A Hard-laboring Lady

May 20, 2019
Today was beautiful almost summer-like day, a perfect one for working outside. Cia was outside almost from dawn to dark, pulling weeds, watering her thriving flowers and shrubs, trimming bushes, loading bags with brush for the landfill, digging out good soil from the brick planter in front of the porch that we’ve decided to do away with,
and cleaning the last of the firewood from the porch. I was amazed, but shouldn’t have been, because it was just Cia being Cia – working and working and accomplishing and accomplishing.

And what did I accomplish today? Well, I wrote a poem I like in the morning, did some excellent spiritual reading, and then, after lunch, visited a senior-living facility with Cia near our house, just by way of checking it out. We had a friendly, fairly thorough tour, including one apartment, but I think, in the end, we were not overly impressed. The chances of us ending up at Masonicare are fairly slim to none.

Petunias and a 3-Miler

May 17 Friday
For the last few days I have been preparing my mom’s memorial petunia garden – cleaning out the year’s debris, digging up sprouts of weeds and miscellaneous debris, and – just today – setting in the first of 26 petunia plants. It’s a cool day with light rain sprinkles now and then, so I had to call it quits around 4:00, but tomorrow looks like somewhat sunny weather, so I should be able to plant the remaining flowers. I’ve been thinking of my mom and her dear love of flowers, but, probably because she was always busy caring for 9 children, she had little time for serious gardening, so she would send one of us out to the nursery sometime in early May to purchase her beloved annuals, of which petunias were among her favorites. Now, many years after her passing, her petunias will be spreading and shining with colors for the next few months, and I will sometimes sit beside her garden and talk quietly with my dearly beloved mom.

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Yesterday, we walked to downtown Mystic and back (about 3 miles), and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It’s a somewhat noisy route, along busy Rte. 27, but I managed to think about things other than the noise – like how lucky my life is and always has been –
which managed to make it a very pleasant walk with my dearest friend in the world.  

Kids and Colors in ‘The Quiet Corner’

May 15, 2019    

Yesterday, we spent another few wonderful hours in “the quiet corner” of Connecticut, shepherding the grandchildren back from school to Jamie’s, and then enjoying their company over dinner. The scenic drive was as pleasant as always. We both enjoyed the look of the trees beside the roads and in the nearby and distant hills – so many soft shades of colors as the trees take off into another season of blossoming and spreading. Cia has helped me appreciate this sometimes unseen wonder – the way colors in nature very slowly shift in the spring months.

Mowing and Meditating

May 10, 2019

I mowed the lawn yesterday – the second mowing of the season – and, surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the job! I strolled behind the bulky, noisy machine as it clipped along the top of the grass, and the process, strangely enough, became a quiet meditation time for me. I carried a few good thoughts inside me like I was carrying a comforting basket of snacks while the trusty mower and its boisterous sounds gave the grass a smooth and special trimming.

Later in the afternoon, we joined a few friends for an hour of silent meditation, and it was good, as always, to sit completely quietly in this very unquiet world for a few minutes.

Sunset – and Innovative Theater

May 6, 2019

            Last night, after dinner, we both found ourselves sitting in the sunroom as the sunlight slowly disappeared. This was a big change for us, since usually we spend most of our time after dinner in our bedroom near the television, though not always watching television. For some reason, we have grown into the bedroom habit – I suppose because several years ago we did actually watch television in the evening, but now that habit has slowly almost disappeared.  Anyway, last evening for some reason we both gravitated toward the sunroom, and before long we both realized that it is a wonderful place to spend an hour or so as the sun goes down. I suspect we will be doing this more often as the spring and summer progresses.

May 9, 2019

          Yesterday we had a long but happy day in New Haven, browsing through the Yale University Museum of Art, lunching at Atticus Bookstore and Café, and then watching another astonishingly unconventional theater performance at Yale Repertory Theater. I admired the acting very much, and the political and moral philosophy of the play was strong and timely, but I must say that I, as I usually do at Yale Rep, got a bit lost among the innovative twists and turns of the plot.  All in all, though, it was the kind of jolting, out-of-the-ordinary experience that is helpful and healthy for me.  

