Thirty days hath September...
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Thirty days hath September...
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Monday, September 27, 2010
This isn't an obituary for Eddie Fisher, who died last week at the age of 82. Not even an appreciation. I mean, I liked his voice. A little schmaltzy, but pleasant. "Oh, My Papa" got to me. That plaintive tenor."Wish You Were Here": nice. He was a nice Jewish boy who sounded Italian. He could have been called Tony Fisher.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I'm sitting against the trunk of the enormous, time-telling maple tree at Pleasant Street and Mass. Ave., the center of Arlington Center.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
A house sparrow and I are regarding each other. I just gave him some scone crumbs, but he’s still wary. Trust but verify. It’s the 20th of September, the beginning of the last third of the month. Deep into back-to-school territory. The 9/ on homework is developing a personality now, like a cat in a bookstore. The click of chalk in a quiet room, kids listening, daydreaming. The drone of information occasionally stopping to ask a question. Gears in brains sluggishly turn: Alexander Hamilton? No, someone else they never heard of. Outside, trees are agitating in a know-it-all wind. The leaves dance. It’s like musical chairs. Or war. One of them will lose their grip, if not today then tomorrow. The tree-crickets are like a crowd rhythmically encouraging a jumper. We are at the opposite of spring. Rolling away from hope and mercy and warmth, toward underground, night, interiority. We know this turning, this flickering on and then winking out of leaf light, berry light, aster light. In two days summer will have been renamed autumn, and we may not notice. Didn’t fall move in a while ago, a daddy longlegs on an ear of corn?
Yom Kippur is falling farther away from me, a fleeting visit from a Very Important Day. Usually it arrives later in the season, typically a toasty day in early October that finds me in a meadow or hillside contemplating my place in the Grand Scheme of Things, surrounded by the mortality of crickets. This year brought it earlier, and I gave it shorter shrift than I’ve done in recent years. Didn’t go to temple, didn’t validate the day with the hundreds-strong congregation of Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester’s Town Hall. Instead, I went back to the Mystic River in the mid-afternoon to sit on the mystical Nine Steps, with my small pad, not even the big one. I noted superficial things: goldenrod, asters, blue jays, and mysterious ripples. Two old dudes in a motorboat zoomed by, ripping the river into sloshing strips. I dozed, partly because of my mini-fast (an abbreviated lunch), partly because of a less than full engagement with the Yom. Other Yom Kippurs have yielded pages of self-annotation in the big notebook along with interesting narratives about passing goldfinches and cloud events. One even brought forth the three important things, which I offer here at no charge: 1. Be open. 2. Make an honest effort. 3. Forgive yourself.
This time, what I squeezed out was that I had been loyal to the day. Minimally, but it counted. I had inhabited an hour like a small house. And emerged just before the old dudes in the motorboat zoomed back from the other direction. Perhaps there’s something to that, that is also the momentum of this almanac. Being loyal to the month, the day, occasionally the moment. Inhabiting the calendar like a roomy house.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I had been thinking about what a moment is ever since hearing Hillary Clinton talking about "a new American moment" a week or two ago. I think she was referring to a moment as an opportunity, in this case to make a difference in global politics. And on "The Takeaway," a radio show I half-listen to most mornings, they were asking listeners to offer their own suggestions for America's defining moments. Civil Rights, Obama, women's suffrage, Nixon's resignation were some responses. Others suggested that America ought to take a moment to wise up. I wondered if we were the only country in the world quite this obsessed with defining ourselves, like a teenager primping in front of a mirror, frowning at our acne, our hair, and our clothes.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
London follows me at a distance. It's falling behind, but I can still see it when I turn around. The tower of Big Ben sticking out from behind a tree.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Suppose you had a really great library book that you could renew an unlimited number of times. No worry about depriving any other borrower. It happens that everyone has his/her own copy; in fact, it's customized for each reader. Also, it's kind of a book club book, a shared, interactive reading experience. Call it life, or if that's too vast, call it a year.
Friday, September 3, 2010
So, what happened? Last week we were besieged by this heat wave. Then along comes this hurricane, Earl, bowling out of Africa. Rolls on up the eastern seaboard. Everyone freaking out because we seldom get a visit from a hurricane, even a glancing blow. Eeek! OMG, etc. And then it turns out to be harmless, no wind, spritz of rain, and of course people sneer: unimpressive! booo! call that a hurricane?
Ma i giorni crescere breve quando si raggiunge settembre...
Thursday, September 2, 2010
A rare trip into Boston today to see my dentist. First chance since I've been back to compare the T with the Tube, the 77 Harvard bus with the 24 red double-decker to Hampstead.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010