We took an early brisk walk this morning in Elm Grove Cemetery, each going in different directions and high-fiving when we passed.
It was a cold, gray morning, very different from the mild, colorful mornings in October, but still, there was elegance in the slightly-moving trees, the silent gravestones, and the silvery Mystic River with a lone sculler spiritedly rowing his smooth-looking ship up the middle towards the 95 bridge.
Delycia made this a very special day for me, the day I was born 78 years ago. I found two heart-warming birthday cards here and there in the house yesterday, and opened them this morning. The words in both cards are so simple and so strong, bringing some tears to my eyes a few times during the day. She definitely knows how to pick out birthday cards! (To my great surprise, I also received a few other cards!)
To my delight, we’re back to doing magnetic poems on the frig.
On our visit with Annie, Louie, and Matty on Saturday, we had a great time writing impromptu haiku poems. Below, written in Louie’s handwriting, is one of the best.
This morning, I dropped Delycia off at the YMCA for her workout at about 7:15, and then I walked about 2 1/2 miles along the coast near the Y, circling back just as she was finishing up. It was a pleasing sort of walk for me, and it seemed like something almost new as I walked the curves and slight ups and downs along the water. I’ve done lots of walking along River Road bordering the Mystic River, but I’m not sure I ever walked this meandering shady road on the shore of Block Island Sound. It’s a beauty, just like so many special roads along the Connecticut coast, and I took pleasure in getting to see some lovely sights – below – as I walked.
We enjoyed a wonderful visit from Annie and Louie this afternoon, filled with happy activities. For the first hour or so, we just laughed and almost shouted with each other as we enjoyed the fun that friends have together when they haven’t seen each other for awhile. Amid this good fun, Annie prepared a lunch for she and Louie, and Cia and I set out some tasty leftovers for ourselves.
After lunch, we drove over to a local nature sanctuary and had an easygoing walk around a pond, stopping now and then for Louie to look carefully at something or to leap from rock to rock with casual elegance. A highlight of our visit to the sanctuary was the buildings where injured raptor birds are housed – owls and hawks of various shapes and sizes. We loved just looking at them as they sat almost utterly still and stared at us.
Then, this evening we had more happy hours with our guests, joined by Matty, which made Louie extra happy. While Louie and Matty played a board game, Annie cooked up a tasty, robust lentil soup for us, and we enjoyed more laughs and fun around the dinner table. Our fun-filled day came to end in front of a small, warming fire as we kept our kindness and love going strong.
Yesterday, we attended our bi-weekly centering prayer gathering – an hour+ of friendship in silence. There are usually at least five of us who come together in a friend’s home every other Thursday, and it always brings the blessings of quietness and peace. Indeed, peace, I guess, could be simply called the absence of strife, and on these prayerful Thursday afternoons, strife is powerless in the presence of our unpretentious alliance in stillness.
After centering prayer, we drove over to the Quaker meetinghouse for our monthly gathering of poets and lovers of poetry – and I would say it was one of our most enriching meetings. It was a group of perhaps eight, and the poems shared seemed, to me, to be both musical and inspiring, as good poems always are. I especially loved the harmonies among the spoken words, as if all of us readers were serious lovers of words and the music they can make. On this chilly day, I felt fortunate to be there in the warm meetinghouse among good people and good poems.
This morning we went again to Elm Grove Cemetery for our daily workout. It was a dark and damp day, but the walk among the grave stones and distinguished trees was, as always, stimulating and inspiring.
Yesterday, we took a drive up to Providence to get some neurological-psychological tests done for me, and it turned out to be a rewarding, adventurous, even exciting day for me. That serious medical exams could be an actually pleasant experience sounds implausible, I know, but in this case, it’s true.
First of all, it was an easygoing, relaxing drive, as our drives together almost always are. Delycia drove, and we sometimes chatted along the way, sometimes stayed quiet and enjoyed the journey. It was just highways, traffic, and big buildings, but, as we usually do, we made it into a fairly cheery adventure.
Second, I actually enjoyed my neuropsych exam with Dr. Melissa Buttaro. She was a gracious and understanding professional, and the tests she put me through were quite engaging, sometimes almost riveting. I think I was smiling most of the time as I mentally squeezed, danced, and juggled my way through the tests. The tests, I quickly realized, were testing my creativity as much as my memory, and so I guess I took up the challenge and chose to have some fun. Plus … I think I scored pretty well. I will be shocked if my grade is lower than a solid ‘B’. On a neuropsych memory test at the age of 77, that would be a score to be proud of.
