Monday, November 25, 2013

ONE DOES IT

Hot milk sponge cake. I kept dreaming that I was trying to make a hot milk sponge cake for my mother's 87th birthday (coming up). I was at my sister's house (and that, too, is highly unlikely) and I needed to look up the rest of the recipe on line. My niece's computer would only give me references and links to history and ancestry (my niece is a born-again Mormon and has researched ways to get some of us into heaven with her). But hot milk sponge cake? And anxiety about it … I'll have to ponder that one.

I didn't even report on the first snow which we had a week or so ago. My mother was surprised when I mentioned it to her a couple of days later, because, evidently, for years I have called her on the morning of the first snow. It hasn't snowed again, but it is really cold, all of 27 degrees last night. I called M, as has been our Sunday evening habit for many years now and re-instituted now that I am away, and it was 21 degrees in Brewster. And 8 in Schroon Lake. I walked over to John and Melinda's to watch the last episode of Boardwalk Empire and did not find it too terrible, and at least it was still dry.

And so goes the day of looking at postings on job boards. It is not an activity that cheers one up, particularly. But one does it anyway. One does it.

Our extended family of friends, the one that stretches back to Southern California lost a partner/wife over the weekend. I knew MR, only vaguely. I've known her partner/husband ST since I was about 10 or 11. ST was a closer friend of my brother David, although ST was another who ended up in Santa Cruz based on my enthusiasm. At any rate, the ripples of shock and sadness lapped up here yesterday when I got a rare email from David, who specifically mentioned the Rumi poem from last week. 

I've posted this too many times, and too recently, I know, but I feel compelled to honor MR and ST with Mr. Stafford's poem, as it is a talisman of words for me. Read it again for Charlotte and Scott and MR and ST and Mary V and for all of us near and far who love or like and/or respect and appreciation one another.


A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep. 
Life cycle of a leaf. I didn't take this and don't know who did.

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