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Near the ocean, lucky you, wrote my friend from England.  So I hopped in the car and drove down to see it, under this grey-white sky.  A family had set up camp near their car, because the tide was high.  Only a small strip of beach was exposed, and the horizon held a few cruise ships heading to see whales or to Boston. All was possible.  Lucky me, indeed.  I shed my socks and sandals on the sand, traced back to my car to deposit my raincoat and bag, and walked to the water’s edge.  The waves foamed over small stones which glistened like precious gems, if gems were not transparent but only colorful and shiny.  Wading in, I took snap after snap to see if I could capture the way the water changed the color of the stones.  Near me, a man swam with his glasses on.  Somehow, that made me happy: so practical.  I retrieved my raincoat and made a square to sit on, thinking of the women in E.M. Forester who sat on mackintoshes, and wrote a draft of this post.  The sun came out, hot on my head.  I thought to head back home, and lingered longer. All these people on vacation, relaxing, while I was not on vacation, but glad for a good while in my heart.


A yoga in art exhibit is forthcoming at the Freer-Sackler–donate this weekend!


Summer suspension

Stolen from the spring.


An umbrella in Portland, Maine.



Seventeen Year Cycles

Cicada stramps from around the world

Cicada stramps from around the world (Photo credit: DanCentury)


So much as been written about cicadas and their seventeen year period cycles.  My sister-in-law pointed me to one informative map from the New York Times.  No doubt, the cicadas have got a lot of people thinking.


This summer, I was to read Proust, but I am leaving it for the fall, when my time is more ordered than now. ( I am very happy to note my translator of choice won the Man Booker International Prize.)


Instead of In Search of Things Lost, I am thinking of Things to Come.  I joked to my niece that she ought to enjoy the cooing in the trees as she complains about their crunch underfoot, an easy thing to say where my near coastal yard is not cicada-filled but never quiet nonetheless.  I hear the continuous gulping of a frog, or the twittering of various birds, the swoosh of traffic, the buzz of construction. (I did hear a bumble bee squeakily explore a foxglove flower as I weeded nearby one after–a thrilling sound!)


I tell my niece in seventeen years, she will be someone entirely different from who she is now, but that I realize is the same for me, a deeply sobering thought.  Seventeen years will see me teetering towards seventy, an age I never really imagined, though I see ninety with some clarity.


What will I have done in seventeen years time?  I thought I had thirty years more to write books, to become the world-class writer I once dreamed of being at twenty-five.  When I embarrassingly asked my editor if I had it in me to become part of the conversation of world novelists I so admire, though I phrased it more crassly, she said, quite simply, I better get busy.  She is right. I would like to write more books.


I once only wanted to write six. Seventeen divided by three=five point six years.  Whew.  That seems immensely do-able.



Food and Books, in Lambertville

English: Indian spice

English: Indian spice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, I gave a reading at a lively event. It was at Anton’s at the Swan Hotel, housed in a building from 1870 furnished with curiosities and memorabilia, in New Jersey, where a once month, a dinner is given at once price, with one menu, to an enthusiastic crowd. The events are put together by the very graciously hostess, Miss Maxwell, and this one was suggested to her by my old friend Diane.

I read for my supper, and what a supper it was. Two long tables holding seventeen place settings were placed in a room covered with silks and chiffon from India. The tables held a long beguiling row of carefully potted marigold pots. In between the first (spinach and lentil soup garnished with a bright cucumber-tomato mix) and second course (baighan bartha, mango chutney, flat bread and basmati), prepared expertly (and deliciously, to the surprise of my family) by Chef Chris Connors,I read. After munching on cumin-seed shortbread and sipping strawberry lassi, I signed books, surrounded by family and friends, all under the painted gaze of British royalty.

I’d to return, to sip a martini or fauxtini, look for the John Cleese photo, as Diane suggests, and explore more of the Swan.

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