Thursday, June 30, 2016
June 30, 2016
Rushing around to get things prepared for the Denver trip. I was away for, maybe, two hours, and when I returned . . . I didn’t know what I was seeing. My front gardens had been cut to the ground. Bare ground. The plants were gone. Every one of my tree peonies, most of my herbacious peonies, two of three native hibiscus, the whole stand of wood poppy, a whole stand of hellebore, all my turtleheads, all my lupine, lilies and dahlias. Gone. Gone. Gone. I thought it was vandalism until I realized the lawn had been mowed (and the pond covered in grass) so I called Nick–twice within a minute– to tell him what his crew had done. I spent the time it took him to drive from Leicester walking through the rooms of the house howling like an animal. It is so gratuitous. Yes, I know cities are bombed, airports are attacked, civilizations are ground into dust, but I had relied on the very smallness of my joys to keep them from the onslaught. I have said as many times as I could just the grass. Nothing else. How hard was that to understand? When Nick got here (with the two culprits who had done it) we figured out that the request to cut down the peonies at another house on Lakeshore had been translated to my house. They didn’t see how I cared for and tended them? Why in the name of the dark gods would I want them cut down? The damage to the other plants resulted from the workers’ not knowing what they were doing. Everything with a deeply toothed leaf went. But also the wood poppies and the hellebores and turtleheads and– well, I have to stop. Why do you go into yard work if you don’t know one plant from another? In the end, the oafs were SO sorry and SO apologetic and SO willing to do anything to make it up, that I had just to shut my mouth. This did not relieve my fury, simply made it impossible to channel. I felt like God for a moment, confronted by unintended catastrophes, blameless atrocities. Nothing to do but shut up and go one. Unlike God, I have my own memories of stupid things I have done that people let me get over. So. Nick is of the opinion that everything will come back. I don’t doubt that most will, but the month is dry and I am leaving tomorrow, and it is possible the roots will not get over the shock. Also, the tree peonies will not for another decade get their growth back. I stood over the bare bed with my hose, watering, feeling like Yavanna weeping over the ruin of the Two Trees. Unfortunately, I handle extreme stress by sleeping. I think I need a nap, and nothing that should be done is.
As I watered the unruined part of my ruined garden, watched a great limb fall from my former sweetgum into my former backyard. Not a breeze.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
June 29, 2016
Good rehearsal last night, though I made, and will continue to opening night to make, gaping mistakes. In all my theater experience I have never had a lead in a musical before. It’s very different from the relative freedom and expansiveness of straight acting, where you don’t have to count the beats.
Enormous swollen leg almost ripped through my suit pants.
Rose, worked on the tiger play, went, on a whim, to the Nature Center. Two girls were anxious that I pet a female box turtle, then wash my hands afterward. Wanted to see Puma concolor, and saw it. The black bear was unexpectedly enormous. As I exited I ran into Sy Safranski. We chatted. Without remembering who he was at first, I marked him from the crowd because his wife was hanging on him and he was surrounded by a cloud of loving females, from wife to granddaughters. He is a kind and happy man, and so universally beloved. After we parted, I walked to my car contemplating why one person is universally beloved and another not, all outward things being, apparently, equivalent. Bought a T-shirt and a lemonade. Napped. Sit in the fan now, writing in the ambiguous summer hush before evening.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
June 28, 2016
The weekend was turbulent emotionally partially because I had done badly at the Thursday rehearsal and had a long time to mull that over. I didn’t know WHY I had done badly, actually. But, I listened intently to all the recordings, studied the music, followed Daniel’s repeated suggestion “slow down,” and last night I was not the weak spot, at all. Blessed relief. Had fun again, though at the end of the rehearsal my legs were so swollen I could hardly walk. Part of the reason I had done poorly–at least the speeding-up part– was that I couldn’t hear the keyboard. All the amplifiers and such were up last night, and I could. Also, what the band is playing bears no necessary resemblance to what’s written in the score. One adjusts. Had a handmic in my hand for the first time in my life. It felt pretty natural, actually. Maybe even a little empowering. I sound like rolling thunder to myself, but I suppose the sound booth has that under control.
Y is merry and lighthearted, which keeps my emotions from being more devastating than they need to be.
Did less well at our last-before-the festival Cantaria rehearsal than I would have wished. Studying to do there.