 

Writing and Mowing

May 4, 2019   

Yesterday, we attended our weekly Friday morning writing class, and I was amazed – astonished, really – by the writing that was done by these very ordinary classmates of ours, all in their 70s or above, and all quite willing to share the deepest and most personal stories in their writing. At the end of the 20-minute writing period, we all were able to share what we had written, as usual, and I just sat back and was pleasantly overwhelmed by what I was hearing. These are all women, except for me, and they all – including Cia – spoke so honestly of heartaches and joys and fears and pleasures that lived in their memories of their various homes. Several women were in tears as they read, and there was a feeling of utter attentiveness around the table as we listened to our classmates. I found the entire 90 minutes to be truly amazing – and inspiring.                       

I mowed the lawn for the first time yesterday afternoon, just cruising around the front yard behind my big old machine, which amazingly does a wonderful job of trimming the grass and giving the lawn a good look for the month of May. Delycia has done a wonderful job of feeding the lawn every spring and fall, and so there is a richness, even a lushness, to the grass in the front yard, which made it feel like I was walking on a soft carpet as I followed the lawnmower around the yard.

 

Just before lunch today, we went for a 40 minute hill-walk, up and down the “heartbreak hills” in Mystic near the library, and I was very pleased with the way my old body handled it. I walked along, striding right beside Delycia, who is one of the fastest walkers I have ever known. As usual, we talked some, but we also had some minutes of quiet, time to huff and puff deeply as we went up hills, and time to enjoy the scenery and some good thoughts inside.

… ready for our walk

 

Lonesome – but with Work and Tulips

May 3, 2019
Yesterday, Cia drove up to the Sherburn, MA, to visit Evelyn – leaving at 8:30 and not returning till after 5:00! I was alone and lonely for the whole day! Well, not really terribly lonely, since I did fill the time with careful work at my desk – sending out poems to publishers, writing a new one, meditating now and then, writing in my journal, reading a Hemingway story (which I didn’t understand), working out strongly on the stationary bike set up in the garage, and on and on and on. I did miss my sweetheart, for sure, but I filled the lonesome time with some serious and helpful work.
I also wandered among her lovely, newly growing gardens, and took some photos. Such a beautiful yard to spend some spring and summer days in!  

Treadmills and April Flames

May 1, 2019
            Yesterday, after lunch, we went to the Y for a brief but spirited workout. I decided to spread the time between several types of exercise – some stair-climbing, some uphill work on the treadmill, some different weight machines, and even, at the end, some short balancing work by the window looking out over the water. (It is, for sure, a pleasure to have the Y’s spread-out space to do our workouts, especially with the windows overlooking the beautiful waters surrounding the Mystic shoreline.)
            Later, Cia went off to a get-together with a friend, and I started a springtime fire in the fireplace and spent a few luxurious hours in front of the comforting flames, with a book in my lap and a cup of tea close by. When Cia returned, there were still a few warm flames left for her to enjoy, curled up on the loveseat.

 

Just Striding Along

April 30, 2019 

Yesterday, we took a somewhat strenuous walk – three times up and down the Peace Sanctuary road, and then into Mystic and back, a total of three miles that felt like six or seven to me. As usual, though, walking with Cia was a delightful experience, just whizzing along at her brisk pace, chatting every so often, and sometimes simply striding ahead and thinking quiet, good thoughts. It helped that we were walking along the Mystic River, with its sparkling waves and the bright ships across at the Seaport, and a few gaily colored kayaks moving along the stream. This photo captures some of the experience, I hope …

A Birthday Bash for an Angel

On Saturday, at Jamie’s,  we attended a marvelous family celebration for Ava, honoring her 12th birthday. It was a cold, slightly wet day, but that didn’t hamper the celebrating inside. Ava was as pretty and unassuming as ever, just smiling and blushing as she received gifts and good wishes from the 15-20 people present. Cia and I agree that it was one of the friendliest, most easygoing family gatherings we can recall.