Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy Inauguration!

I will be flying back to South Carolina from New York City as President Obama is being sworn in. I'll be sorry to miss the moment in real time, but in a way, it's appropriate for me to be in the air, going from my beloved city home to my "lovely village of the hills", to quote from Edgefield poet, Sarah Rainsford Collett. It seems I will always live my life between two poles. I'm a Gemini, after all. Does that explain it?

I'm thinking on this Christmas Eve of all my distant and absent friends and family. I miss you all and embrace you all and send you all the glad tidings of the season, meaning joy and peace and muddling through together, no matter how far flung.

Sentimental blessings on your heads and hearts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I so did not want to turn 65 that I accidentally left my cell phone in my clothes closet and shut the door on it. All day. I missed all my birthday calls.

It's over now, I've talked to everyone, and thanks for another day alive, on earth. I miss Jason.
Then one day, as I was driving, a squirrel got caught in the middle of the road in front of me, not knowing whether to stay put or run. I swerved to miss it, but instead I hit and killed it. I felt awful. I don't think I'd ever killed anything larger than an insect before. Except a snake.

I kept thinking afterwards that if I'd just kept going straight, the squirrel would have figured it out, what to do. By changing course, I had run into his plan for escape.

Don't swerve is my new motto.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I was out by the pool when I saw her first, a deer running along the crest of the hill on the other side of the stream. She was followed by a smaller figure I took to be a fawn. But, very shortly, the doe came crashing down to the stream and crossed to my side of the water. She was impaired in some fashion, she couldn't stand straight, she seemed weak and wobbly on her legs. She was just below me, where I stood on the pool deck, separated from her by a six-foot high stone wall. She was not twenty feet away, and on the other bank, watching her and dodging back and forth, was a real live scruffy-looking long-legged grey coyote. It was like watching TV. I was in civilization up on my safe pool deck, they were in another, dangerous, realm. Except it was real, it was right there. The deer ducked and parried for a moment or two, then broke upstream with the coyote in hot pursuit. I followed them along the bank until they were out of sight.

Later, when I went out to throw away the trash, a flock of buzzards lifted off from the trees and from the rocks along the curve in the stream bed, where I discovered the body of the deer lying, ribcage exposed, along the bank. Our friend who came to haul her away said that coyotes are all over the Eastern US now, even in the cities. Chicago, he said, has a big problem. Fortunately, around here, he added, people still shoot them, so they're wary of humans. But they will eat small animals -- so we worry about Phoebe, who was hiding, and Amos, who was curious about the smells, but leary. He did not bark.

Then, this evening, a buzzard was sitting, black and big, big as life (big as death), on the stone wall that supposedly marks the boundary between them and us. A challenge, a reminder, a warning, a hint.

Plus, for two nights running, the deck chair has been moved. Who has been sitting there? What's the idea?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's been a long time without much to report from life in the South. Emma is taking ballet and tap, both of which she loves. Our new little guy is almost five months old.

But the big news is that Louis and I were invited to a house party that included, on Friday night, a black tie dinner and, on Saturday night, a coon hunt! That's how we do things down here in the Southland! I threatened to wear my evening gown on the hunt, but I didn't. I would have been sorry. The twenty or so of us, host and guests, were transported to the starting point, an oilcan fire next to the mud, in a hay wagon drawn by a tractor. We waited there, half an hour or so, until dark. Then the hounds were let loose to find a raccoon. Soon we heard them baying. We walked to a spot beside the "road" no different from any other spot, where our leader, wearing a mining cap to light the way, suddenly plunged into the underbrush. After we had traipsed through the woods for ten or fifteen minutes, shining our flashlights before us, frequently stopping to let those who were slower catch up to the rest of us so no one would get lost in the dark, over and under branches and hillocks and tree stumps and tree stump sink holes, we seemed, I swear, farther away from the hounds than when we started out. After more traipsing and stopping, and another ten or fifteen minutes, we finally arrived at the aforementioned tree, the hounds were leaping and yowling, we trained our many flashlights up, way up, into the bare branches, and eventually were able to make out, very uncertainly, two very small yellow eyes looking down upon us. And that was it. Except of course, for the traipsing back and the hay ride home. The actual payoff was not the shooting of the coon (which shooting we did not do),let alone the eating thereof (for this was a "green" hunt), but the country BBQ dinner, for which we were all as hungry as hogs. Pulled pork, beans, rice, cole slaw, rolls, smoked salmon, and pecan pie! But naming does not do justice to the cooking, everything was slightly sweet, like well-made Southern tea, we all had second helpings, and slept in Sunday!