Blessed rain last night. Not enough for the month, but enough for the night.
Steaming ahead on the tiger play. Go to High Five, where they call me by name now, drink my coffee and write a scene.
Political catastrophe all around– Brexit (I haven’t looked at my portfolio in five days) and that Stalinist jackass Apodocca ramming a bill through NC legislature the ONLY purpose for which is trying to elect a Republican in Asheville. No gun control bill so many years after Columbine, but meddling with the will of the people can happen overnight. Evil alone has oil for every wheel, rolls without friction, and arrives on time. I hiss “I hate you” at the sky about every ten minutes, and the fact that this response is fully provoked does not make it pleasanter.
Turbulent rest of the day. Tomorrow, a little time for rest before Denver and, returning, production week.
I go on and on as though each moment were not being lived at the edge of a precipice.
June 27, 2016
Hope that never becomes the thing hoped for is the most exhausting thing in the world.
Full recovery reconfirmed– did a weight session that put me back to the level I was six months ago. Even the inflammation in my joints seems to be, largely, in remission.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
Have to fight off weeping during Judas’s death song. It’s probably Webber’s high point, emotionally. But it goes beyond that. It is a summarizing truth that I feel in the marrow. You run full speed down the road to Jerusalem, and you find yourself at the gates of Babylon, not knowing how. I have stood for God, all the years of understanding, then some hour I come to consciousness realizing I am in truth angry, squalid, secretive, plotting, vengeful, envious, petty, faithless, dark as night, and I did not mean that at all. Not at all. I meant to be simple as a ray of light. I don’t know how it happened. One throws oneself face down on stone and waits for morning.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
June 25, 2016
Have been sunk financially by a throng of British rednecks. Bad cess to them all.
The day is nine hours from its end, and yet I have filled it, and I am happy with that. Painted quite well at the studio, commiserated with Stephen, who taught me the term “malicious narcissist” Was it that? Some kind of narcissist. The one who would rather quarrel than not be the center of attention. The one who goes from room to room making herself sure of her reception. The one who recognizes no response but “yes,” and if it’s not yes, goes to war. Celia is one. I am not. Moved on to High Five where I wrote another scene for my tiger play. The Handsomest Man in Asheville walked in and I looked at him. Watered the garden. Ate the first peach off my tree. There were peaches last year but somebody stole them. I have three peaches, and the one I ate was brown in places (I will not be spraying, so they’ll always have some disease or other) but quite delicious. The flesh is paler than they are in the store, or maybe it is the variety. Sat under my silver maple listening to the wind chimes and reading Cervantes. I did what I didn’t do in 24 years at 62– I slept in my own back yard. Practiced music. Now typing in the newly written scene. The fan hums against my ear. If I could have a week of days like this--
Friday, June 24, 2016
June 24, 2016
Flabbergasted that the UK voted to leave the European Union. It’s a terrible decision, with no material benefit except to allow a feeling, “Britishness,” that some people missed. Same people here will vote for Trump– shows the power perception has over fact. Stocks are going to take a dive today.
Hoo-ha at the studio, Celia claiming to be bullied by Stephen. Celia is an obnoxious, almost impossible neighbor. I time my visits to the studio when I suppose she won't be there, but am not always successful. There have been times when I had to stop painting and leave because of her: she is loud, her voice is loud, her music is loud (and hideous); she is a deeply inconsiderate dog owner, closing them in the studio while she goes about other business, where they bark and bark. It's hardly better when she's there, for they bark and she yells at them, and then they bark, and then she yells, and there is no end to it. I have not heard Stephen and Celia interact, but if my strategy were simply not to leave, I suspect our interaction would be similar. I don't think Stephen is being cruel; I think he's struggling to keep the Library a place where someone can get some work done. In any case, Celia’s cry that she is being “bullied” points to why I am typically suspicious when someone claims to have been bullied. Never in my experience –I emphasize In My Experience– has the “bullying” been more than a legitimate response to their own bad behavior, which they forgot, or never noticed on their own. It is a strategy to win points, to win an argument rather than the outcry of a wounded spirit. I suppose some people really are legitimately bullied. Not this time.
Absurdly turned-on by the shapely masculinity at rehearsal. Somebody should write a play–
I think I heard nine or ten raindrops in the night. . . .
