Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and Sudden Death

So, it's Easter Sunday. And it's a beautiful day in Portland, by anyone's standards. It was cool and grey this morning, which made me happy, and now it is blue-and-gold and warm, which makes All The Rest Of You happy. I hope everyone has found their Easter eggs, loved their Easter baskets, enjoyed their Easter church service, and is now eating their Easter ham and deviled eggs. I am doing none of those things, but I am enjoying the fact that I am done with work for the day, and in a short while, will be eating my Easter bean burrito, hot and crispy. Yum!

So those of you who are not on Facebook, may not know that my friend Shannah, the first friend I made at Prairie Bible College, died suddenly this past week. I'm still in the can't-really-believe-it stage of grieving -- it just does not seem possible. Absolutely typically, I feel certain, I am thinking about suddenly dropping dead myself, and wondering how that would work -- who would find my lifeless body? How would they find it? Who would tell my people? How would they know whom to tell? Should I make up a list of Important People To Tell If I Suddenly Die? And where would that list be posted?

So, just in case I do die suddenly, and you get missed by the poor person to whose lot it falls to call all my Near and Dear, let me tell you that I love you. Yes, I truly do. You are someone whose memories make me smile (and sometimes cry), whose invitations delight me, even if I'm working that day, and whose face makes me happy to see. You are my Dear Friend! And I promise your name will be prominently displayed on my IPTTIISD list!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Water, light and air

So I am at the Retirement Home -- my folks' place in Ocean Park -- and I had a sudden eye-opener about the quality of light and the nature of rain.  It's been raining since I arrived yesterday morning, but the cloud cover is not dark -- there's quite a bright light outside, illuminating the wet green. ( The birds are just as vocal and active, too, so they don't mind a little dampness!) 

The brightness of the cloud cover is different from the cloud cover I admire so frequently in town, though -- there is a translucent quality to it -- as though the light were right there, close behind the clouds, a ragged, wateriness to it as though the cover was going to shred apart at any moment (even though it does not!)  The light is purer up here on the comparatively uninhabited coastline -- far fewer cars, no factories, nothing like as many people. No constant layer of smog between us and the source of light (or at least, less) Light is coming directly at us, inhibited only by the rainclouds.

Anyway, I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window as I waited for the kettle to boil, and feeling vaguely nostalgic about childhood rain, and my young sensations of looking out a window and not being certain it was raining, and the telltale signs I would look for.  Up at the edge of the gutter to see if tiny drops were falling from the split place, over at the wild rose hedge to see if the light thin leaves were stirring with the percussion of beats of water.

Both of these places -- my childhood home and this one -- are rural. I am surrounded by fields of grass, and forests.  There is no cement, only tarmac on the road, which is at the other end of the house.  Anyway, tarmac receives water in a way that cement paving does not -- sort of muffled and multi-directional -- so that steady drumming you hear, from acres of roof tops and yards of flat smooth cement, does not exist out here.

But now I live in Portland, right in the heart of the city, and all you need to do if you want to know if its raining, is listen.  You can hear every drop bouncing off some flat surface, a window, a rooftop, a sidewalk, the tops of cars and trucks. Everything is paved!   Everywhere the sound of falling drops is met with the sound of rushing water from gutters and downspouts.  It's a whole different thing!

Anyway.  Such are my maunderings on this lovely morning.  Good coffee, too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

....that men still call Tyre...

Such a beautiful Sunday morning!  Warm and soft, with a pretty steady breeze, and occasional flurries of tiny drops.  I've been turning my windshield wipers off and on all morning.  The sky is palest grey and looks like a fresh duvet.  I'm looking at the grass through the library window, and it is vivid green -- partly because it is new growth, and partly because this is the perfect weather to see colors in. 

Many of the trees have tiny brilliant green leaves, and those that don't have pink and white and lavender blossoms.  Even the deep forest green of the conifer trees looks brighter and greener -- less Grimm-fairy-tale-forest, more men's-club-smoking-lounge.
This morning before my shift started, I was reading a travel book by Lawrence Durrell (note to self: read Gerald Durrell, not Lawrence!) and getting melancholy as it talked knowledgeably and casually about all the places I have never been, in a time, when all you needed to travel was some cash and the desire to go -- if you wanted to live in Greece, you just went there and rented a house.  Sigh... 

Anyway, I was trying to convince myself that I should be glad those who had traveled had written about it, so those of us (me) who had been too cowardly and procrastinatory (I've just made that word up) and generally frozen, could experience it vicariously, after a fashion.  Instead, I set the book down, and decided not to read any further about the "old ships (which) sail like swans asleep/Beyond the village which men still call Tyre/ With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep/ For Famagusta and the hidden sun that rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire."
That poem has always made me long for something -- something.

Ah, well!  I will make a physical effort and wrench my mind back to the happy state I was enjoying just moments ago!  Green, grey, soft warm air!  Sunday morning in Portland in the gentle rain!