At the beach. As soon as I reached the shore, I realized how much I had missed the ocean. It had been eleven months since I visited. It was a warm day for late November; there was a steady breeze on shore, good jacket or sweater weather. It was low tide. Waves broke gently on the shore. Water far away was blue-gray; nearer it was green. The sky was overcast.
I separated from the group and took a walk down where there were no people and gazed out at the ocean. I felt the seeming infinity of water to the horizon and became more aware of the breeze, the sound of gently breaking water, the sound of flying flocks of seagulls and of those pecking on dead sea life washed ashore or left by fishermen.
The sky was overcast and there were broad shafts of light from the covered sun, diagonal on the sea. One, three, and then four shafts . They made lantern-like beams on the water. Finally clouds for a few moments parted and the sun shone through, after being preluded by proud and dramatic fanfares.
A man was surf fishing. He was barefoot on the shore. A boy with him was shin-deep in water, wearing short pants. Both were good at casting. Both were focused on the sea.
As we left, I noticed on the top of sand hills, the remainders of dunes, houses placed close together, facing the sea, overdevelopment. On the way home we stopped at a fish market selling fresh seafood, recently caught. The fish were in closed coolers, and we opened them to behold the beautiful catch of the day. We bought enough for our dinners and for our neighbors.
Buying a Christmas Tree. The day after Thanksgiving Day was warm and damp, in the high 60s. Even with the mid-afternoon mellowness and the promise of early dark, it did not seem a good time to be tree shopping. Our party was enthusiastic, nevertheless, and we drove into a lot lorded over by a triple-huge sized SNOWMAN. Friends found a tree that would trim down to size easily and had the workers cut off part of the trunk and trim branches. We were amazed that it was placed into a machine and emerged wrapped for the drive home. At home it was put in appropriate place in the room and awaited decorations brought in from the storage area. Part of the trimmed branches gave a good aroma to the trunk of Red Car. Christmas greens for me!
Notes on Reading. Fiction. Michael Cunningham, A Wild Swan and Other Tales. Picador, 2015.
There is wonder in this collection of eleven short narratives, many of them takes on stories from fairy tales. “Jacked” presents two contemporary psychological considerations of Jack, representing those who assert privilege, and those who are mere failures. “Little Man,” based on “Rumpelstilskin,” shows the futility of dealing with perfidious tyrants. “Steadfast; Tin” is the story of a contemporary marriage. “A Monkey’s Paw” is more chilling than the famous short story. “Poisoned” tells the story of the awakened princess through a poetic dialogue between the lovers.
The writing throughout is marked by wit and irony and intelligence, making the collection interesting and entertaining. The illustrations by Yuko Shimizu enhance tthe charm of the stories.