Thursday, June 23, 2016
June 23, 2016
Lazy day. Did some major hauling of objects made possible by the restoration of my strength. Brief visit to the studio, to finish one unfinished project. Watered the garden. Studied my songs, that went so badly Tuesday night. Wondering how to order my days better than I seem to have done. Reached out to Y, who reached back in the most tentative of ways. Enough, though. The 23rd of each month seems propitious to me.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
June 22, 2016
Not yet 10 AM and I feel hugely accomplished. The big news is that I ran a mile on the elliptical at the Racquet Club without growing faint, without even breathing any harder than I ought, which means I am recovered from the shadow of anemia. Sat down in the café afterwards and began Don Quixote, which I assigned for my fall fiction class. Ten pages in I was weeping– yes, it was funny, but I wasn’t weeping over that, but rather because it was perfect and beautiful, and that kind of beauty affects me like grief. I am Don Quixote, of course, which gives an additional blessing, which is perspective. The life of absurdity is rather dearer and sweeter than one might have thought. It also allows others the opportunity for patience and charity.
Watered the gasping garden. Fed the gold streaks in the water. Turned the hose on a female towhee, who wanted it, who stood in the stream and shook her feathers.
Did badly at rehearsal last night. My tendency to rush became a sort of tidal wave.
Oh, speaking of absurdity, the great and hilarious one is that on the ride back from Waynesville I admitted to myself that I had fallen in love, grievously, catastrophically, like a boy of twenty, like a river swollen with hurricanes, like a burning city. It is altogether ludicrous and, for the moment, altogether outside of my control. God must be slapping his knee and holding his gut. He is the perfect man–for me– or would have been when the doors were yet open: dark Irish, beautiful in the eyes, brooding and kind in the soul, stunning to look at, friendly and loving, artlessly poetic and so far from the appropriate that even the kindly angels must laugh: thirty years too young, newly wed to a beautiful wife. . . I am trying to make this seem funny–and it is–but I wept the forty minutes through the mountains and then wept myself to sleep, for the hopeless absurdity, when after all this time I thought I had been hopeless and absurd often enough and grievously enough to satisfy the Lord. Who is, apparently, insatiable. It is not without its sweetness, but neither is a battlefield amid which grows one rose.
So of course I begin Don Quixote on that very morning.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
June 21, 2016
Handsome boys in the cast, which is a pleasure. One is an Irishman named, improbably, Y. I knew he is a Dubliner by his accent and subtleties of his demeanor, and we know a lot of the same places in Dublin. We talked about THE Yeats. He said, “Oh, he was a great man and all, but a pervert.” Me: “How was he a pervert?’ Him: “He stalked this one woman for forty years and then married her daughter.” I set him straight on that. Amazing the bits of information we carry around with us, about half of it wrong. I wonder if Google and the immediate availability of, at least, data, if not truth, helps with that. Yates’ favorite painting is JB Yeats’ The Ring.
Visited DJ, saw my old backyard at 62 grown into a jungle, the trees I had planted or allowed grown spindly and tall with the competing shade. I sort of like it, actually. White moons of the hydrangeas I planted. The volunteer pine that I allowed from a sapling as high now as my collarbone.
Cut the seed wands of the lupines and spread them over the bit of derelict land between the two streets. I have to fight the lupine off from taking over in my garden; they could take over there and everyone would be the happier.
June 20, 2016
Blocking rehearsal. I am popular in this show. Enjoying it. Even the kids talk to me. Drove home from Waynesville under the round pale golden solstice moon. Parallel to the life I lead visibly is a whole world of symbols, by which I live intimately but of which I almost never speak. Round pale golden solstice moon.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Sunday, June 19, 2016
June 18, 2016
Went back to the studio and was happy. The drought is so long-lasting that I need to make the rounds with the hose every day. The wilty ones get it twice a day. Still smarting from the ruin of my wild garden. Villages are put to the torch; civilizations crumble, and I mourn for my Queen Ann’s lace. Benefit at Avenue M last night for the victims of the Orlando massacre.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
June 17, 2016
Finished revision of LT. Indoors most of the day, watching clouds form and reform through the tiny study window.
The mowers were berserk this time, cutting growth at the corners, taking a wild ride in the wild garden off the side of the drive, where they have never mowed before, where I didn’t want them to mow. It was my meadow. Nor did they even mow it all, as they would if they thought they were supposed to, but like vandals, took a few swipes and left the rest. Inexplicably sorrowful.
