13 April 2018

No matter where I go these days, people talk about war and not in a detached way. Even my Heidi Klum colleague, who has a somewhat delicate selection of topics of interests, is very concerned about a real war that could even have an effect on our lives. In a way, that is.
Also, the news are of blood rain coming, which sounds almost as bad but actually only involves large amounts of reddish Sahara sands that have been detected in higher atmospheric clouds above Europe. Should it rain, chances are these sands will come down with it. Dramatic.

Anyway. Spring. Always so sudden.

When we lived in paradise with its eternally tropical climate and our time of departure and inevitable return to damp and rainy Dublin was approaching, I tried to prepare my daughter to things to come, incl. seasons.
There she sat on the sagging hammock that provided a handy bridge for the ants to wander from one mango tree to the other, sucking on a bilimbi ot maybe a green mango dipped in salt as she listened with wonder to my tales of spring with snowdrops and daffodils and strawberries and I must admit that I made it sound rather lovely, one happening after the other in a long string of delights, like chapters of a fairy tale. I left out the other seasons as they can be tricky in Ireland. She laughed at it as one laughs at a good joke and skipped off to vist the women singing and washing clothes down by the river.

So no, I don't think I made an impression one way or another. We returned to a mild and wet autumn and by the time there was real snow in February, life had caught up with us in so many unexpected ways that winter was actually enjoyable for the (one and only) day of chaos and snowball fights.

This spring feels different, everything seems to be happening late and all at once while I am still picking up withered blossoms of the xmas cactuses in my office.
Outside, magnolia reigns supreme. And as every year, R tells me in his teacher voice that magnolia are the dinosaurs of flowering plants, 50+ million years old and so on.
This one is about 150 years old, whenever I walk past it I take a bow.

Yesterday, my drug regimen was reshuffled and I sat there all timid and well-behaved listening to The Lecture on rest and paying attention to symptoms. On the way home I spontaneously decided on a short detour to the DIY store and totally out of the blue decided to hire a high-pressure cleaner for the weekened. As a result, for most of today, I have been cleaning the patio stones. Very soothing, let me tell you, and with the added surprise of rediscovering the actual terracotta colour.
My arms, however, are a shaking mess and I cannot lift my cup of tea. As for tomorrow, ah feck it, one day at a time etc.


  1. Yes, rumours of war. After so many interventions in the Middle East over the years, none of which seem to have really achieved their stated aims and "punitive" strikes that just make matters worse and kill more people, you'd think politicians would look for other approaches to foreign policy . I could go on.

    I didn't know that about magnolias! We have a couple here. I'll see them in a new light from now on.

  2. Sigh.
    Once a rebel, always a rebel. PRESSURE WASHING?!

  3. we have the small pink/purple japanese magnolias here but I have never seen one that old, large and so covered with blooms. also the magnolia grandiflora with their big creamy white flowers and lemony scent that the trees do get big and old and will bloom into June. the jap. magnolias have already gone by now but the white ones are just coming into bloom.

    with me it's the trimmer trying to get to the whole yard in one day after it's been mowed that makes my arms inoperable.

  4. Wonderful to know you can find the energy to feck it occasionally. Happy fecking!

  5. I had not heard about this blood rain! I wonder if we're supposed to get it in the UK? The Syria situation is worrying, to say the least, but I prefer to focus on immediate pleasures like your massive magnolia.

  6. This day is all that is real. I can imagine the sense of accomplishment, and even joy, in recovering the terra cotta stones. Good for you. Now rest a bit and start again. Love.

  7. Yes. As for tomorrow, feck it. One day at a time.

    The magnolias are blooming here, too. The bushtits are building their nests.


    Beauty and war. Side by side. Just finished a biography by Donna Hollenberg of Denise Levertov, who remains way at the top of my list of dearly loved fierce and vulnerable poets. Her life was touched by equal measures of beauty and war. Now I'm going to see if I can find a copy of her biography by Dana Greene. The one by Donna Hollenberg left me with mixed feelings. Still, it has renewed my appreciation of the life and work of Denise Levertov. She lived not far from where I live in the last years of her life and wrote this poem during that time when she was suffering from Sjögren's and lymphoma:

    I was welcomed here—clear gold
    of late summer, of opening autumn,
    the dawn eagle sunning himself on the highest tree,
    the mountain revealing herself unclouded, her snow
    tinted apricot as she looked west,
    tolerant, in her steadfastness, of the restless sun
    forever rising and setting.
    Now I am given
    a taste of the grey foretold by all and sundry,
    a grey both heavy and chill. I’ve boasted I would not care,
    I’m London-born. And I won’t. I’ll dig in,
    into my days, having come here to live, not to visit.
    Grey is the price
    of neighboring with eagles, of knowing
    a mountain’s vast presence, seen or unseen.

  8. "Ah feck it" may be my new favorite expression. Thank you for that. Hope all is well there, and the wars that loom recede with the power and strength of compassionate minds... or ah feck it!

  9. I love how you write. I think I've probably typed that out in this little comment box a bunch of times over the years I've read your blog. Thank you for continuing to grace us with your thoughts and words. May you be well.

  10. I hope this doesn't sound as if I'm being smart, or - at the very least - smarter than usual. But I'm trying to imagine living more than one day at a time. Three breakfasts or an infinite number? Shaving myself repeatedly until I reach the bone? Using I-player to watch Have I Got News For You over and over?

    Sounds impossible or kinda irritating. But then I reflect, the effect of an infinite number of breakfasts would be ameliorated by an infinite number of visits to the loo. One wouldn't eventually burst, and that's a comfort.

    But let's not stifle imagination. Think of a birthday that occurred more than one day at a time. All those gifts! But then too, all that champagne and all that drunkenness. And all those bottles to get rid of.

    Nah. The linear life for me.

  11. Sorry to be late coming to the party here. Pressure washing is one of those deeply satisfying jobs. We actually own a pressure washer and fight over who gets to use it when we spruce up the lanai and pool area each spring. Bravo to you for renting it. It sounds like the pleasure was worth the shakiness. I was also happy to read that you bow to the 150 year old magnolia. We must respect our elders, and it is my heartfelt and stubborn belief that trees are aware of us. Especially the old ones.