Sunday, September 13, 2015

Friends: preliminary thoughts

"Friend" -- always to me an ambiguous word. Is a friend more than an acquaintance? Is a friend one I never disagree with, and vice versa?  Are we soul mates, whatever that means?!

In grammar school it was one thing; same w/ high school. Friends were proximate, for starters. But what was the draw?

Not till college do I now consciously remember friends being intellectual mates, and then/therefore, "friends" -- e.g., those in the same group I was for communications/lit classes. No need to deny now: we were advanced/special/gifted (tho I didn't know that at the time). So in a sense, we also competed w/ one another, besides having fun together. . . One, Estelle, was special, at least for some time.

Then, while teaching and in state govt., first there was Pam, mainly my horseback riding friend;  a (very) few of those I worked w/ in Trenton (Debbie S., Barbara R.); and gradually I moved over to the artists I was trying to learn about via my PAA volunteering. Friends morphed into admired artists-- quite a difference, really. 

After that, freelance writing and auditing PU courses introduced me to many others -- Charlotte B., Gwendolyn, many others, however fleetingly, although some friends from earlier stayed the course -- Barbara, as a main one.

By then, I was looking for different things, or more than, fun from friends: similar interests, values; admiration, a chance to learn . . . Except for Maggi over many years, artists I wrote about came and went; I'd see them for a while, then not, then again. And many of them were a deal older than I -- was I looking for a mother-sub? 

Besides, so many artists are hopeless narcissists. Thus, Connie, and others, whose focus was inward. 

Others I wrote about, like Susie, also came and went, depending on life events and their or my needs. . . Gail is another -- but she's on the west coast!

Now, looking back, those who have hung in w/ me -- Barbara and Gwendolyn leading the pack -- were not the ones I would have bet on, or even hoped would do so. . . then. But oh, how I value them now, now when I'm more interested in character than much else. 

Friends. Much more to say on this; to follow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

End of pool season (flashback to 9-4-15)

Waxing sentimental about our pool season, which ended last Friday -- a season we concluded has encompassed four summers of going to the Princeton Community Park Pool for sun, warm water (mostly!), relaxing, forcible removal from home routines. No denying it's a time gobbler: up to 4 hours spent commuting, lapping, showering and re-dressing each pool day. But so worth it!

The 2 women I've been aware of for the last few weeks this summer: they're older, they wear 2-piece suits (inappropriately, I've thought), they sit in the sun on the pool deck, regularly applying sun screen, especially on their bare (midriffs? bellies? torsos?) as if they enjoy doing it, feeling it. Who knows what they think of while applying it -- remembering their youth and beauty? another time or place? a different person smoothing it on them?

When one of them -- the one who drives there in a small convertible and who looks the best, in her black sunglasses w/ her wavy blondish hair -- walks around, her belly curves out, while her shoulders curve in. That's when her age is so apparent. But to give her credit, she doesn't conceal her body, or refrain from walking around. I like to think she's reached this point and feels she earned the sensuous relaxation of these pool days.   

I also like to think she has enjoyed shared sensuousness, and maybe now her own touch on herself with that sunscreen is a kind of reminder of such good things earlier in her life.

And then this reality: some people look much better (fully) dressed than (virtually) undressed. 

So, adieu to the pool and all the people (including the many we nicknamed), and the fudge bars and the occasional fries -- but most of all, the healthful feeling of just being there, making our way through the water and feeling better for it. . . and being lucky enough for all that to happen.


Two in the Pool 

Like a tropical fish whose fluttery fins
undulate gracefully
next to me --
briefly --
before speeding far ahead,
the girl in the “medium” speed lane
leaves me, like a manatee,
moving deliberately
toward the end
of “slow.”


Sun Tracks

Easy to tell without looking up
when the sun moves behind a cloud:
Looking down, I see the water darken
while golden ripple lines on the bottom –
a wavy plaid of light-through-aqua –
fade away.



Labor Day & beyond

To a summer-lover, what's worse than Labor Day? Easy: the day after Labor Day, when no-more-summer actually begins. . . and runs for months, getting colder and darker as it goes. Ugh! For that summer-lover, next April will bring the first (brief, temporary, taunting) ray of hope -- for warmth, color, comfort!

That summer-lover is already planning indoor things to do: painting walls and furniture, and reading this or that; drinking tea; training a certain B & W cat to come or to sit; learning to play w/ both cats; baking . . . fighting depression from the inside!    

Winter's also a recipe-testing time. We found a number of "keeper" meals that way last winter. And in truth, it can be beautiful in a snowy way, or even a bleak and barren way. But it wears on one. And once Halloween, then Thanksgiving, have both come and gone, winter -- with all its discomforts and unending chill -- is here.

Which accounts for our looking forward to January's Caribbean visit, the 10 days in warmth and beauty in the midst of stark winter. . . to which we must return. But by then, it's only ("only"!) February and March before the magic and hope of April -- which is not "the cruellest month," but the  month before "the merry month of May"!