Bob Rufa has died, he who was unfailingly kind to me, respectful of my gifts, interested in what I was doing. He was the first to hire me to do reviews for MountainXpress. At times like this you say, “But he just Facebooked me a couple of days ago,”which is quite true. I know nothing of the details. May it have been swift and merciful.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
June 15, 2016
Sultry day. Tiny rain last night will get the garden through to the tiny rain expected tonight. The sky darkens hopefully.
At rehearsal last night, my part was probably the least well memorized of anybody’s, but I made it through.
All the dates this week are palindromes. 6/15/16
MAHEC yesterday, refinement of my understanding of the endoscopy report: bleeding ulcers beside the hiatal hernia caused the anemia. They’re not bleeding now. The terrible muscle cramps are diminishing, too. I don’t want to say “gone” for that would tempt them back.
Lunch and gossip with Kermit and DJ.
Cyrus the Golden swam into the filter. This gave me the opportunity to lift him out and restore him to the pond. He was warm and soft, like wet silk.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
June 14, 2016
Vigil at O.Henry’s last night. Regretted not being able to be there because of rehearsal. Solidarity with the people of Orlando. I want to write out in some resonant sentence my solution to the problem, but I draw a blank. I feel guns are most of the answer, for a person even in deep rage without a gun does no harm except to himself. But what causes the rage? How could gay people have offended their murderer REALLY? “Since intellectual hatred is the worst, let her think all opinion is accursed.” I found myself searching Islam for the root of hatred, until I came to my senses. Most Muslims are no more to be blamed for ISIL than I for the Crusades. Exhausting. A dead drain of the emotions. Take away the guns. At least the means would be lacking, even if the desire of murder would remain.
Doing well in JCS rehearsals. This surprises me a little, as I am not naturally attuned to the musical. Jesus and Judas both went to NKU, and were delighted when I told them that NKU had done my play Night, Sleep, and the Dreams of Lovers, though of course before their time. I was putting chairs away after rehearsal, when someone said, “Look, the old man is putting chairs away while you just sit there.” I thought she was joking, but four or five boys jumped up and finished for me. Sigh. I do feel tough and able, though, since there’s some iron back in my blood.
June 13, 2016
WCQS broadcasts my birthday greeting for Yeats. Planted one more bush honeysuckle, one more yucca, thinking I will let the soil rest for a while. Productive day. Planned the Fall’s classes, turned in book orders, the book order guy assuring me I was nowhere near the last.
Monday, June 13, 2016
June 12, 2016
Fifty slaughtered in a nightclub in Orlando. Guns acquired “legally.” All arguments against gun control are specious, brutal, and criminal. Guns kill people. Period. The end. No counter-argument is possible. Support for the NRA should be an immediate disqualification for any candidate. The one argument that has merit– that we may need to defend ourselves from the government–may be attractive in the abstract, but under any conceivable situation we will be so brutally outgunned that our little arsenals wouldn’t matter. In the meantime, no “good guy” with a gun has ever stopped mass slaughter. One sputters and splutters with rage. No argument seems coherent just now. Much gardening. Rehearsal, then the Tonys, which were all about The Musical.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
June 11, 2016
Summer days blending into one another– you have to look at the computer to be sure what day it is. Hot and misty blue. Though determined not to, I ended up at the nursery where I bought many plants, joe-pye and St. John’s wort and catmint, etc, and got them into the ground before the great heat rolled over the land.
Endoscopy and colonoscopy yesterday– except for the guzzling of the nasty fluid, effortless on my part. I was right in assuming there would be no great revelation–that it was essentially unnecessary-- but there was some information useful to have. I know I have a hiatal hernia, because it used to cause murderous reflux. But since what the doctor calls “behavior modification” ended the reflux, I forgot about it. But there it is, and the wisdom of the test is that that’s what caused the anemia, and probably what caused it 40 years ago. The doctor advised me not to bother with it unless something happens that cannot be cured, as the anemia has been with iron pills. So, status quo more or less restored, though a little better informed. This means I can have my gout medicine back, since stomach irritation by anti-inflammatories was not the culprit.
