The unexpected

I woke this morning after battling four poisonous snakes in my dreams all night.

And I was in a sour and dour mood.

The rain last night was welcome, but this morning’s grey mist and darkening sky weren’t so.

I was disappointed in myself for some things, and disappointed in others for other things.

Then I heard that a wonderful writer had died last night, far too young, from that awful dreaded beast: cancer.

I really did start the day in tears (how melodramatic, I know).

But then I caught a slow groove.

I talked to my sister, and we made plans for a Toronto reunion coming soon.

I confessed my fears to M and he didn’t scoff. He told me some things I needed to hear, most particularly that he was behind me, no matter what.

In the car, H and I belted out a favorite old tune on the way into town.

In town, I discovered a new place to work, where the seats are comfortable and they sell baked goods and strong iced tea.

When I listened to the rebroadcast of the Fresh Air interview with the writer we had lost, I heard his voice, and he made me laugh. I didn’t expect to laugh today.

Then he recited an Elizabeth Bishop poem I ought to have known, but didn’t, and now I’m grateful I know it and will always connect it to his voice.

M sent me a beautiful song by one of our favorites singers, a song that we somehow had never heard before.

Little by little, today has revealed the unexpected to me. Ordinary, small gestures and moments that have changed the morning’s howl and growl to a softer feel. A bit bewildering, but entirely welcome.

Letter To N.Y.

For Louise Crane

In your next letter I wish you’d say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays and after the plays
what other pleasures you’re pursuing:

taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,

and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you’re in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,

and most of the jokes you just can’t catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so teribly late,

and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.

–Wheat, not oats, dear. I’m afraid
if it’s wheat it’s none of your sowing,
nevertheless I’d like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.

-Elizabeth Bishop


  1. Pamela says:

    Nice post. I heard that old interview with David, too. I was laughing out loud. Such a distinctive voice he had.

  2. nancyo says:

    Good for you to stay open to those small, course-changing events which [that?] presented themselves as the day progressed!

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