Sunday, August 30, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Seven

Our Zinnia Garden, photo by Janet Wyatt 

Talking to Myself Thirty-Seven August 30, 2020

Zinnia time again, thanks to Janet.

How I wanted something we planted

to grow. The perennials fought their way

to bloom: daffodils, a few determined

crocuses, daylilies, the small sunflowers,

the hydrangea bush, and the forsythia,

but I missed my zinnias. Janet egged

me on, and we ordered Benares giants,

all colors. And my favorite cosmos: 

Sensation. Pink, white, purple.

Yesterday Tim picked the first bouquet.

The more you pick them, the more

they bloom. Now they rest on our

dining table: dark red, bright pink,

yellow, the new green. They join the

table clutter: this week’s newspaper, 

various papers I’m working on, books, 

my Trollope novel Phineas Finn, my

appointment book, cracker boxes, 

salt, the honey jar, miscellaneous spoons,

a roll of paper towels, Tylenol, file

folders, toothpicks, the sugar bowl,

green placemats. They belong. I’ll

make sure the zinnias have their water.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Six


photo of our first Zinnia bloom taken by Janet Wyeth

Talking to Myself Thirty-Six    August 23, 2020

It’s hard to admit that my life had lacked joy.

Then it arrived, despite the deadly virus, the

rare face-to-face conversations, the rising

death toll, my slow rate of healing. We have

seven new Zinnia blooms: pink, yellow,

orange, white, and many buds rising. We

eat a lot of beans and rice, homemade

bread and ginger tea. Then comes a

letter in Russian. I paste it into my translation 

program and read: “Sweet Judy.” He thanks

me again for his voyage to America twenty-

seven years ago. It was work, but those days

of communion, of barriers falling down, were 

worth it many times over. He’s writing about it. 

He is convinced that between Russians and

Americans there is not much difference. I’m 

lifted up, grow stronger, walk more easily.

Then joy. Now I know all will be well with me.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Five

Talking to Myself Thirty-Five August 16, 2020

I had decided to try a street event. 

First Sunday I believe they called it.

They gave me a space on the sidewalk

in front of the Joyful Jewel, an art shop.

Sales were hard to come by. I barely

made more than I paid to enter.

Then the art shop owner, Mariah,

came outside and said she’d be happy

to take my books. I gladly accepted.

About that time I began to publish 

my mysteries myself. Friends advised

me to do three or four a year. When

I had the funds, I did three. Mariah

kept smiling, but I suspect the volume

of books overwhelmed her. Then

I joined her annual Voice and Vision

event in April and wrote poems about

paintings I liked. Clearly, the poets’

art came from the heart. They hugged,

cried, and laughed. Around them the 

paintings, sculptures, hats, cups all 

rejoiced with us in this shop which 

hallowed the eternally creative spirit. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Four

Talking to Myself Thirty-Four August 9, 2020

These years push forward their agenda,

but I’m not to know the details or the names.

My episodes might be tiny strokes I don’t

even notice. Or maybe seizures. Brain

doctors can name many things that can

go wrong in an aging brain. Yet most

days I’m tranquil, resting body and mind

more than I used to, sleeping or not

sleeping by whimsy. Sometimes I feel

jittery and make myself rest. One doctor

congratulates me on doing this well at age

eighty-three. Anther threatens me with

massive stroke. Yet I walk, I read, I try

to solve copyright problems for my new

book. Days pass. I muster my patience.

I still love a man who no longer walks

the earth. I type old manuscripts and

translate a Russian friend’s memories, 

amazed that he trusts me. I read old

books and study our failings and 

foibles, our moments of truth-speaking

and commitment to justice. No one

else knows the details either. Doctors

love to try their fancy medicines, but 

sometimes the cures are worse than the 

episodes. I want to choose how I live

my life–as long as I can. I haven’t

done too badly so far. 


Photo by Janet Wyatt in August 2020  Rose of Sharon tree.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Three August 2, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Three August 2, 2020

I remember Schelykovo. You 
took me there that first week.
We saw the house, carefully
preserved, of Russia’s playwright,
loved and honored as our Shakespeare.
We went into a peasant house, sat 
on the benches against the walls,
visited the pool where the Snow Maiden 
died, wetted our faces for a long
life, if not an immortal one. Your
friend Yuri knew him personally,
was scolded and influenced by the
great man. And I, at an age you 
never reached, still have my
students. How much longer will
I influence them, scold them, and
praise them? In some ways I was
the peasant woman you longed
for but less submissive, more
outspoken. Someone to cherish 
while keeping your distance. Still,
we had those moments. We stood
outside ourselves, we communed. 
No one noticed at first, We sat on
rocks in a stream bed. You prayed
to a tree that it wouldn’t rain. Each
day I get older, but you stay the
same. Your life is trapped in
eternity, but we each have a wing,
and who knows where and when
we’ll be together again.

Photo of the front of Schelykovo by Vera Belikh.