When I was unconscious I had an odd sensation– I thought I was perceiving unconsciousness rather than simply being unconsciousness. “I am alert and there is nothing to see or feel” as opposed to “I am not awake.” Was I really perceiving “nothing,” or was that a sensation put together upon “waking’?
As I stood at the edge of the pond in late afternoon, when every inch of it is illuminated to the bottom, I saw a wondrous sight. Minos the musk turtle is still there. He detached from a clump of waterlily and dived down into a crack between rocks. He must have been there the whole time, practicing the most extraordinary stealth. Or perhaps he wanders away into the little woods and come back when he needs to soak and hide. I don’t know, but I rejoiced to see him there. His ability to remain invisible is all but supernatural, though I do never touch the tangle of lilies where he must abide in what he considers safety.
The back yard quickens with the languid fluttering of bluebirds. They seem hardly willing to be bothered to flap their wings.
Friday, June 10, 2016
June 9, 2016
Bluebirds bathing in the shallows of my pond. Bluebirds snatching red berries from the bush honeysuckle removal of the fence uncovered. Blessed, blessed all around. At one point seven species were bathing at once. Blessed.
Drinking that nasty gallon to prepare for tomorrow’s -oscopies.
Good rehearsal at Biltmore Methodist. People seem happy to have me in the group. I should stop wondering why.
Finished The Lexington Tract.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
June 8, 2016
Most perfect of days, blank, flawless, radiant azure, without a single blemish from dawn to dusk. The air dry and cool enough that you can sit in the sun and not sweat. Did some gardening, buying orphaned plants from the nurseries and finding a place for them. Watering. Hard work on my novel. Gout persistent, insistent, but not quite agonizing.
Danny Rife is dead– a vivid character from high school. Leukemia, it seemed to be.
Phil Walker is dead– I remember him as Father Humanities, who presided over the program when I started teaching in it. He built and the Boy destroyed, and so everything comes full circle. UNCA cannot stand wildly successful programs. They are trimmed experimentally until whatever gave them brilliance before is lost, or deliberately, because someone in the administration has developed a complex about them. Arts and Ideas was brilliant at the outset, and we couldn’t stand that, so now the random sections are just as good as their instructors, and only that. MLA was brilliant for a while, until one of our administrators made sure it would sink into irrelevance. Humanities was exemplary for a long time, decades, but the effort to keep it “special” was too great, and a self-protective mediocrity was appointed to ride it to the ground. We still get brilliant institutional ratings from the magazines because the faculty resists the call to mediocrity and keeps on teaching. I don’t know whether I’m happy to be near retirement or wish I had another decade to fight. Never guessed I would have to fight until it was almost too late. You believe that people cling to and fight for the good, reflexively, and you yourself do not have to be watchful every second, but that is not the case.
Good rehearsal last night. Was Ancient-Marinered-ed by a retired Methodist minister who is moving to Lumberton in July, and wanting JCS to be his farewell to the theater. Old time Methodist liberal, he must have had his struggle in the southlands. Upright. The Good and Faithful Servant.
Began to recognize cast members from other shows.
I have lived to see a black president and, I believe, a female one. Who would have foreseen that?
Evening before me.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
June 7, 2016
Made the drive to Waynesville and finally began rehearsal for JCS. The chorus is huge (and we weren’t all there) The director blew me kisses after I had sung Caiaphas; I guess they’d despaired of getting anyone with the right range. Jesus and Judas are pretty blond strato-tenors with the requisite screaming ability (screaming is an accepted tradition for both characters). I’m singing “bass” in the chorus, too, but by bass they seem to mean high baritone/second tenor. I have F’s in my solos– high F’s– as well as the defining low F’s. Thank God screaming is in the tradition. The upshot of the evening was that I had fun. Trying to remember the last time I had fun at a rehearsal.
The show itself is interwoven into my past. My sister and father and I were walking through Penny’s at Chapel Hill forty years ago when we passed a display of Jesus Christ, Superstar albums. My sister said, “I’d really like to have one of those.” Father bought it for her, then and there. You’d have to be me or my sister to understand how flabbergasting that gesture was. A while later, I was cast as Caiaphas in Lynda Sarver’s summer production for Oak Hill Presbyterian, but had to drop out when I took up my assistantship at Syracuse. Some vast broken circle is closing up, beginning to roll.
Blue agate of a summer day.
