Last week, I was in a kid's clothing store in Brattleboro, Vt., and I saw this Abominable Snowman Winter Hat, and I bought it and sent it off to New York. I was hoping to bring it, but too much going on right now for a trip. This afternoon, Emma sent me a photo of Robin wearing the hat for the first time, and I loved her wicked and knowing smile. She was loving being the Abominable Baby.
Definitely my granddaughter. I can't go see her for the next few weeks due to Maria's India trip, but I will get down there soon after that. That mad gleam in her eye is especially telling. We will make some madness together.
I am exploring presenting my stories and life in three ways – images, video and voice. Above, the calming sound of a stream, below, a voice meditation on how we can let our ideas live in such an angry and divided world. About staying inside of ourselves and taking the time to think and gain self-respect. I call it The Peaceful Hour.
Our embrace of information technologies is an amazing thing, it sometimes brings us truth, and sometimes not, it sometimes brings connection, sometimes argument and cruelty. It is chaotic and distracting. It is difficult to think, ideas are so quickly snuffed out, overrun or choked to death. It is, I think, a difficult place for some ideas to live and grow.
We have become used to the idea that all ideas must be approved, agreed with, responded to, challenged, praised, altered. No idea like this gets to breathe, or often, to live. We are all talking, but who, exactly is listening?
I get up early and work hard all day, i write, take photos, care for the farm, shop, cook, blog, walk, pay bills, fuss about money. It is ferociously busy day and I am, like everyone else, also tuning into what we call the news to try and grasp what is happening to my country. This is a hard and painful way to think and seek out the truth.
This week, I began an late afternoon or early evening project I call The Peaceful Hour: Giving My Ideas A Chance To Live.
When the work is done, I gather the dogs to me, and sometimes I walk to the stream in our newly-accessible woods.
If I can, I sit in the meditation chair Ed Gulley brought, or I sit by the stream and listen to this ancient sound (recorded above this afternoon). I come home and meditate, then I read. I light candles, get out a bowl of popcorn, settle by the wood stove. It is a sweet and meaningful time already. The dogs pick it up, as good dogs will, and are silent.
Right now, I'm reading Orson Welles, Volume 3: One Man Band, By Simon Callow, and also The New Brooklyn: What It Takes To Bring A City Back by Kay Hymowitz. It is part of my lifelong search to understand the riddle of this great genius, his great rise and long fall.
My reading soothes me, fuels my imagination, takes me out of the fractured world. I have long been fascinated by the rise and fall of Welles, one of the most creative humans to ever grace our world. I have always wondered what happened to him, and I think I am figuring it out, this new volume helps confirm what I have always suspected and what Maria suggested to me as a joke.
In today's Peaceful Hour Meditation I talk about that book and about my own determination to let my ideas live. I am committing myself to listening, not talking, understanding, not arguing, thinking, not declaiming. I am a humanist, I believe we are all human beings, connected in various ways.
I am excited about this new and very creative way to tell my stories.
Maria is not leaving for India until Sunday but in a sense she is already gone. She was anxious about the trip for a week or so, then went over the details and moved beyond fear to excitement, which is where she is this week. Her head is in India, anticipating it, thinking about it, so anxious to get there.
it is quite appropriate to be anxious about a trip like that, but she has moved past that and we both are so excited we can hardly sleep. This trip seems like a miracle to us, an unbelievable opportunity.
It is an affirmation of her beloved potholders, her life, her evolution as an artist and a strong woman. In some ways, also an affirmation of the principles and ideas that govern our lives. We both believe strongly that one lives by example, not by argument. We spend little time arguing, we prefer to create and try to do good.
Maria leaves in four days, and that will surely leave a big hole in my life for a bit. It will be almost instantly filled by work, excitement and renewal. And the news of her trip and then, her return. I am also excited about the two weeks I will have to focus on my next book, a rare gift, a pure creative time. Cassandra Conety will start work Monday morning, freeing me of morning chores.
I will be at the keyboard before dawn on Monday, maybe even Sunday night. I think my next chapter will be "Into The Woods," the story of our re-claiming our own woods and also of what I have seen and learned about the divide between city and country people, who no longer seem to have much in common to unify them.
The farm is a great and continuous teacher. Today, the mood is excitement, pure and simple. I think it will stay that we. We are both excited about our lives.
When Red enters the Mansion, he first rushes into the office to get his hugs from the staff. Then he bounds down the hall to the Activity Room, to see who's in there. If there are squeals of welcome and delight, he goes in. Otherwise he bolts down to Connie's room, her door is always open. She is always happy to see Red.
Connie is a loving and generous spirit, it is hard for her to raise her head, so I was glad to get this portrait of her, she was smiling because Red went into the hallway to say hello to Barbara, who lives next door. Connie is very generous with Red, she is always urging me to take him to see other people who are down or sick or who miss their dogs. She loves to be with him, but she is selfless, she loves to see other people enjoy him as well.
She has made 14 pairs of mittens with the yarn some of you sent her, and is starting on shawls. She is friends with Maria, and she says she will miss Maria when she goes to India this coming Sunday. Me too, I said, we'll have to keep one another company.
Red and I have been invited to dinner at the Mansion next Wednesday, we are both looking forward to it. They want to take care of me while Maria is away. I don't have the heart to tell them Maria rarely, if ever, cooks. It will be fun. Connie got five letters yesterday for Valentine's Day and they were set on a stand by her chair, she reads them one at a time, over the day.
Thanks for sending them. Connie is a strong spirit at the Mansion, and a generous one. The residents try very hard to take care of one another.
If you wish, you can write to Connie c/o The Mansion, 11 S.Union Street, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.