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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Daffodils, Donkey, Dog, and Drawing

A friend brought me daffodils so tightly furled they didn't even look like daffodils when I got them, but a few days in the front window of the bookshop, and now today they are in full bloom, at their peak of beauty. Perfection, as another old friend said famously years ago, is a moving target. The daffodils hit the bull's-eye today; tomorrow will be another story. To each day, however, its pleasures, and those daffodils are one of the pleasures of today.

For one whose gypsy feet have not been on the open road for longer than I care to mention, spring is a most restless season. At bedtime these days, David and I are enjoying reading aloud from Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, getting in a little vicarious travel, but as spring gradually pushes winter offstage, Aprille may be over, but I do still long to go on pilgrimage. Here at the shop today, because I was assembling a little six-and-a-half inch wide (6" tall) library of classics from books I'd removed from a shelf to make room for other, larger format classics, I couldn't help opening Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (the Cevennes!), a book that always stokes the travel urge.
A new road leads from Pont de Montvert to Florac by the valley of the Tarn; a smooth sandy ledge, it runs about half-way between the summit of the cliffs and the river in the bottom of the valley; and I went in and out, as I followed it, from bays of shadow into promontories of afternoon sun.

There is bright afternoon sun this very minute out on Waukazoo Street, and I wonder how much ice melted today in the Manitou Passage. In another hour or two I'll be outdoors, gazing west over Lake Michigan from the Leelanau hills, and I'll remind myself how many people would love to be in my place.

Doggy digression:

Look at that wet, muddy dog! She had way too much fun on Sunday afternoon! Mud fun for Sarah means work for me, and after her bath I thought we might as well trim the paws and such, too. But who said venturing out into the world rather than staying home doesn't have its costs?

Tomorrow my drawing class meets again, and we'll be plunging into the messy adventure of charcoal! (I have no expectations or preconceptions, merely look forward to a new experience.) Betsy, our instructor, wants each of us to have a mantra to pull out whenever negative, I-can't thoughts come into our heads. Sometimes I tell myself encouragingly, "You're doing a good job." But drawing isn't the only time negativity can try to get its nose under the tent, and at those other times I'm telling myself to look around and say, "I'm seeing the world."

It's good to see the world. And as we say here in Michigan, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."


Kathy in Oz said...

I can remember trying to read aloud from some parts of Notes From A Small Island many years ago but collapsing with laughter each time I tried to get the words out. It is a very entertaining book and Bill Bryson is a big favourite in Australia.

P. J. Grath said...

Kathy, sometimes I see what's coming and start to laugh before I even get to the end of the sentence but am trying not to, so as not to deprive David of the element of surprise. After this I'll have to read his book on your "sunburned" homeland.