June 6, 2016
The doctors called and I have an appointment for a couple of -oscopies on Friday. Good work-out and good writing. I still fall dead asleep in the middle of the day, and when I awake, all that I accomplished in the morning–which is most of what I will accomplish in a day– seems dim and distant.
The doctors called and I have an appointment for a couple of -oscopies on Friday. Good work-out and good writing. I still fall dead asleep in the middle of the day, and when I awake, all that I accomplished in the morning–which is most of what I will accomplish in a day– seems dim and distant.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
June 5, 2016
Gentle rain. Home after rehearsal. I don’t think rehearsal is a good time to work on memorization, but I’m not running things.
Speaking of rehearsal, I was cast as Caiaphas in Jesus Christ, Superstar at HART not only without auditioning for it, but without being told that it had happened. Missed the first week of rehearsal before everything was cleared up. Miraculously, the Denver trip does not conflict fatally, and I can feel my recovery far enough along to sustain a new round of rehearsals. Friday night was very telling, for I was nearly as sick as one could be, and Saturday morning quite well enough to go on. Was it a massive infection finally turned? I don’t know. But tonight I could sing the sustained notes effortlessly, and I climb to my study with only the gout reporting peevishly in.
The white heron iris took four year to bloom, but they are blooming tonight looking–yes, like a white heron in flight. I planted them across the street at 62, moved them over, and their third summer here they have come forth in glory. I’m sure this is supposed to be a lesson to me.
I could finish Lexington Tract tonight if I were diligent. I don’t think I will be diligent.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
June 4, 2016
Left the house yesterday only to putter in the garden, and then to see Brief Encounters at the Magnetic. I worked on the book all day, I want to say, but the truth is I slept all day and worked on the book when I was not doing that. I was sick at a level that made activity difficult, a truth I hid from myself by avoiding activity. Going to the theater, though, was an activity, and, boy, was I sick the whole time. It was painful to sit and almost impossible to stand once I had been sitting. It was difficult to sustain conversation with the pretty girl sitting next to me, who had read for Washington Place. I have never felt such pain in my knees (except that one time when I was crippled) and as I sat I felt gout awakening in my toes, after more than a year underground. There was great tenderness above both knees, which I interpreted as infection that had settled into the tissue. A perfect storm of discomfort. As I sat watching the plays, I kneaded the soreness, and felt the infection oozing out as a remarkable heat. This, too, was sickening. I almost literally could not walk to the car (though I did) and almost literally could not get out of it in my own yard. There was a DWI patrol on Lyman Street, and I warned them telepathically, “don’t you dare stop me,” and they didn’t. Filled my mouth was pills and laid myself down to dead sleep. I feel better now. The hangover-y feeling is from the pills. But my knees work and the infection is either gone or not heavily localized, and the gout is a ghost, of which I was reminded when I stubbed my toe on the stairs. Back to the theater: there were five plays, all of them by local people. Two of them were awful; one was OK; one was good; one was a masterpiece. Are those acceptable proportions? The mistake most made in a one-act (at least around here) is to think of it as a big sketch. Near the end I wanted to scream, “Oh, for God’s sake shut up and get off the stage.” Someday I will, but only when I’m sure it’s the play at fault, and not my bewildering variety of afflictions.
I must have planted black lilies, for a row of them bursts into bloom out back.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
June 2, 2016
Visited by bears last night, I think, for the hummingbird feeders were demolished and the blooming water iris overturned in the pond. Went to the antique store in the old Arts Center, where I remembered actors and plays. Sad. Things pass and change when sometimes they should not. I identified JS and Anna Magdalena Bach in prints for the owner. Bought Chinese incense bowls. Churning ahead on The Lexington Tract. Like a bully child on a playground, God has tripped me at every turn. I hope it has at least been funny.
June 1, 2016
Decided to test the hemoglobin, so I went to the Arboretum. How beautiful everything was there! One forgets the comfort of the simple laying of green upon green, the flowers doubling themselves in still water. Walked, then sat in a rocking chair and watched the ten or twelve feet of grass in front of me. Birds called in the near trees. It was almost impossible to keep awake. A blue tailed skink patrolled the edge of the pavement, climbed into a great planter of foliage, moving among the little flowers like a dinosaur in some great forest. As for the blood, it did fine. I reckon I’m about half way back to fighting prime.