Rain falling here in the mountains, soft cold rain. The Great Dane went out for his ramble around the garden and came back in bristling and shaking himself. I clipped my small dogs’ thick coats with a sharp pair of nail scissors and they look like a bad shaggy dog story. Les bichons, the tiny lapdogs, the little darlings clumsily hacked by their well-meaning mother.
Waiting for live updates on the hurricane headed across the At;antic — a friend in Hoboken writes to say she has a generator, torches, batteries, bottled water and cans of soup, a copy of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. There are worse ways to sit out a storm.
“He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realization of their desires.”
I was perhaps 17 when I first borrowed a copy of Anna Karenina from the library and read it — it gave me a feeling of delayed pleasure to know I should read this book again and again in years to come and that I would understand more and more as I matured and was able to understand more. I still feel that way, so much more to be understood.
Pushing through days of anxiety and flatness, a mild but unpleasant depression, The Housemate still coughing and feverish. Neither of us is sleeping well and I wake at night and watch luminous moonlight slip across the bedroom walls and floor. I grit my teeth and carry on baking (tarte tatin attempt number 329 and still not crisp enough on the bottom; apple and pear crumble with cinnamon; ginger snaps that lost their snap too soon; salted butter caramels (nearly burned down the kitchen). And writing, always writing. And watering seedlings.
We don’t do much for Halloween in this corner of the world — perhaps to pause on a damp spring morning and to notice a faint thinning between the worlds, a metaphor for life, death and the return, a time to remember dead friends and loved ones, a time to look at rose petals falling and wonder about our own mortality. Shiver a little staring out at the African veld while thinking of old Europe and a memory of haunting. Annie Finch’s Samhain, for a Celtic Halloween: