It's such a metaphor. She lies back and waves her tail at him, but when he comes too close, she swats him. He keeps coming back for more, though he's learned to be a little wary. When he's ignoring her, she follows him around as if he were her big brother, the most interesting person in the world. When he wants to play, he runs away from her, expecting her to run after him. She stares. When she wants to play, she pounces at him. He jumps.

They have different signals. Sound familiar?

It's cooler today and cloudy. We've had a lot of rain, and it's been steamy. I wonder what it's like where you are?

Happy Fourth of July to all Patriots, of whatever stripe!

Monday, May 23, 2005

We have a pair of cardinals who eat the striped sunflower seed in the morning we throw out on the lawn in the evening.

A pair of titmice (titmouses?) have nested on top of one of the pillars outside the livingroom. When distrubed from the nest, they like to sit on the bent chair back of the white wrought iron loveseat we placed on the lawn overlooking the stream, where they can keep an eye on things. We hoped somebody would sit on that seat!

A pair of Carolina wrens have built a nest in one of the petunias we have on the balcony overlooking the lawn and stream. We watched them bring the leaves and twigs. The first day I threw it out. Then we decided to let them keep it. Unless they've abandoned it in the last day or two, seeing that I water the plants every morning.

The human baby's due on Sunday! Spring is busting out all over.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Not to mention the iris which is gloriously blooming now, purple at the edge of the woods, yellow down by the creek. We just watched a king snake slither slowly along the railroad ties where we think he has his winter home. We like him: he eats rodents and keeps other snakes away. Or so they say.
It's the first of May. We've been here one year and three months today. I meant to write when the daffodils came out. I meant to write when the wisteria was in bloom and winding through the thickets of trees across whole village blocks and covering acres of woodland. I meant to write when white dogwood blossoms layered the forest. I meant to write when the ubiquitous azalea was at its peak. Now the snakes are out again basking in the sun, and here I am. That'll tell you something about me!

Monday, March 07, 2005

The robins are coming! The robins are coming!

Don't bother, they're here!

Arriving in flocks or in one flock, at least, they cluster under the crepe myrtle trees, pecking the dried berries, rattling the fallen leaves aside.

Not drunk on coffee berries the way they get in Floirida on that one day in spring when they descend on the garden and careen from bush to bush.

But hopping and flying about in the yellow bell, nodding busily at the retaining wall against which the crepe myrtles stand, feeding and fussing, fussing and feeding.

A female cardinal watches from the sidelines, her wax-colored, orange-beaked dignity. She wouldn't be caught dead like them, stooping to eat off the floor.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

We've sold our beloved little cottage in Florida. There are a dozen reasons, but the most important one is Emma, our pretty soon to be granddaughter. I hope to spend a lot more time in California.

My brother borrowed his wife's van, and, accounting engineer that he is, made everything add up. A work of art. He arranged all our personal possessions to fit into the space available, drove with me 8 hours home, stayed the night, then turned around and drove 8 hours back.

My hero.

Now, for the first time in many years and for one of the few times in my life, I live all in one place.

The daffodils are up.

It won't be long now.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The ice storm was beautiful, cold and clear. Trees sheathed in ice, icicles dripping like a lace tablecloth off the picnic table, birds to our surprise darting about as if at play, flashing their colorful wings, everything still except for their chirping and the snapping of frozen limbs. We lost power. We huddled in front of the fire, listened to the battery-operated radio or to nothing at all but the crackling (fake) log, lit the night with honeysuckle candles.

Before it all melted away next day, I went swimming just to prove I could, ice still hanging from the deck chairs, me in the outdoor pool in midest -winter, thinking of all my dear snowed-in up your eyelashes also-lucky and beloved friends up North.

Today is the first anniversary of our move from there to here.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

It's a girl! She has moved in the womb and there are pictures of her via the amazing technology of the sonogram! Probable name: Emma.

Meantime, back on the ranch, we had a visit from a stray dog the other day, a sad, old, crippled, skinny hunting dog whom I'd seen a day or two before wandering across the road above our house. Amos played with him for a little bit before he wandered off up the hill towards the main road. We let him go, hoping one of the children further down the road would take him in, feed him, love him, and keep him in his old age. But we let him go.

Which is to say that I'm guilty of a kind of callousness I'm about to ciriticize in others.

We're told that hunters sometimes abandon their old dogs when they can't hunt anymore. Sometimes they let them out at the side of the road, sometimes they tie them to trees and leave them to die.

If hunting deer (or living a too full and comfortable life) can produce this kind of callousness towards other creatures, imagine the callousness produced by killing other human beings. Defenses go up like dukes; guilt hardens the heart.

Guilt is one of the major character defects. When unjustified, it cripples us like that old dog. When justified, it makes us all deeper and deeper hunters.