Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer's Last Hurrah ... probably

Saturday and Sunday were incredibly gorgeous, high 70s, a cooling breeze, perfect sky.  Beach weather and many, many people took advantage of it. Saturday was the only time in my life I have been so desperate for a parking space, I parked in a handicapped space.  And then worried about the ticket I'd surely get.  I didn't.
Could a beach be more beautiful?  Only if there were no people on it except me.  That happens when I get there early enough, but not this  past Saturday.

The roses are gone but they've left behind fat, gorgeous rose hips, like so many Christmas decorations among the thorny vines and leaves which have begun to change color.

Since early August the horseshoe crabs have been molting.  Their shells often line the beach.
They are ancient creatures, 450 million years old, a group of them spawn on other beaches, but apparently not this one -- at least I've never seen them.  But they molt, all sizes and many colors from very light tan to dark, nearly black.  The largest are not only the oldest they are also the females,  so I've read.  I am fascinated by them. 

So many pile up sometimes that the tide line looks like a battle field after a massacre. But most of them are survivors and are roaming the bottom of the bay, with their relatively delicate new shell. They eat sea worms, some mollusks and the occasional tiny fish -- or so I've read. 

The season is ending, I will continue morning walks on the beach when I can and when the weather is not too chilly. I think my barefoot walks are numbered and the tan I've acquired over the summer will begin fading very shortly.  It was a beautiful summer from just after the Fourth of July -- until then it was chilly and damp.  Since then we have had one of our driest summers, record numbers of tourists and beautiful days with very few above the mid-80s and most not too humid.  It was a summer to really enjoy and I did.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Enjoying the End of Summer on the Beach

Summer isn't quite over. It's still warm on the beach, the sky is cloudless blue, and the great-grandchildren had a wonderful time while Mama, Cori, snapped photos.  Stella, 20 months, Cole, two, Finn (apparently leviating)   four.   What a place to be a child!  What a place to be an adult! 

We are having a wonderful gift of beautiful pre-autumn days. 

As "Great" (gradmother, that is) I can say these photos capture something essential about each of these children.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another movie: My Old Lady

There are going to be a lot of films in my life this fall. This week, fewer than last.  The foreign movie of the week at the college was an oldie that made me feel very old indeed. Fellini's first Oscar for best foreign film, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, three farcical sketechs with unbelievably youthful Marcello Mastroiani and Sophia Loren. The sketches have aged into ridiculousness. The two who were in each section are just gorgeous but did far better work later in their careers.

This week I didn't go to any documentaries -- the ones shown I'd seen and didn't wish to see again. But today I went to see the new My Old Lady with many reservations.  I'm not a Maggie Smith fan  but no one else could have been more perfectly cast. Originally a  play by Israel Horowitz, it began a bit broadly but developed into a much deeper and more complex story  between Kevin Klein, Maggie Smith and Kristan Scott-Thomas than I expected. It's not really a spoiler to say that I think we Americans, as a people and especially writers, make too much fuss about extra-marital affairs. But given that attitude the story becomes truly tragic-comic. The three carry the movie. This was a play, the screenplay adapted by Horowitz, and another Horowitz was the independent producer. The  story depended on character and uncovering a difficult past.  As so often small Broadway plays a man's lack of success in life goes back to family trauma.  My quibble would be that about five minutes from the end there was a very dramatic bit I thought was overdone, too Hollywood drama-ish. But the movie redeemed itself with a touch of opera at the end  -- I mean operatic music that I didn't expect and absolutely loved.  Only an indy film would put in that operatic bit.  Hurray!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Land Ho!

A small buddy film with  a small budget and two actors not known to most of us -- a road trip in Iceland of all places.  I enjoyed it because I've thought for a long time that it would be very interesting to visit Iceland and drive around its so-called Golden Circle, see the rugged landscape, geysers waterfalls, lonely farm houses. Reykivik  doesn't interest me much -- but then I've had cities up the gazoo and I like countryside.

The two retired men are in their later 60s it seems, they are former brothers-in-law married to sisters (until one got divorced and one died--the sisters, I mean).  Not a lot happens but the men reveal habits, attitudes and inner life in subtle ways which is very rare in movies.  Of course it's an indy film and not likely to be seen many places, which is too bad.  We older people very rarely get to see our contemporaries treated so insightfully . 

Friday, September 12, 2014

At This Age, One Worries

In the spring I saw the name of a friend I haven't seen for a few years on the cover of a magazine. I read the article about her and looked at the photos of her art work which were in her  familiar style.  I cannot put a picture of her work here without her  permission but here is a link you can click
I could not imagine she would not respond with a brief note or something because she's that kind of person.  But time went by. Now and then I remembered her and thought ... Oh, dear. We are both in our 70s, things happen to people.  But if she were very sick or dead surely her husband would at least respond with a brief note -- if my note were somewhere that seemed to be unanswered.  I hated the thought that I might not know.

Yesterday the voice on the telephone was unmistakeable her.  She was sorry not to answer sooner.  We talked a good while, she is working as always.  The link above takes you to a wonderful gallery of her fairly recent work -- they are all marvelous mandalas.  Just beautiful and so in keeping with who she is, a person whose work was always complexly metaphorical and yet truly accessible.  I am so happy she is still with us and sounds healthy and happy and making the art that flows out of some deep place inside her.  It's wonderful simply to know we are in the same world as certain other people. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heavy lifting - 3 films in 24 hours

I'm on mental and visual overload.  I've seen three films in 24 hours and I almost couldn't get to sleep.  Some people watch one film after another, or one TV show after another.  Perhaps I have visually deprived myself  because I don't have a TV.  So films have a big impact.  Frankly I like it that way but this probably might continue fo the next twelve weeks. My own fault.

