Monday, May 30, 2011

I wish I could place these photos side by side but the formatting is beyond my control, doesn't allow it.

Of course I no longer look the way I did 35 years ago, at age 16. And I am now older than Dora Maar was when this photo was taken (the image is cropped - in the original, she is seated next to Pablo Picasso). I wonder how old Dora is in this beautiful photograph. She looks to be in her twenties, thirties perhaps. I'll find out. The regional library system doesn't own this particular book, but I have managed to reserve another one by Mary Ann Caws about Dora Maar. With a few mouse clicks I have set into motion a process by which the book, according to records "checked in," currently sitting on a shelf in Hurley, in the Shawangunks of Ulster County across the river 40-50 miles southwest of here, will be retrieved, examined perhaps with idle curiosity by a clerk who may wonder why interest in this volume at this time, and sent off however these things are sent, not by pony express, but close enough, with an efficient, well-worked-out system of van stops at libraries up and down both sides of the river, the volume, with the image of beautiful Dora frowning in thought, making its way all the way up to the little town library north of me, so that by week's end I expect to receive an email message whose familiar title will read Your Library Request is Awaiting Pickup.

My darling, how are you? I hope all is well with you, thinking of you - all day, as the day went on, starting with, this morning, near dawn, or in the six o'clock hour when I groggily awoke to thunder and as I oriented myself to the different realm, immediate thoughts of you, as though my mind calibrates itself in your direction. Which it did, and as I lay waking I simply listened to the storm brewing, cacophonous coughs of thunder not so far away - but muted, so distant enough - accompanied by initially tentative spurts and sputters, and then (ah relief!) the start of heavy rain, not violent, no winds whipping, just soothing audible rhythm and calming release.

I got up, went to the computer, and when from downstairs D heard me stirring, he brought me a cup of coffee, something he's done every morning for as long as we've been together. Eventually I went about my morning rites and ablutions, and read more of Margaret Roach's gardening memoir, and the impression came over me again that perhaps my doppelganger is running around this county - on the other side of the Taconic.

The abysmal State of the Driveway is not a new vexation at all for my non-carnally-engaged addled mind, but just the other day (25 May) I blogged: "... I complained to [D] about our horrible driveway and in an extravagantly sweet gesture when I went upstairs he got on his cell & inquired of a working buddy how much would it cost for him to tear it up...

This morning I come to page 123 and read:
There is no real driveway here, at least not any longer. When I first came to the house, the drive went all the way up, ending right alongside the kitchen, so the passenger side of the parked car was perhaps just four feet from the building.... Perhaps a dozen years [later], a visiting gardening friend... looked out the kitchen window and simply said: "Do you like looking at your car instead of at the garden, Margaret?"... The local dozer guy came for an estimate the next day, and erased the old driveway not long afterward, layering on some topsoil and sowing grass seed, at first, which over time got dug up, chunk by tentative chunk, in favor of a walkway and then more beds and eventually a big stone skirt around the house, connecting walk to doorway. That driveway erasure was one of the best garden-design decisions ever made on this piece of land, and an expenditure I have never regretted...
And then my day continued. The rain stopped, D went off with the car, and I was very happy to stay at home today and putter around the kitchen. If yesterday morning was about cleaning - today was about cooking. So just in this really nice easy (but not treacly nauseating) dance I did a bunch of cooking this morning. For breakfast I fried up the remainder of strawberry pancake batter, but there wasn't enough for two, so I had spinach omelet with feta. Usually D and I have the same breakfast but this morning it didn't work out - we might have split the dishes but it wasn't a great combination - as D said, like eating down the menu. Despite all our conflicts (and now here I am upstairs blogging & sipping icefilled melting wine while D back from work is putting the finishing touches on the frame for the woodcut of Emily!) we usually do dine on the same things at any given meal.

So I was doing all this cooking this morning - spinach-feta pie made with farmstand spinach and the neighbor's eggs; homemade croutons; broccoli-rabe, tomato, and turkey sausage pasta sauce; a pitcher of citrus-herbal iced tea - and on this hot day (steam rising after storm, sun affixed in sky, temperatures hovering around 90) I stayed in all day long in the protective shade, moving around the kitchen, dicing onions while watching more of the fantastic PBS series Any Human Heart (I have, in spots, wept - it is that good, and I cannot watch it with D, I must be by myself).

And then I had to turn the heat off the onions because all weekend long my oldest girlfriend in the world and I had been trying to arrange a "phone date" and finally managed it - she was free, and I could get offline in a hurry - and I called her, and she called me back free long-distance, and we had an amazing time catching up with each other for an hour. She and I have had very different lives but from Day 1 of meeting - in tenth grade, 37 years ago - always, at any junction, any nexus - simpatico. What a joy & delight to hear her voice again, and to hear about how she - in the everyday, and in the grand narrative arc - has been writing her book.

Listen, darling, I am going to launch this thing without proofing and come back later to edit... some anti-virus program has kicked in, jamming up the computer works as I type, and besides I haven't been out all day long due to excessive sun & heat, but now the light at nearly 7 is soft, birds are twittering - and so on

very many kisses
& all my love

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