Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dearest love, back up in the aerie after a few hours in town where I caught a recital that featured a wonderful young bass-baritone accompanied by an accomplished pianist, in a program of several very dramatic, beautiful songs. The songs, by Mussorgsky, Berlioz, Britten, and Offenbach, were very rich, textured, and complex, and the piano counterpoints very difficult. It was much less piano accompanying singing voice, than a collaborative duet between piano and voice. I barely understood a word, the songs were in Russian and French. The Britten was in English, a song from the Rape of Lucretia and apparently (as emerged from discussion after the recital) as beautiful and heartrending as the song is, the character really is contemplating, yes, rape, that results in the death of the heroine. Ah, well. I don't know - somehow I didn't need to know that.*

Not thinking it through now, letting it go like a lovely butterfly which by the way I did see one on my walk this afternoon by the creek. But it was camera shy and fluttered off.

(*Flaky footnote, I've been doing my pilates workouts weekdays at 9 a.m. when Law & Order SVU comes on (best I can do w/out cable). So I felt like the Mariska Hargitay character sitting in the audience listening to this beautiful music, you just can't ever get away from your day job now can you...)

I was having a strange day, feeling slightly off-kilter. Got distracted by a Poland Spring bottle that got stuck in the cupholder just as I was waiting to turn onto the main highway, and the wheels started to roll - oh yikes, I caught myself in time - but my God. That rattled me a bit, that I had allowed myself to become distracted as that. I am feeling jinxed in the driving department these days, a bit, I'm sorry to say. I am trying to be good.

On my way into town I drove - eyes wide open, proper slow speed - past a retirement home for firemen (as specialized as that) and outside the gate an elderly man stood, waving. I've heard that there's a "waver" around, some guy who waves at passing cars, I figured that was him. I waved, then glanced again - no, the old gentleman was frantically sticking out his thumb - he was trying to hitch a ride! Fortunately the speed limit in that spot is like 25 so I slid to a halt (without looking, but fortunately didn't get rear ended) and the gentleman bounded up to my car and I reached over and pushed open the passenger side door for him. He clambered in very gratefully. It was ten to four, he was trying to get to a Catholic Mass in town, his ride hadn't shown, and he was desperate. So I drove him there, we got there safely (!), and we chatted very amiably in the car. Actually he talked and talked and I clucked very sympathetically, I felt really bad for him, for his situation, and the zillions of others like him (and there but for the grace of God someday go us?). I said, how's it living in the firemen's home? He replied, fine if you're very sick. What if you're not? (This guy was elderly, but of healthy color, energetic, wits about him.) Then it's a prison. He complained how, for example, at lunch that day, they're required to appear in the eating area at a certain time, but lunch was delayed by an intolerably dull 35 minutes where he could have been doing something else and when it was finally served he found the beef inedible because he has false teeth so they gave him a peanut butter sandwich but there was only the faintest smear of peanut butter. (I don't know that I have the details completely right, I'm not exactly deposing myself here, as in a legal document. But that was the sorry gist of the tale he told.)

He told me a couple of times that he had been a fireman for 73 years. They threw him a big party when he retired. Wait, I said to him, I'm trying to do the math. How old are you - ninety? Ninety-four, he said.

The man did not look ninety. He was full of vitality, and I'm no geriatrics expert but I would have put him at late 70s, early 80s maybe.

There is a lot of life left in us.

I'm glad I was able to give him a ride. It meant a lot to him, and it meant a lot to me.

And I wasn't late for the concert, which was charming and wonderful in the venerable old Hudson opera house, and afterward I went to a literary reading of the freshest crop of international writers from the arts colony. Usually their events are held at their rural enclave, but today's was on the third floor gathering space above a streetfront wine shop. Wonderful noshes, various deliriously delicious cheeses, walnuts, crushed cranberries, thinly sliced sausage, artisanal baguette slices - a dream. I said to someone, I hope heaven includes spreads like this, he replied - we're in heaven now.


Very very many kisses my beloved dearest love, XOXO

the sun has set and outside the window birds twitter & Penelope slumbers on a cushion next to me

very many kisses and wishes for heaven - with you & me in it


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