I will not give up the free Tuesday afternoon foreign film.  The first one was a 2013 French film called 2 Autumn, 3 Winters. It was dreadful.  A scruffy guy with an empty life (no apparent job, few friends) meets a girl with an empty life. They hang out with another couple with empty lives. They are all inarticulate, superficial and aimless.  They are all early 30s. Is that what it means to be that age?  I just read also that Max Nichols (son of Mike) has made his own version of The Graduate, his father's first hit with a mid-20s protagonist who also is aimless, inarticulate, superficial. Boring movies, depressing statement.

Yesterday two documentaries, one after the other interrupted by a long discussion period of the first which was the doc about Joan Rivers. I had seen it quite a while ago and forgot much of it. A driven woman who, as everyone knows made her mark as a potty-mouthed, driven, obsessive who used cosmetic surgery to grow younger looking as she grew older. Almost anything I could say about the insights in the movie could be construed as anti-semetic so I will stop there. It was painful to watch someone so narcissistic.  Of course the discussion went on and on.

The third was Errol Morris's masterpiece The Thin Blue Line and to say almost anything about the subject of the film is to sound prejudiced about the state of Texas and the culture of the South. This is about a murder in which an innocent man was convicted of shooting a cop and a psychopathic killer was allowed to run around free.  The whole story was told with a rather flat affect, the murder was shown (reenacted) several time always much the same. The many Texans--law enforcement, lawyers, judge, pseudo witnesses, friends of the real killer--were superimposed on Philip Glass's metallic and repetitive music. A long discussion afterwards of course.  I came home convinced as I have been at other times that although emancipation of the slaves was important and necessary, we should not have fought a horrible, bloody war to prevent secession. They should be a separate country as they have their own ethos that is diametrically opposite that of most of the North.  And Texas (Dallas and a small Texas town was the locale) should have become a separate country as it nearly did at one point. 

We'll see if I can handle this kind of overload for another 11 weeks. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A poem from another era

Okay, the photo is up-to-date (too bad that's not me), but the poem is old fashioned, the sort that used to be printed in a number of  popular interest magazines. It's not a deep or serious poem, it's not even a poem I'm  proud to have written but it almost wrote itself one day. A poetry writer, older than I, recently sent me his locally printed chapbook that contained a version of the title.  That set me off thinking about a gathering I had very recently been in where everyone was 60 or older, some considerably older and I witnessed an understanding and acceptance in the group toward one another that is reflected in the poem.  Those are my apologies; in the poetry class I take no one is allowed to make such self-derogatory remarks.  A good rule but I have a certain amount of pride and had to  say it.

Things Only Old Folks Know

The lost word or name is not a disaster
It doesn’t mean dementia or Alzheimers
It happens to everyone quite often.

That blank look and unresponsiveness is okay,
It isn’t snobbishness, anger or ignorance,
Our hearing isn’t what it used to be.

Sitting quietly as others leave the room
Isn’t disinterest or disagreement,
It’s just so damned hard to get out of the chair.

The shrug and sigh at news of scandal
Isn’t indifference, it’s boredom with the stupidity
And arrogance of celebrites, stars and politicians.

The shaking head with the downturned mouth
Isn’t sudden onset of Parkinsons’ disease,
We’re not surprised the world’s going to hell.

The lavish sprinkling of salt, pepper or hot sauce
Doesn’t mean the cooking’s lousy,
Our taste buds have been dying one by one.

What those young folks -- whippersnappers --
Don’t know has to be forgiven. They’ll learn
When they’re lucky enough to become one of the old folks.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Under the pergola

I wish I'd taken my camera yesterday.  Sitting under the pergola at the Chat House restaurant in Dennis with 7 other women a perfect way to spend a late summer afternoon.  That pergola, unlike the one in the builder's selections here, was against the buiding and covered with vines.  Beyond it was a perfect little patio with four or five tables.  We had our own tables and chairs, coffee and pastry or lunch for those who hadn't eaten.   Our gathering was not purposeless.

The sun was perfect, the shade was perfect, the group was entirely enjoyable -- we even began a discussion with the topic "fall" with a basket full of heavenly smelling grapes  that we could imagine had grown on that pergola over our heads (except, it's greenery was flowery and not grape-y).  This group  began meeting at the Chat House over a year ago and eventually  began calling ourselves "the Chatererers", of course that's a name that befits a gaggle of women.

But it is not  purposeless group.  Members were gathered (and new potential members arrive often) by Lynn who is people gatherer, a catalyst.  Everyone makes something, or several kinds of somehting. Lynn does collage, we have a couple of painters, a jewelry maker, a floral arranger, a weaver,  a pedagogue who can be  far more entertaining than that term suggests and me, usually writing something or  quiting something.  Our donor of grapes brought a painting as well. So we talk about our creations and just keep on talking and laughing and sharing and constantly getting to know one another better. At this age, major careers and family raising duties are behind us. We explore in a very relaxed way, who we have become ...  people who have found creative ways to express ourselves.  I find vivacity as well as wonderful relaxation under the pergola.