Thursday, January 20, 2011

foggy morning

photo: Saint Augustine courtyard.

sun is shining. my head is foggy. up too late. late afternoon nap. Rimbaud.
"Just Kids," by Patti Smith. highly recommended. carpenter came yesterday. installed another large window in the studio. says he will be back tomorrow to do the last window. then, paint the inside. then, move in. oil painting class in Palatka. old Florida. good teacher. i have completely different style from everyone else. i call it "lean and loose."

another visit to another nursing home. i ask them all if they have had dogs. the ones who say yes begin to cry. they touch Bindi gently, with trembling hands. Bindi is quiet, perhaps a little frightened. allows all touches. i ask a woman how she is feeling. she says, not good, and begins to cry. i sit and hold her hand and we look into one another's eyes for the longest time. then longer. i say nothing, she says nothing. her eyes are so blue. she is content to hold my gaze. i finally say, "I love you." after some time she says, i have a new friend. i think she means someone in the home. here? I ask. you, she says.

a short manual for making a new friend:
1. ask how she is doing.
2. hold hands.
3. gaze into each other's eyes.
4. continue to gaze.
5. gaze more.
6. say "I love you."

i leave, shaken. i call T., tell him the story. he gets it, absolutely gets it. the perfect person to call. we both shed tears, across the miles. ah, miss you, T.

a friend comes from CT to visit. with her son. my first visitors. the kid watches tv, she and i stretch across my bed and talk of things deep and important. nothing better. i show them the city. they love it. they had been to disney-out of this-world. sitting on the front porch with the young boy, i ask him. what have you liked best about Florida so far? being here, he replies. being here, my mind silently repeats. disneyworld had been too much for him, too many people, the lines too long, too much going on. here, it is quiet, and i make his favorite dinner.

early december i go to visit my kids in the cold north. i get so hungry for them sometimes. the oldest, so smart and talented and beautiful. oldest boy, kind and funny, like his dad. the middle girl, a flower. the middle boy, sensuous, high energy. the two little ones, peas in a pod, love their small voices. the baby, so adored, with so many parents, learning words so fast and valiantly putting up with Bindi. i try to help out in small ways. become authoritarian with the kids. pick those coats/mittens/gloves/scarves up off the floor. now. take out of the trash. keep the noise down. i hope they didn't mind my direct ways.

the night before my birthday, i sent out an email to friends here to see if anyone wants to have birthday lunch with me the next day. amazingly, eight people respond yes and i have a fun spontaneous party planned 18 hours in advance. this is the right place to be.

on christmas I have two dinners with two groups of friends.

the rising full moon in december finds me at the beach with a friend as we watch the coral crescent ascend from the edge of the sea. as usual, another person, a young man, comes along and we get into a conversation about dogs. so common here, to converse with strangers as if one has known them a long time. i love that. so much less holding back than in the northeast. how stifled i was there, trying to fit in, going against my nature, going against what probably should be natural for most people, the communality of an intimate tribe.

carpenter just called. his today job got cancelled, he's on his way over to put in another window. YES! taking my art more seriously has moved the project along perhaps?


Anonymous said...

loving this post, Linda. poetry. i think the short staccato style works with certain stories, it gives them a certain intimacy.

i'm so glad you're making a difference in people's lives, but it's hardly surprising, as you definitely changed mine for the better, and i will never forget that. (and i love you)

you should find a way to share this blog via facebook as well, because i for one didn't know you were still updating it...


Amrita said...

So happy that you are so happy about the move being the right thing!!! Loved the photo and blog. Pray tell, what color are you painting the studio? Bindi and you are out and about with the elderly and sharing the LoveLight! Loved the vignette! In the Light, Amrita

kim said...

It sounds like you and Bindi are good for the people at the nursing home, and they are good for you. <3

I'm sorry you felt the kids needed more authoritarianism, though.

John Pluecker said...


loved loved loved this post.

so happy to see you so well.

i love you.