I followed the path through the backyard to the solarium, and before unlocking the door I spotted a white mug with a spoon in it sitting beside a crumpled paper towel. I now knew that Max had been home and found this to be a welcoming sight. Good, I thought, he made himself some coffee and it looked as though he finally found a little time to sit down and relax in the “glass garden.”
I picked up the mug and the first thing I noticed was how DARK the remainder of the coffee was and how straight the spoon was standing. Hmmm… I guess he wanted a strong cup of coffee. By the look of the dark oily substance inside the mug this was as close to liquid coffee bean as I had seen.
Having set the mug down on the kitchen counter, I opened the top of the coffee maker to throw away the Melitta filter. One, to one and a half inches, of ground coffee poured into the bottom of the cone filter and combined with 4 cups of water is the capacity of our coffee maker. Upon swinging open the top I was greeted by a filter filled almost to the brim with ground coffee at least six inches deep – enough for about eighteen cups of coffee. No wonder there was still some inside his cup. He has always told me I make the best coffee! Should I or shouldn’t I tell him my little secret: it doesn’t take a cup of coffee to make a “cup of coffee.”
I was stirring the oatmeal this morning and christened the 50+ year old stainless steel Paul Revere pot, “The Red River Pot.” I chose this name because my Dad cooked Red River cereal for himself each morning in it. I suppose I could have co-termed it the “Campbell’s Soup Pot” in fairness to Mum and the many hundreds of tins of Campbell’s she heated in this sturdy vessel.
If I take 365 days a year and multiply them by 20 years I have eaten 7300 bowls of Campbell’s soups. I have not yet mentioned I was allergic to the great quantities of sodium laced into these soups. These caused me to experience, “soup rage.” I became unhinged after each serving but we all thought these out-rages were just part of me being Nicole and OD’ing on drama classes at school. It was when I terminated conventional and manufactured foods from my diet that the reason for my reactions became quite clear = allergic! to chemicals, additives, and preservatives.
When I cook oatmeal I take my time licking the wooden spoon after filling our bowls with the sticky, nutty, batter-like organic cereal. Blueberries, bananas, maple syrup, and cream: perfect!
Listening to CHQM-FM and a country singer, a neighbor of Johnny Cash, is singing a song of tribute to him. The singer says he loves crows; and Johnny Cash dressed like one! This made me laugh.
When I’m up late in here filling in this book I feel like I’ve kindled my special powers. I consider this time, “The Witching Hour:” my witching hour. It’s dark and raining. I’ve turned on the heat. A black figure reels down an inky Seawalk with a silver path from overhead lighting the walk under his feet. An orange umbrella appears like a gigantic flower moving in the black air.
Stopping by the Newsstand before leaving Park Royal South and leafing through some Women’s Magazines:
“As we age we fall apart.” – Bullsh_t!! As we age we stop learning at school, stop working out or playing sports. We keep eating out… and drinking beer, wine, juice, and lattes, all laden with calories. The preservatives laced into conventional foods bulge the middle outward. No exercise leaves the muscles painful and the bones in poor condition. No new ideas result in a flabby brain and slowed thinking or forgetfulness.
Stop believing the bull in women’s magazines about aging; the mags with the ads for all your body, mind, and spirit pains. The articles are written primarily to promote the advertisements that fill you with unnecessary fears and tell you you need manufactured pills, medications or surgery. Take action!! Keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy by avoiding the behaviors that harm them. Take responsibility for your life by following nature and nurture. Avoid conventional stores and commercial products and tune out old wives tales… enjoy the freedom of being your own boss and running your own life. I dare you to throw out your television and newspapers if you will. I overhear more people talking about these as an absolute waste of time and invasion into their free time to think, read, paint, socialize, walk/run… take photographs, choose a new pet, phone a friend. Your choices are unlimited… try some new ones.
I shake off the negativity from the “media salad” and start across the tiny bridge that connects the parking lot with the playing fields. Walking home past the fields with a view to the ocean, I like seeing the beaver’s bare-stick igloo, and the way it displaces the water, causing new patterns of mud to form along the edge of the creek.
While visiting the mall I was keen to study a young Iranian woman in Artigiano early today. She had it!! Voice, power, posture, flash, tan, probably much cash; and she had only a few accessories that differed from mine. Lime green richly hued T-shirt, white leather belt, her shirt was tucked in; hot heels, jeans, wavy, glossy black hair, attitude, cellular, dazzling teeth! We both had designer sunglasses and my jeans are the cool Acne brand. I could try a colored T-shirt, white belt (later I bought a red patent one made in Germany), high heels, and better handbag. My hair is dramatic in the opposite way and I’m fine with it. I don’t like cell phones and don’t use one. I could be taller with heels but she’s taller than my 5’6″. Stunning woman teaches me a lesson: Shut up and Show Off !!
