My dear love, just a quick post for this evening, it seems all that I can manage, I've started this post a couple of times and it seems to go nowhere. I think it's because I'm hungry, I didn't have quite enough protein at lunch, and look forward to dinner already, a stirfry that D will do, with grassfed beef, and vegetables that I just finished prepping so that the last minute cooking truly is a five-minute endeavor. Darling, I am having one of those moments right now that as much as I would like to commune with you via writing, I'd rather commune in some other form. I had a nice day, a very nice one in fact. D did a bunch of mowing yesterday evening, and suddenly the perennial garden surrounding the frog pond is accessible. I couldn't access it before, the grass was - how high was it - hip high? waist high? It was such an eyesore (no, not a 'lovely meadow effect') that I avoided looking at it. But today I did, could resolutely step up to the frog pond (not much larger than a quartet of manhole covers), and determined - as waisthigh weeds growing in the murk uprooted with a light tug (unlike dandelions) - that I am going to liberate the little Poland of beautiful echinacea that I know all sorts of creatures love, dragonflies, butterflies, bees, who knows maybe even the frogs themselves. D also relocated the black iron birdbath to the pen of four square raised beds, plus raspberry patch. And somehow the addition of that birdbath provides just the focal point or hood ornament (or what's the term for the carved sculpture sometimes to be found on old wooden ships - I can't think of it), much like Wallace Stevens' jar placed on a hill in Tennessee, and somehow that hill, the vision of it, organized itself around that jar.
So, despite all disciplined intentions, first some effectiveness, followed by a shower, and afterwards intent to set out for a walk except that I felt inspired to pull some weeds, so after that bit of exertion (in lieu of pilates) I went for my walk, and it is just so beautiful around here, I musn't ever get jaded to it, must continue to pinch myself. The shallow whitewater running creek that I walk alongside nearly every day - how incredible! And for some reason I noticed new glimpses of it, maybe the roadcrew guys had thinned some overgrowth that obscured views. But here and there in the dramatic creekbed, mounds of rocks over which spilled and frothed continually moving water, which I could continually observe with my eyes (so glad I'm not blind), and hear too, the constant rush of water here as it heads to the Hudson. So I'm very grateful.
And this afternoon I went to Olana and saw a one-woman performance of a play about Emily Dickinson. More about that, possibly, tomorrow (it's one of the posts I just started that didn't seem to go anywhere). I had mixed feelings about the play, but as I sincerely noted on the comments form attendees were requested to complete, that the setting was perfect - the play was staged directly outside the aptly named picturesque-style "Cosy Cottage" (Church's first home, prior to building the Persian-inspired manse, on his vast estate). At one point as I sat on my folding chair amidst the audience, I observed a robin on a nearby path, seemingly stopping to listen as "Emily" declaimed, and I think Emily herself would have approved. And also, I might add, the lighting effects - provided also by Nature - could hardly have been more beautiful - the actress stepping under the boughs of an actual maple tree, the sunlight illuminating her face in a way that any theatrical lights designer would envy. And the birdsong all around, and the view of distant blue hills across the river, the gently sloping (in this spot) Catskills, reminiscent perhaps of the Pioneer Valley.
And here now, theatre-critic me tries to set forth my quibbles with the play - but I'm truly not up for it, and I don't think the delightful lagniappe deserves harsh scrutiny. I guess what I'm trying to spit out (because why would I wish to postpone this to some future post?) is that I knew full well that I'd find the play itself wanting. There's an inherent structural flaw to it. E.D. didn't live her life out loud, and she like to tell the truth but tell it slant. She stayed in her upstairs room behind windows most days, and rarely countenanced visitors. And so to witness an unusually loquacious E.D. declaim endlessly about herself, not unlike in the way I blog (no, quite differently actually)
The sparkling lemonade was good, as was the blueberry-lemonade (I've never had that!) which was also sparkling, and I enjoyed seeing once again one of the staffers, a very lovely young woman with the most gracious welcoming manner. So it was a lovely afternoon, absolutely not deserving of any kind of merciless scrutiny.
The play was excerpted from one I'd seen more than 35 years ago now, entitled The Belle of Amherst. The performance I saw way back then, was sponsored by the Smith Club of Greenwich, and took place in an auditorium in Greenwich someplace, and starred the wonderful Julie Harris, whose birdlike original flutters I remember to this day.
And that's the other remark I have to say about this staging. That I don't believe it got to the essential Emily in any fashion. It's (perhaps) a good intro. But at this point I've done so much reading & thinking about her & feel very inspired by her. The play does not do justice to the vision I have come to about Emily - that hers was a unique, radical, artistic, revolutionary, meteoric genius - one of the first "moderns," before her time, in the way that perhaps we think of as modernism coming later, in the early 20th century, with all sorts of breakthroughs (e.g., cubism) in art and in philosophy. (E.D. absorbed through her pores the Civil War in the way that her successors across the Pond fifty years later were to absorb World War One?)
As much as I enjoyed the afternoon, the beautiful setting, the origami facade of the cottage, painted in ochre with brackets and trim in russet-maroon (to think that Frederic Edwin Church had lived there, set off on creating his family there)...
As much as I - where on earth was I going with this? I'm sorry darling, I've lost my own thread. The sun is setting, the light is fading. A faint bird twitters, drunk with sunflower seed and perhaps a dip in the relocated birdbath.
oh yes, I just remembered my thread - that sitting there watching the uncontroversial, chaste, unthreatening version, made me appreciate anew the singular achievement of Jerome Charyn with his novel, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson
which I mentioned to the woman who happened to be seated next to me, quite companionably
and I also mentioned the FB page to her, noting that it has nearly 6,000 members - among whom Michele Obama! - and that I look at nearly every day & learn a lot
I stopped by a farmstand and came away with an enormous bouquet of orange tigerlilies and - is it feverfew? - airy daisylike wildflowers that I suspect though I paid $3.50 may have been clipped from the side of a road (well, someone has to be paid to clip them).
And that's it, darling, I hope wherever you are that all is well with you and that you are happy. I am very, very happy to be able to connect with you in this way - if in no other -
horseheads to eternity, my darling Equus