Heart of Light   (2016Aug08)

Monday, August 08, 2016                                       3:03 PM


“’You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

‘They called me the  hyacinth girl.’

-Yet when we came back, late, from the hyacinth garden,

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Oed’ und leer das Meer”

—  (from “The Waste Land” (1922) by T.S. Eliot)


I know that all you working stiffs hate the start of the work-week, but I’m enjoying the beautiful weather and my good mood. The sun is shining. I’m free as a bird—and I’m a grandpa now, too—it’s really too sweet. Claire is, I presume, enjoying her beautiful granddaughter Seneca and spending time with her Jessy, and Big Sen.

I don’t know for sure because, when you’ve been together for 37 years (36 of them married, end of this month), two weeks away from the sound of my voice is the best vacation Bear could possibly ask for. So I don’t call. I’ll see her in two weeks. Besides, there’s no news here to report anyhow—unless you count the fact that Spencer and I haven’t starved to death without someone to look after us.

I always start to really love the summer when it’s just about to end. It seems so cruel that all the beautiful plants and flowers and all the leaves on the trees will all fade and fall. Soon I’ll have to close the windows—sacrificing fresh breezes for warmth—I think that’s the part I hate the most. Sometimes, in winter, I open the bedroom windows for as long as I can stand it—just to get a little re-oxygenation.

But temperate climate is where it’s best—yes, you get winter, but it’s harder to live in temperate climes, so you don’t get the profusion of jungles, insects, and creepy-crawlies of various kinds that make the tropics so claustrophobic. Winter is like a broom that sweeps away the ephemera that can only live in the hot sunlight—herding the irresistible force of Life into a dignified annual cycle, rather than an eternal riot of birth and rot—what Joseph Conrad called the “Heart of Darkness”.

But we still get a taste of the easy life, every summer—just a tease, but enough to fuel our dreams through the long winters. I love having all the doors and windows open all day—especially on breezy days, when the whole house breathes with the weather. Those flowers which haven’t already done their business are at peak bloom, blousy and vulnerable to wind—the last fireworks of nature’s annual explosion—so beautiful, and so sad, for their grandeur means the end is near. As they should correctly say on Game of Thrones, ‘Autumn is coming’. Right? I mean, who has Winter without first a Fall, for crying out loud? Why don’t the Game of Thrones people ever say, “Fall is almost over.”? That’s show-biz, I guess.

I’m going outside—all this talking about the outdoors has made me restless. See ya.

4 responses to “Heart of Light   (2016Aug08)

  1. I was just thinking of Indian summers up there. I really like the weather here in the mountains. Summer is as hot as anywhere at times but SC is usually 10 degrees warmer. (gas is 10 cents lower in SC). Since I am home a lot, I just appreciate central air. But winter is my favorite season once the beauty of fall has passed. The mountains are a majestic purple that glows at sunset. I agree on the blast of cold air. We get some very cold days but we also have tolerable days. What we lack is all the rock walls all over the place. In Katonah Ridge we all had a big rock to hang out on and I truly miss them. Off the exit at Readers Digest, across the street, we used to get to Dad’s school, Roaring Brook. It is quite the mountain and a rock wall goes straight-ish up hill no longer a dividing line for anything. It fills me with wonder of when and who built it. Good memories.

    • Yes, I too love those New York stone walls. They are protected in some parts as historical monuments. From the first colonists, through to the dawn of the Industrial Age, New York State was an agricultural giant. At one point, nearly the entire state was under the plow-the Oneida and the Shaker communities were world-famous leaders in agricultural science and hybridization of seeds and crops. The beginning of all of that was step one–cut down the trees and dig up all the rocks. But where to put all the rocks? Stone walls are everywhere in New York because it was all farmed for centuries. Those stone walls represent our mostly-forgotten heritage. And they’re beautiful, too.

      • I was unaware of that. “plow-the Oneida” was a project? T’was a good one. I will never forget our heritage. So happy that some are historical monuments. I actually decorate with rocks and have a collection of semi-precious gem stones.

      • Sorry, Min–that was a typo. I meant the whole state was ‘under the plow’, i.e. ‘being farmed’. The Shaker communities were the big agrarians (with architects and furniture-makers, too), but the Oneida community was another notable up-state commune (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneida_Community) that traded in several specialties–most notably silverware–you can still buy Oneida Flatware today. It is said that the talkers busied themselves with the philosophy of Transcendentalism in Massachusetts, but the doers started communes in upstate New York.

Leave a Reply