We’ve been watching the televised impeachment inquiry, and it continues to pull a blanket of sadness over me – sadness for our country, and for the human race. I’ve grown so weary, these last few days, of the unmitigated meanness expressed by some of the speakers, the kind of meanness that only produces more meanness and never works toward understanding and resolution. The hearing often sounds more like high schoolers browbeating and bullying someone than adults seeking something good for their country.
But there is definitely hope. People like Marie Yovanovitch, Lt. Cl. Alex Vindman, and many others who bravely testified in this inquiry created hope for our country with every sincere and fearless word.
We had our first fireplace fire of the season today, and it was as quietly comforting as ever. On this almost frosty day, with cold winds whipping around our seaside town, it was a special gift 💝 to be able to stay still and warm beside the fire. I loved the heat, of course, but also the smooth shaking of the flames in their many shades of color. It was almost entrancing today, like being hypnotized in the happiest way – me in the comfy rocker, Cia asleep on our lovable ❤️ loveseat.
It was a frigid morning in Mystic today .. frigid for us, at least, having just returned from warm and sunny Florida. We went to our favorite cemetery for walking and tried our best to get some serious exercise, but both of us were dressed for 60 degrees rather than Mystic’s 30. We walked half-frozen for maybe 30 minutes and then jumped back in the car and went home to get warm with coffee and breakfast.
We had one more final sunrise walk this morning, a quick two-mile scurry under mostly dark skies, with long lines of light of many tones and tints along the eastern sky. It was our earliest and darkest walk, so I sometimes used my iPhone flashlight to show the sand as we walked. For me, it was sort of a sad walk, since it was our last sunrise 🌅 walk for this trip – the last chance to sea this uncommon kind of beauty that offers itself most mornings on Sanibel Island.
We feel fortunate today that our final sunrise walk was perhaps the most striking of all. This morning’s forecast called for storms, but since there was no sign of rain at 6:00 am, we decided to set out with windbreakers and hats for one last beachwalk-at-dawn — and how lucky we were! The slowly lightening sky was beyond beautiful.
Here are two very lucky – and very happy – beach walkers!
For several hours today, we sat in the condo watching a brave and dignified woman testify in Trump’s impeachment hearing. Marie Yovanovitch will always remain a heroic figure to me – someone who stood strong and unshaken under 5+ hours of questions from members of Congress. She obviously loves her country more than popularity, and loves being honest more than being safe. For decades she faced all kinds of dangers in her work as a diplomat in troubled countries, and today she faced congress and a national audience with inspiring stateliness and distinction.
This morning, we had another wonderful sunrise walk – on the beach by 6:15 and pacing along in fine style for about 50 minutes. The sand was remarkably smooth and well-packed with very few valleys or ridges, which made the walking a fairly smooth process, like walking on a soft but still firm carpet. The light in the morning sky was spectacularly beautiful, with graceful colors easily blending together in long, glowing lines and sheets.
During the walk, Delycia found several special shells, including some unusually dark sand dollars.
She showed them to an elderly Asian man, and she now realizes that, in his meager English, he told her that they were alive and she should throw them back in the water. She couldn’t understand him then, but later, back at the condo, she realized what he had been saying, and that yes, the sand dollars were probably still alive, so she quickly took them back to the beach and let them go back to their home. Yup, that’s the loving woman I love!❤️
Later this afternoon, we took a long bike ride up to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve, where we hopped on a tram and took an excellent 90 minute guided tour, led by a woman who was chock full of helpful facts and good humor. We passed along the mangrove forests full of wildly reaching roots, and occasionally saw some of the elegant birds that make the refuge their home,
and once, a serene-looking rosy snake resting on a section of root.
After the tour, we did the long ride back up to the Lighthouse Cafe where we lunched on some of their famous specialties – a seafood salad for me and eggs benedict on a croissant for Cia. Then, we slowly (and wearily) rode back to the condo, where we showered and settled in for some well-deserved rest and reading.
Here’s the view from our living room this evening at 5:54 pm, with the lamp reflected in the window …