Delights: August 27 to September 2

August 27: “I don’t know, Mom. How come you didn’t tell me that one of the greatest paintings of the 19th century is right here?” Standing in a gallery of the Phillips Collection, Jeremiah pointed to Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. I replied, “Well, look at it this way: when I was five, I adored the Beatles; by the time I was eight, I put such childhood nonsense behind me. Maybe I saved the news for exactly the right moment?”

I was captivated by this vignette in the Luncheon of the Boating Party. Or maybe I was just ready for Friday night.

August 28: I grew my tree and it toppled, first to the right and then to the left. I touched the wall to plant another tree and fell again. Where is my drishti, my focal point? Where is my strong standing leg? Where is my core? My yoga teacher was watching: “The most advanced expression of any balance pose is finding your smile.”

August 29: Despite the overcast skies, I wore my sunglasses on my morning walk, and everything was slightly magical. The deep green softened, the crickets hummed gently and I kept hearing joyful children’s voices without finding their source. Creek-side driftwood for a moment looked like a dinosaur bone, and dense woods leading to a rocky crest forbade entry. I even saw a house number written entirely in script, as though requiring an incantation before entering.

A playful site on Gulf Branch during my afternoon walk with Kathy.

August 30: Today, my neighbor Jennifer and I bypassed our usual topics and leapt right to the heart of what seemed to matter most at the moment: our childhood toys. Although neither of us favored our dolls, they entertained us today. We both had dolls that “took a bottle” and then most inconveniently wet their clothes a few minutes later. My doll had “fancy pants” — rows of red ruffles over white satin. Jennifer’s doll had a head of real hair, perfect for brushing or stroking. Or just snipping to an inch of its life, as young Jennifer decided to do. Thank goodness for ruffled bonnets and very kind mothers.

August 31: Today I listened to a podcast featuring one of my Mom’s favorite mystery authors, Lisa Scottoline, whose lawyer heroine usually dashes about in high heels while her loving Italian immigrant parents cheer her on. In a brief turn from the laughter, Scottoline summoned an image of Nicole Kidman walking through a drafty haunted house, her hand cupped around a flickering light. Speaking right to me and perhaps to you, Scottoline said, “Whatever you do, you’ve got to protect your candle.

I leaned in to get a glimpse of a bee harvesting nectar from a Rose of Sharon, and I found this ladybug instead.

September 1: Retirement means, among other things, getting things done. So I tackled a lingering EZ Pass issue and failed again and again. I called customer service and encountered a crisp young woman giving directions that I just couldn’t understand. “I could use a bit more patience,” I pleaded. She replied, “I AM being patient.” I thanked her and called right back. This time, I reached a woman who must have been exactly my age; we laughed about teen movies and romantic comedies from the 1980s and 90s. We laughed about computer interfaces. And she fixed EZ Pass problems for me that I didn’t even know I had. We were on a first-name basis by the time I hung up. Thank you, Monica, for your skill and kindness.

September 2: Back at Assateague, I left the beach on the threshold of evening and thought about enticing Kevin to return to see the sunset over Sinepuxent Bay. We’d follow a boardwalk over the marsh to the very edge and just gaze westward. Apparently, this was a very good idea, for as I crossed the bridge toward home I saw seven horses, standing exactly where the marsh meets the bay, gazing westward and awaiting the show.

Sunset over Currituck Sound in the Outer Banks, October 2020. Beautiful pictures know no season.

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12 thoughts on “Delights: August 27 to September 2

  1. Aren’t the horses of Assateague wonderful? They are our favorite part of beach camping there! But don’t leave you coolers unattended! They will go right up to them and open them up! Found out the hard way and lost some eggs and bananas as a result. Smart scavengers 🙂


    1. What a story! I’ve heard that they’re very resourceful — and that only the trunk of a car has thwarted them! Thanks for sharing it. (Would you be willing to tell me your name?)


  2. I remember going to the Phillips Collection many, many years ago. I haven’t been to the US since…1998. Hard to imagine when there was a period I went regularly.


    1. Dear T&K — Thank you for sharing this! I can see why you visited the Phillips regularly. My son Jeremiah and I just became members, so we’ll follow your example. I hope you make it to the US again some time; I have my eye on New Zealand myself!


  3. We purchased a print of Luncheon of the Boating Party from the gallery and had in framed. It was the first art on our wall in our first house. We have enjoyed the spirit of the gathering ever since! I now want to look at it again, because there is much there, and sometimes we stop noticing beauty we are blessed to see so frequently. Thank you.


    1. I love this! You are right about there being so many details waiting to be savored. And how we can overlook familiar beauty. I also like how you put this: “the spirit of the gathering.” In addition to the painting’s beauty and artistry, I think that spirit is one of the reasons I love it so much. Jeremiah also helped me see how cinematic the painting is. Renoir’s son, Jean Renoir, followed his dad’s lead! I’m grateful for your musings.


  4. Dear Carol,

    I know it’s been quite some time since we last spoke after meeting at the IFS workshop. I still wear the bracelet you gave me everyday! The tassel has long worn off – but the beads are intact. I greatly appreciated the connection we made during that group activity and our subsequent communications.

    I’m currently transitioning out of a career in hospital administration and exploring new paths.

    I would greatly appreciate any advice you might have and would like to connect with you if you are available and willing.



    On Thu, Sep 2, 2021 at 8:47 PM Fashioned For Joy wrote:

    > Carol Ann Siciliano posted: ” August 27: “I don’t know, Mom. How come you > didn’t tell me that one of the greatest paintings of the 19th century is > right here?” Standing in a gallery of the Phillips Collection, Jeremiah > pointed to Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. I replied, “We” >


    1. Dear Ashley — If a Comment can qualify as a delight, I’m over the moon to hear from you. (And my smile trembles a bit to think of you wearing the Kripalu bracelet.) I just texted you. Or email me at Talk to you soon, my friend.


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