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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Old and New

For three days men in orange jumpsuits and hardhats have been trimming the eucalyptus trees near our apartment. Chainsaws whirred and whined for hours on end; the air, heavy with heat and damp, smelled sharply of sap and living wood. A bulldozer clamped in its jaws the severed limbs of the trees; crows wheeled overhead searching for lost nests. I don't like crows -- their hysterical cawing wakes me up at five in the morning; they rummage through the garbage bins scattering oily hamburger wrappers over the sidewalks -- but now I feel sorry for them. They have no home to return to except these cropped trunks, these stumps so bare against the summer sky.

No home to go to, no certainties, no familiar places to rest -- this is how my mind has felt for the past few weeks. Every once in a while I get put out of my own thoughts, out of the things I think I've learned and know well. But the truth is that the path back home is getting easier the more I travel it. Reading unfailingly helps. The poems of Hayden Carruth, rough and sturdy as tree bark; a short sensuous novel by Jeanette Winterson whom I've listened to on Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason and now have a crush on; and Julia Glass's latest book, crisp and entrancingly old-fashioned, the modern woman's Dickens I'd say if I wasn't so unsure of my judgment these days.

Thank God for reading. Viginia Woolf knows what I'm talking about: “I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards – their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble – the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, ‘Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.’”


Blogger Michelle Fry said...

Oh the poor crows!

July 27, 2006  

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