Category: Life


Dusty Rooms and Stargazing

January 20th, 2016 — 12:39pm

January 20, 2016

7:07 a.m.

Deer Park, Michigan

-2 F, and clear, and quiet, save the squeak of boots on snow, if you’re walking up a path

This blog is like a dusty room I haven’t peeked into in ages.  Dismaying to think about.  My shoulders tense into a guilty hunch.  Easier to keep the door closed, as with so many thing in life.  I’ll open it later.  Tomorrow.  But, also as with so many things, it’s not so overwhelming once you do get started, and since I’ve been dealing with a lot of dusty rooms–actual dusty rooms, and cupboards, and corners–lately, I have my approach handy.  Quit talking and/or thinking and just start. Somewhere, anywhere.  And then keep going.

This is the antithesis of a profound insight, and yet it’s easy to forget, or anyway, forget for just long enough to leave the door closed and wander off again.

Better to open it, that’s what I think.  Yank it on open.  As I heard some sports announcer say on the TV last night, It’s never too late to do the right thing.

So now that I’m in here, now what?

I went outside in my pjs while the coffee was brewing.  (PJs plus parka, hat, and boots.)  Took the dog, who was feeling very bark-y.  Walked up the path toward Muskallonge Lake, saw a shooting star–!–and waded through deeper drifts then I’d been imagining.  (Snow up over top of boots and down in.  Shoot.  Cold.  Oh well.  Have come this far, keep going.)  And then I achieved the shore.

There were stars!

Well, I know there are always stars, but it’s been cloudy lately, and it was stars that lured me outside in the first place.  I saw them glinting through the treetops while I leaned against the counter near the coffeepot.  I remembered the planetary alignment.   Five of them in a row for us to admire, and wonder at, and muse over, which is what I wanted to do the moment my friend Gary mentioned it on the phone yesterday afternoon.

And I did, that’s all.

Sallie at sunset on Muskallonge Lake

13 comments » | Life

For Bill Quill from Louisville

May 30th, 2015 — 2:09pm

Dear Bill,

I know you know how much I love the way your name rhymes with itself and with your city.  Evelyn said you looked for a posts through the winter and didn’t find as many as you wanted.  There were a few, Bill!  But here is another, for you and for everyone.  It is worked in like whip-stictches among the different little tasks of my morning, and so it will be short, and maybe disjointed, but no less well meant for that.

What can I tell you?

Winter has ended, or almost, anyway.

It’s cool but sunny this morning.  The raisin and the molasses cookies–Great Grandma Daisy Butcher’s molasses cookies–have just come out of the oven, and the smell–  The smell, the smell.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, vanilla.  It’s the smell of my childhood in some ways, as well as of most of my adult life.  It’s the smell of morning, of work, of hope, sometimes of exhaustion, but no matter how tired I am, it always lifts my spirits or at least consoles them.

It rained hard yesterday in the evening and I sat for a little more than one full minute–I tracked the sweep of the second hand on the old RC clock–and watched the trees lash and bounce while Laura sat at the table with me looking something up on the computer.  A pizza was baking.  It needed that minute and so did I.  It was a peaceful moment, a tiny one, a good one.

I’ve been feeling reflective about the joys and griefs of life, this week.  A man was laid to rest too young yesterday.  I remember a game of euchre we played, laughing across the table.  A snowshoe walk along the edge of Sable Lake.  A baby two days old, tiny and wearing a knit cap too large for him, offered down to me in a chair I couldn’t get up from that particular winter.  Such love and pride.  How must those closest to him feel?  I can imagine a little. And yet this honor of grieving is what is offered all of us, if we will truly love, and live.

You know about that.

IVY BLAKE comes out in just ten days now.  I’m proud of her.  She’s a toughie, a toughie with a tender heart.  An optimist in the face of not-optimal conditions.  Like a parent I hope the world will treat her kindly and also know I can’t control what the world does.  She’s become acquainted with so many people already.   The curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota, for one.  She wrote and told me Ivy was featured at the librarian’s conference at Book Expo America in NYC this last week.

Isn’t that something, I thought.  Ivy gave me a little wave, grinning.

I hope you are well, Bill.  I hope everyone is well.

More soon, or soonish, anyway–

Ellen

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