The beauty being served up by Nature this Spring is stunning. Bright yellow iris swim in a sea of green grasses as a gentle breeze blows by in Sonoma. Elsewhere roses are blooming in profusion, and pink rhododendron have never been bigger. All the rain quenched their thirst from years of drought, and there is a celebration going on. Between that and listening to Bach's "Magnificat," I am filled with gratitude for what is right with the world, and more determined than ever to right what is wrong.
I like the idea of "sea change," but the truth is, I resist change as much as possible. I like familiarity and habit and that goes for just about everything from clothes to friends to possessions to daily routines. I have noticed that real change, deep down sea change happens in small increments over time. Little shifts in focus, a slight change of course, and before you know it, you have entered new territory.
Sitting on a beach, seeing the sea change, waves breaking in different ways, creating patterns and coming and going and coming another way again; that is plenty of change for me.
Wrapped up in every raindrop is the promise of the future. Sonoma is soaking it up, saving it for a sunny day. And I, for one, can't get enough of rain splashing on my windshield, water rushing down the creek, and wildflowers popping up on every hillside.
Sonoma is so beautiful this spring it is almost heart braking. If only everyone on earth could hear the birds singing their tiny hearts out, and see the jack rabbits crossing the meadow and, watch the wild turkeys showing off for the ladies, and see the vineyards bursting into bloom on an April afternoon. I am sure there would be less strife and anger and ugliness. If only.
I have been missing the ones who are gone. They touched my heart and soul with theirs, and I carry them with me everywhere I go. Once in a blue moon someone comes along who lights up the world with just being who she is.
Thanks to a friend who knows me well, I recently discovered Amy's writing, words, and brave creative endeavors. What a spirit! "Textbook" and "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" and children's books and happenings.
I would have liked to tell her how much her books mean to me. But she is gone. So her inspiration will just have to continue on through me and all the ones she touched, while we wait for another blue moon to rise.
Distractions have threatened to derail me lately. The barrage of news from the outside world, calling my representatives, and the constant list-making inside my mind have been creating havoc. And then there is Mary Norris's enchanting book, "Between You and Me," which has me second guessing every sentence and punctuation I write.
Despite it all, I happened upon the beach last week while walking with a friend from afar. A breath of fresh air in the company of friendship gives one some perspective. The world is big. We are small. Life is short. Live it up.
Last week I took time out from all the sadness at hand to step back in time at the Legion of Honor, taking in "Monet: The Early Years." "The Red Kerchief" has stayed with me. She is so alive in her bright red against the winter chill, fleeting past the window, so like life. The lady in her yellow hat and slicker carrying a red purse is stopped in her tracks. "All part of life's rich colorful pageant" as my dear friend once said. Now you see her. Now you don't. Gone, but not forgotten.
In an effort to escape the news of these days, I have been seeking out books that will do for me now what I remember "Winnie the Pooh" and "Now We Are Six" doing for me in childhood. Anything by E.B. White is as relevant now as it was when it was written. Like seeing an old friend, his words warm the soul. Thankfully, Book Passage has come to Sausalito. Today I picked up George Saunders' "Tenth of December" because I loved his answers to the "By the Book" questions in the February 19th New York Times Book Review.
Question. "What moves you most in a work of literature?"
Answer. "Depictions of goodness that are not fraudulent or sentimental."
Bring on "depictions of goodness" in art and literature, and then let's hope life imitates art.
The vineyards are green, streams are gushing, water water everywhere. Given the constant distraction of man-made disruption, it is positively soothing to be inundated by natural phenomena. The mystery and beauty of water in all its forms has been a welcome companion in recent weeks.
I have also noticed perfect strangers going way out of their way to be nice these days. Like the men who stopped to tell my sister she had a flat tire and then insisted on changing it for her. In the rain. And wouldn't accept payment. Small acts of kindness are powerful antidotes to the cruel mandates emminating from our government. I am holding onto hope. But just barely.
Yesterday being Valentine's Day, we made a pink and red dinner for dear friends. They brought a big bouquet of light pink roses, the sweet fragrance of which has filled the house and lifted my mood all day. Despite the distressing news that invades every hour, along with doing what I can to effect change, I am choosing to focus on the sweetness of friendship, the deep love of family, and the mundane moments of joy that punctuate every day.
Last weekend I took time to savor every word of Kathryn Schulz's beautifully written, "When Things Go Missing" an achingly moving meditation on loss; loss of all kinds, from keys to loved ones.
Lesson learned. Again.
In the end, all we have is each other and this moment.
It blew hard all night and rain is streaming down the streets. The gutters look like rapids and everything is a shade of grey. The power was out this morning. High tide caused flooding at the north end of town, and rock slides closed roads on south side. It's a sign of the times that the ravages of extreme weather come as a welcome relief from recent events in Washington.
Seeing What you See in Stella ('Great Jones Street')
Oil on Wood
After days of distraction from political upheaval, it is a relief to return to the world of Art. Frank Stella's Retrospective at the De Young Museum is still with me. And his statement, "What you see is what you see" is one of my favorite statements by a painter about his art. It is also applicable to current events. Our eyes are open, and what we see is what we see. Don't look away.
Wandering around SF MOMA yesterday all alone and then with a good friend was good for my frame of mind. Seeing groups of small children engaging with art made me feel hopeful. And the constant motion of figures ebbing and flowing through galleries was like a never ending dance, giving scale and meaning to monumental paintings.
To escape the real world, I took myself to see "Frank Stella: A Retrospective," at the de Young Museum last week. I remembered exactly where I was in my college library thumbing through "ArtForum" magazine when I first saw Stella's paintings which were catching everyone's eye at the time. Knocked my socks off. New rules. No rules. It was the 60s. Anything was possible. It was inspiring then. And it is inspiring now. It was just the blast of light I needed to give this dark time a little perspective. Never give up Hope.