A Place. There is a large corner vacant lot on my Home-by-the-Highway Walk. Its space is defined by nine oak trees growing in a rough circle. There are two concrete benches, one near the north corner, under a willow oak, the other under a dogwood tree on the east side. There are two concrete urns, about five feet high, placed in a line about mid-way the space. The top side of one is missing. Behind the urns is a mature fig bush, well cared for, and harvested. At the back of the lot are three small cedar trees in a row. What is this space? Someone’s side yard? is it a park, private or public? Is it used for meditation? Gatherings? Is it in someone’s memory? Is it a place for rituals? Celebrations? It’s a beautiful and peaceful space.
Summer. (1) On a foggy morning, I walk the Great Dialogue Bubble Walk. The fog is thick. I can see only half-block away. Sounds are muted. It is cool but humid. As I walk, the fog gradually clears, and it becomes hot and muggy. I stop at the local Farmers’ Market long enough to buy two turn-overs and a head of hydroponic lettuce. (2) July has provided respites from high heat and humidity. One morning, it feels like fall. It is cloudy, and the clouds are barred. The predominate bird sounds are crows and mourning doves. At home, I notice that the outdoors are cooler than inside. Time to open windows and doors and enjoy cooler weather, short-lasted though it will be.
A Supper of Miscellaneous Southern Treats. Appetizer: dill pickles from Mount Olive and sweet pickles and onions from the relative of one of the guests. First course: lightly stewed okra, country ham biscuits, fried bologna (with option of making a sandwich with cheap yellow mustard and mayonnaise.) Second course: gazpacho made with fresh summer vegetables, grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. Third course: biscuits and molasses. We made a pocket in the side of the biscuit with thumb and poured molasses into the pocket. Some used Irma’s Blackberry Wine Jelly instead of molasses. Take home bags: Cokes in bottles with peanuts to pour into the bottle and drink them as they come out of the bottle with the coke. Moon pies. Left overs from supper. San Pellegrino water infused with blood orange juice. Yummers.
Reading, not Weeding. It has been a while since I have been so involved in a long novel that I have been loathe to set it aside for other things. Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and in Shadow has consumed much of my time this week, to the expense of others things. It’s an excellent work. Helprin’s skill in writing is evident in his capturing the magic and joy of romance and love, presenting powerful scenes of World War II, deftly drawing scenes of the lives of the wealthy, suspenseful plotting of a plan to fight organized crime and enacting it. There are memorable details of business and social life in New York City at the end of the war, for instance a cast awaiting newspaper reviews of opening night of a play. Helprin evokes the joy and magic of being alive: ” . . . in the end the whole world is nothing more than what you remember and what you love, things fleeting and indefensible, light and beautiful, that were not supposed to last, echoing forever–golden leaves swept across the Esplanade, wind-polished bridges standing in the winter sun. . . ” (p. 702) Mark Helprin, In Sunlight and in Shadow, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.