I had caught sight of myself in a plate glass window with a mean-spirit behind it and it threw me a reflection of my expression sagging. I fell into disbelief and hurriedly turned my head and thoughts back to the soft pink lighting of the powder room at home and the mercifully flattering reflections emitted from a 1960’s mirror. The mirrors in the make-up and clothing departments in stores are cuttingly cruel; a tired, worn, dark, expressionless face appears out of my stare and I’m forced to try on new colors and styles to become the mannequins and the women on posters surrounding me. Once in the door at home, I tried on the black capri-length tights and top I bought… up-to-date and sexy. I needed these.
Grateful for hairpins to keep my hair out of my face, off the back of my neck, and above the bathwater.
Thanking my unconscious mind for these permissive ideas.
Eating lunch with a friend at 3:30 p.m. in Capers Courtyard on Fourth Avenue yesterday. Two pigeons strutted around the table and between our feet. I noticed they had black toenails at the end of their red toes and legs. This is very dramatic and beautiful. I feel I need coral red fingernails with jet black tips: very Zen!! Now here I think the next Fashion Movement will be a ‘Zen’ look. I could do one: Paper, water blue, soft jade green, moonlight, horizontal planes, 7″ x 7″ proportions, whispers. Nothingness, lightness, being (3 stages of birth)… I like my new concept.
What else comes from my Zen? Bowls, trees, discs, flow, chromium yellow and wine-stain red, high altitudes/attitudes, thinness, sticks, stones, smoothness, waving, layers, reduction, balance, harmony zones: The Zen Zone; how would that look? How would I combine the colors?
One stroke on a brass gong: a single strike against a brass gong!
Tastes like pepperment: Peppermint Zen.
Smells like cinnamon-sea air.
Feels like mountain (Whistler) wind.
The energy of a horse’s mane in the air as it gallops, the flames of a fire (fire flame), a bird wing fanned out (against) or into the wind.
I like these images.
My “imagineered” design style is a place where Zen and Clutter Meet.
The swell of the waves makes my thighs quiver and my lower body feels sensations taking in the movement of the sea. The Shangri-La thrusts above the headland.
A deep pink geranium sits pretty in the black cast iron urn near my feet silently dropping her petals as she too admires the whitecaps. A dainty sophisticate, the geranium has an oriental lily pad leaf anchoring an English flower and bud with small petals, fanning out a saturated hue against clouds swollen with shadows leaning along the sky in layers.
The icy wind is bending tree branches and whirring the stalks of shrubs into a frenzy. The Seawalkers keep their collars up and kleenex under their noses as they brace their steps for the next burst of cold air breaking over them. Long scarves twirl and leap outward in a scatter-brained dance.
The train tracks creak, dogs yip and howl.
My feet are cold, as is my tea, and yet it is mesmerizing to sit in the midst of it all. A lone gull is being blown blocks out of his way by the next forceful blow of the wind. He’s drawn across roof and tree tops and sent soaring away from the water toward the hard blue mountains.
A steady grumble makes its way through the leaky windows and the canvas awnings flap furiously against the current.
Without warning leaves are blown inside out revealing their naked light side. The logs sitting atop the giant granite boulders lining the walk thunk, thunk, in repetition. All is divine as blue sky and tips of sunlight foreshadow a heavenly day.
Now the sun comes out to spoil me warming my bare feet resting on the tile floor. The rays are blinding as they reflect off the water and the surface of the sea glitters in madcap fashion. Sunlight is pulled back and in ten breaths I see only a glare as the seagulls wail mournfully. The sun is back, in the completion of a sentence, playing hide and seek with me. I have to squint hard against it.
More people are out walking now. The path becomes a medley of color: mauve, red, blue, pink, white, gold, black, navy, tan: the colors of our clothing, our cars, and our floral arrangements.
The walk has emptied, my tea is drained, I leave the solarium in peace having read a few more pages from Louise Erdrich’s book, “The Blue Jay’s Dance.” A Birth Year. Exquisite, lyrical prose by a Best-Selling Author, Mother, Observer of Nature and Poet. These little vignettes are “unpredictable and unforgettable.” The mundane of everyday life is rendered marvelous!
Once back in the kitchen I look out and see the arbutus tree waving wildly in the wind. My concern is for the crow who built her nest in a strong fork of one of the branches. I can see vaguely through the blossoms that she’s home by a small glimpse of her shiny black feathers. The tree is caught up in a baby hurricane and I think of the bird mother having morning sickness in the dizzying gale. If the eggs aren’t scrambled by the time the wind ceases the birdlings will be born remembering this psychedelic drama in their incubation. All day I fret over whether the nest will weather the storm.
I had watched the nest being built and the crow had a mate helping to weave each thoughtfully chosen strand of material into a new home. Many trips were made carrying puffs of something white and fluffy. Normally the nest rests in utopia almost hidden by the thick and lavish white flowers and green leaves of the arbutus tree; a floral-lined loft. By sunset the scene turned calm, the five-hour power outage was repaired, and I had the kettle back on. I was extremely grateful for electricity, a safe nest, and all the energetic forces of Mother Nature purifying the air we breathe. The electric heat is back on, the fridge is cold again, and the food didn’t spoil. So what if the computer wouldn’t work, I got this written anyway… by hand and heart.