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Wednesday, January 7, 2009


STARTLING winds today; they came in hurricane-like gusts although the sun shone down like summer. The chair on the deck fell toward the river but I took advantage of those winds; I washed and hung on the clothesline a king size sheet and an overlarge bedspread. They never hung straight but flapped like flags and dried in an hour. Beyond the clothesline, the Suwannee's waters rushed backwards in the winds.

THE DEER TRACKS I saw yesterday are gone; somebody from the county road department scraped the far section of River Road this morning. Across the way my shooting neighbor let loose a volley that was mercifully short, appropriate I suppose for my day of paperwork that reached all the way back to October. Where does it come from? Every citizen needs a secretary. However, I do have mail to look forward to because my friend Merri McKenzie told me today she has written me a note, a snail mail note, that great and disappearing luxury.

I READ A DREADFUL, long opinion piece predicting everything but blood in the streets for 2009; actually, maybe a little of that in addition to a sharp correction in luxuries and real misfortune at every level. My response? I'm implementing tea parties, time outs for my friends and me. I can't solve the global, national, or even the state and countywide crises, but I can make tea and serve cookies and bring together lovely people who mean so much to me. And I can hope that while we are together we won't even think of the deprivations to come.

TIME TO TURN OFF THE PUCCINI Arias CD and dream of good things. The huge white blossoms of the large hydrangea I bought in place of a Christmas tree still dominate the room in their gorgeous pot from Mississippi.

BETWEEN THE HANGINGS of laundry and the shuffling of paperwork today, I found time to finalize a poetry workshop description (WRITE FROM THE HEART) we may offer at Stephen Foster Folklife State Park (the actual title's longer than that but this suffices if you want to check out our programs, events, and workshops online). SF Park is a world unto itself; come visit. Come for a First Saturday or check the web for other offerings.Buy gifts made by Suwannee Valley residents.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009


At river, on deck, nearly 6:00 p.m. Light leaking from the east; the only brightness shines above the tree line on the west. A wind comes, warning of a weather change, maybe rain tomorrow on these white banks with brown weeds; river so low we begin to wonder just how low it may get. Yet the pink samara--winged seed pods--I noticed earlier today have pinkened the branches of the maple trees with yet another reminder: spring's rains that, after hurricane season, are the likeliest time of year for flooding. Still, only moments ago I tamped the last of my forced grape hyacinth bulbs into the ground between the yellow pansies on the house’s south side. I do this with bare fingers because there is, I swear, something restorative about digging in the dirt, something that means more to me than the condition of my nails, a sense of connection totally foreign to any concern with manicures.

With dirty hands I sit on the deck watching my world turn silver. The woods are already dark, insects chirr, only the white strip of river beach and the sky above the trees on the west hold any light at all. And this white page in my notebook; I can still see its lines.

I twist around, look east, see the moon, a golden bulge beyond the halfway mark, its unfinished edge toward the east. The chirring grows; the volume’s up. Through the dark spiking fronds of the palmetto at my side I see water lit by the moon. Dark, unmoving, this silvered spot mirrors the thin black arms of moss-filled trees on the opposite bank.

It takes so little to feed me. Only the light and sound of the world, this still perceptible bit of wildness. Tonight's first star appears through the branches of the water oak overhead. The oak’s branches and those of the pine and black gum wobble against a gray sky with fast-moving clouds. I want to live forever.