Despite A Pall That’s Fallen On All

The Santa Ynez Valley women hikers ascended Gaviota Peak last week, looked out upon fog as thick and white as a field of snow below, then walked beneath a trestle of blooming ceanothus as we came down Trespass Trail.

There are wildflowers everywhere.

Spring Equinox occurred in the Northern Hemisphere at 3:28 a.m. today, Pacific time.

Hilary in Wales tells me there are sheep with purple splotches on their backs outside her window, and “lambs with black-button eyes and noses, investigating irrelevant things like the metal of the fence, then skipping up to their mums to suckle.”

Meanwhile, at our place, a shy turtle that appeared after the rain has taken to sitting on a rock by the pond…vanishing with a splash when he senses our nearness.

My little lemon tree is heavy with fruit,  lemons so hefty and  numerous that I’m going to squeeze them and freeze the juice for future use. Maybe I’ll make some granita too, a summer treat for springtime.

Whales are migrating north through the channel in majestic procession, spouting v-shaped plumes of sea spray that are visible from shore.

Monte saw playful dolphins while he was out surfing, so near to him he could almost hear their breath, a mutual and peaceable awareness.

We’re getting things done: both abstract business and concrete tasks. Our paperwork is ready for taxes. My closet has been emptied of extraneous content. Monte installed storage units in the battery room, whacked weeds, and solved problems. I baked bread.

I walked with Cornelia at La Purisima Mission. We sat on sandy ground at the top of a hill overlooking the Lompoc Valley. The sun was warm, the earth hummed with life.

Beverly gave me a wooden nesting box for Western Bluebirds, tiny birds, bright blue and rust. I already have a glass bluebird-of-happiness in the window above the sink, but now I look forward to glimpsing some real ones.

It was a March birthday celebration. Kit put on a rock and roll record.  Bev and I danced in the kitchen, pausing to sip wine, check the fish, and stir the mushroom risotto.

Tomorrow my daughter will be in a room in London, defending her dissertation before a panel of scholars. Whatever the outcome, I’m proud of her.

I received a message this morning from a young man I met when I visited Istanbul. He told me then about the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, and so we stayed in contact, in a Facebook sort of way. “Poetry is a good reason to be friends,” he wrote today, and I couldn’t agree more. And isn’t it a miracle that we live in a time when a person in Istanbul can transmit an instant thought to some old gal in Gaviota?

Then I read these lines from “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved”, one of my favorites among Nazim Hikmet’s poemsI didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty/to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train/watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return.

I fell in love with the world at least three times last week and allowed myself to feel it for long moments without ache of regret or premonition of loss. I guess I had to wait until past sixty. One day I even looked at myself through a gentle lens, forgivable, if not quite forgiven.

I  got an email too from a very kind man who worked at the assisted living facility where my mother used to live. “I prayed for you and your dear mother at Mass on Friday and yesterday,” he wrote. Even my Jewish mother would have recognized the love in this.

Speaking of the old ones, Lisa told me about her beloved godmother, who once went out into the light of a full moon at 2:30 a.m., despite being elderly and frail. Why? To pick figs from the fig tree in the moonlight, that’s all…no further explanation. She lost her footing, fell down, and lay there until she was discovered at dawn. But I don’t think she regretted the expedition. (I am sure I would have loved this lady.)

Nights have gotten noisy in the canyon: frogs are singing, cattle lowing, coyotes yapping. When the windows are open, we can hear the reassuring rumble of a distant train now and then, or a vessel at sea, or the sea itself.

Landis in Hawaii wrote with links to a few disturbing articles but told me to go for a good walk after I read them. Yesterday he sent images from the Stairway to Heaven hike in Oahu, in case I was in need of inspiration. His latest dispatch: “If we despair, we will have given trump yet one more victory.”

The great majority of our nation’s people recognize what is going on. The approval rating for the Parasite-in-Chief has hit a new low. Good people are rallying, meeting in church halls and living rooms, making calls, writing letters, signing petitions, sending donations, summoning up a newfound relentlessness and fighting back, seeing perhaps more clearly than ever what we love and need and refuse to lose to tyranny, incompetence, and greed.

But we are living under a pall; there’s no pretty way to say it. The shock and anger hit us daily, the revulsion, the dismay. It’s a pall, and it’s a poison, and every day brings a new assault to something we hold dear. Let the record show: we stood, we spoke, and we fought back.

Sometimes there was a dance in the kitchen. Sometimes the moon lured us outdoors. The pond turtle quietly returned. This is how it was. We continued.

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One Response to Despite A Pall That’s Fallen On All

  1. Hilary says:

    Hilary in Wales is rather wishing she was in California with you, sharing the lemons and waiting for bluebirds…

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