The Arbor Vitae 2013

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Jean's Blog (Check out links to Guest Blogs in lefthand Column)

Reflections

February 27, 2015

Tags: Alps, Arctic, mother, birthday, March, Manhattan, spring

JOYCE MOSSERI, 1986.
Alpine landscape , 20 x 16 , rectangular, acrylic on canvas, $359.

I have never looked forward to March as fervently as I do this year. We have family birthdays cropping up early in the month. My mother's birthday was on March 13th. She would have been 101. In celebration of her life and in thanks for the life she gave me, I have posted another of her paintings on this month's blog. A wide variety of her paintings can be found on this website,

http://grannyart.free.fr/grannyart/

April will bring two BatMitzvahs of close family, as well as the yearly ordeal that is Passover. Surely by then, we will have segued into warmer weather and the use of our terrace once again? I think often of Stony Creek House, its sturdy stone walls warding off the cold, the roof sagging under snowfalls and ice, the view drere and somber as the house freezes in solitude and we pray that no pipes burst and no trees fall victim to the ice and the cold.
I am so tired of snow and ice, white and grey, multiple layers of clothing, and hefty boots to dare even a few steps outside. The one Manhattan blessing is the way the skies are often blue even when the thermometer plunges to Arctic depths.
Still, the gentle warmth of spring sunlight and the slow wash of color as flowers and leaves break into bud and bloom, the first happy trills of courting birds, these are the moments my heart desires. Enough of winter hibernation for this year! We need spring!
I am getting used to living in two universes, the one we all live in, and the one in my head that clicks into place more and more as my novel grows. Every small detail that parallels my story or my characters leaps out at me when people are conversing, or when I read the paper or listen to the news. I am living there as much as living here, and sometimes it is hard to make the bridge from one to the other. This is a new and absorbing experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to savor it to the full.



After The Storm

November 7, 2012

Tags: Manhattan, Mayor Bloomberg, winter.

New York City has slowly lumbered to its feet after the most devastating storm to hit the Tri-State area in living memory . Power is back on in most areas of Manhattan, and shivering New Yorkers are exhaling gratitude and delight as they stand again in hot showers, eat hot food cooked in their own kitchens, and find many buses and subways running to take them about their daily tasks. Being able to charge electronic devices in one's own home has begun to feel like a luxury not to be taken lightly. Televisions are casting their light into living rooms, and computers are knitting the world back into a pattern it has learned to rely on. People fitting awkwardly into the lives and homes of friends and family during the crisis have moved out of these makeshift communes into their own familiar environments, thankful for the shelter and power, even more thankful for a return to privacy and familiarity. Most kids are back in school, although the city had to undertake a tremendous clean-up operation to ready school buildings that had been used as shelters for days, and one has to wonder where all those unfortunate people have gone, who are now homeless for an indeterminate amount of time until their houses and apartments are restored to them.
Today, I am thinking of the time, many years ago, when I saw John Geilgud in King Lear. He was a force of nature as he echoed Nature's force in Shakespeare's words:

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!"

I think of Lear today because Nature has once again unleashed its full powers outside my window, albeit less furiously than Hurricane Sandy. Powerful winds are swirling over Manhattan with gusts of over 60 miles an hour, sleet and wet snow are driving sideways, assaulting anything in the storm's path. Mayor Bloomberg again has cautioned everyone to stay indoors until this Nor'easter has stopped shaking us like dead leaves in a gale. Winter has come roaring into my world, leering at departing autumn, catching trees still heavy with their glory of color and hurling them to the ground.
I am so grateful for shelter, and heat, and good books to read. I am grateful for life, and all those caring hearts. I am grateful that President Obama won a second term. I have hope for the future and pleasure in the past.

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