1 week ago
This last weekend, the R-rated movie “Joker" was a record-breaking box office hit. Meanwhile, I went to a different movie, “Aquarela.” It was a Scandinavian slow movie with no characters, voices or captions. For almost two hours, I watched water moving—glaciers calving, waves rolling, river ice melting and waterfalls falling.
Once I slowed down to the speed of the movie, I found the quiet beauty strangely calming. I forgot my own worries, my to-do list, global climate change and Donald Trump. Instead, I wondered if this or that piece of glacier would slide into a turquoise blue sea. As I walked to my car, I wondered how people felt as they walked out of “Joker.”
I am not like most people. In fact, only two other people were at “Aquarela.” I never want to be frightened and I can’t stand to witness violence. For entertainment, I look to the moon, the birds, the trees and the sweet voices of my friends and family. ...
1 month ago
Last night, we drove out to my son’s farm for our last dinner with my granddaughter Kate before she leaves for college in another state. When we arrived, Zeke was in the kitchen making flour tortillas and chopping jalapeños and cilantro for pico de gallo. Kate was by his side frying tortilla chips. She told us that she felt as if she were getting away with something by not being in school that day. She also expressed bemused surprise that her high school could actually go on without her presence.
Zeke’s wife Jamie came home from work and we all sat outside as Zeke grilled shrimp, pineapple and langostinos for tacos. We talked about this and that, aware the real news was too big to carry in a conversation.
When Claire and Aidan came home, the three siblings lay on the living room floor, heads together, and talked softly about the day. Then they joined us for a sunset picnic. The shadows under the fruit trees edged towards us. We talked carefully, as though we suddenly had become emotionally fragile. After dinner, Kate took a picture of the sky as if she could save this moment for us all forever.
We said our good byes to Kate quickly. How do you say good bye to someone you’ve been conversing with since she was in her mother’s womb?
Kate will be fine and we’ll still see her regularly. We all will be fine. But still our little family has been rocked by the hurricane-force winds of time. ...
This morning I watched an egg yolk sky rise over the slate-colored pan of the lake. I’ve had a busy month with two weeks of family company and a visit from my Bloomsbury editor Nancy. She was a wonderful guest--curious, flexible and appreciative. She’d never been to a Plains State and she said that Nebraska was an exotic location to her. She marveled at our big sky and vast open spaces. We did a tour of the Capitol and spent a morning at Spring Creek Prairie, two of my favorite places. I fixed her fresh pasta pesto and sweet corn. We picked peaches and watched our baby swallows learn to fly. I think she had a good time. I have enjoyed all the visitors and today I am enjoying the quiet. I’ll work on my garden and finish Jill Lepore’s book “These Truths.” I am deeply grateful I live in Nebraska. ...