October 29: We glittered, we hugged, we took funny pictures with funny props. And all of us, family and friends, saluted the birthdays of my dear friend Aileen and her husband Joe. We were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings, travel companions to Hawaii and Italy, and new moms together. Memories pulsed through the party, with the promise of many more.
October 30: During my walk today, I savored the late-blooming roses and thanked the Master Gardeners who were tidying their demonstration beds. I also pondered the empty, canopied tables of candy I’d seen at a playground along the trail. Twenty minutes later, the mystery was solved: a huge group of costumed children and parents paraded down the hill toward the playground as I passed again. A giant dancing avocado waited with candy. I’d gotten my treat too.
October 31: Jeremiah, in a lime green reptile suit, joined me in Halloween visits to our local bookstore and our brewery. From our patio he amused (or amazed) our many trick-or-treaters and wiggled tails with other chocolate-eating reptiles. Ordinarily, I prefer my companions to be canines or Homo sapiens, but a well-behaved and whimsical crocodile will certainly do.
November 1: I saw a man chatting with a young couple on a neighborhood street corner. A pair of small dogs tangled their leashes. Nothing new here. Then I looked again — the dogs were exotically striped and absolutely identical. Reunited litter-mates? I joined the conversation and met Miko and Carlie, orphans recently rescued from Puerto Rico and Brazil. Miko, in fact, made the trip back to Virginia with the young couple, who found him abandoned on Rio de Janeiro beach. When ice nips at their paws, I think the dogs will be resolute: What’s a little winter chill when I now have such love?
November 2: Winter darkness, chilling rain and just plain cold arrived today (at last). Although November is certainly entitled to demand gloves and scarf, I melted with pleasure to read this sentence from New Zealand blogger Thistles & Kiwis: “It is November already…the days are getting longer and brighter and it really feels like we are heading into summer.” (If you want a bit of New Zealand spring and other treats, visit Thistles & Kiwis here.)
November 3: I met a friend in Georgetown today. Because I dislike city parking — and because, for a little while at least, I have all the time in the world — I walked from the closest Metro stop across the Potomac River and down along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. I wandered up and down cobbled 18th century streets, sipped a latte in the sunshine, and admired the workings of a 19th century lock. Eventually, I caught up with my friend. We both share a passion for clean water, and we laughed that my wee trash pick-up practice brought us together again.
November 4: My friend Lee and I looked down at our trail map, up at the tree-furred hills and then over toward the historic home, outbuildings, pastures and ponds. The ranger at Sky Meadows State Park had highlighted several trails for us and we’d set off, happy with our options. But we quickly came upon a different trail, marked by a set of stone steps and the promise of a beautiful view. We huffed up a meadow path and found a wooden bench, which invited rest. The sun, the view and the conversation, in turn, invited lingering. Not a mile into our hike, Lee and I sat for nearly an hour, delighted that we’d stumbled upon the best option of all.
Bonus: Last week I mentioned Mary Oliver’s poetry. At the invitation of FriendBlogger Ju-Lyn (check out her blog Touring My Backyard from Singapore), I declare my favorite Mary Oliver poem at the moment to be “If I Wanted a Boat,” from her wonderful 2014 collection Blue Horses. And here’s my favorite stanza from the same collection:
The multiplicity of forms! The hummingbird,
the fox, the raven, the sparrow hawk, the
otter, the dragonfly, the water lily! And
on and on. It must be a great disappointment
to God if we are not dazzled at least ten
times a day.
What is your favorite Mary Oliver poem? (Dear readers from the Mary Oliver Poetry Club: I hope you’ll share your joy with us!)
p.s. Ju-Lyn offered “Swan” in her comment in last week’s blog. Savor the last lines: “And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? / And have you changed your life?”
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