I'm not a Jew, but this might be a good day to atone.
Today might possibly be the first day of fall. The heatwave is over and the temperatures came down ten degrees at least, which makes it still 90 in the Valley, but tonight, at seven o'clock it's cool out and in my short-sleeved dress it's the first time I've felt that lovely nip that reminds you of things like warm apple cider and stewed lamb shanks. The poor garden has been under siege with all this heat and the mandatory water-rationing, that I topped it up early this morning, at about six, before anyone else was up and the whole thing was drenched by the sprinklers producing that lovely smell, that cold, damp earthy smell which we've missed.
There's a strange harmony at home. It's Yom Kipper, the Jewish day of atonement and so the streets are deserted and school is out in Los Angeles. I had my car serviced today. I always drive around with the light on (it says MAINTENANCE REQUIRED in large orange letters) for weeks after it should go in, and feel guilty about it but do nothing, but this morning at the Maharishi's suggestion "We have to leave NOW," we went. The car was ready in under two hours. Miraculous for Los Angeles, where every westside liberal drives a Prius. (The car literally screams "I voted for Obama," bumper stickers notwithstanding.) So I got to tick the self-satisfied box because one less thing to worry about.
W & I write together twice a week; we sit in a room across a table from each other and write separately. Her dog comes and hangs out with the greater and lesser spotteds. She's a Tibetan Mastiff, very old and very regal, and beautiful too. W is English and writes so exquisitely that it makes me cry. She reads things out loud to me if I'm lucky and I'm filled with gratitude and humility and feel a bit silly sniffling away at her words. She's English. Did I say that? We have the same references, the same things we miss, the same things we think silly about LA & we love it here too (when I'm not pining for the green fields of the Virginia horse farm). W is elegant and funny and wears lovely old panama hats with bent brims. She makes rhubarb and strawberry pies and knows about movies and plays. She brings me books of poetry by amazing authors like Brian Andreas, people I haven't heard about before. And while we write the dogs lay about like slouchy louches, in the sun, pretending not to care about each other.
Minky has a cold and has been wondering around her boxers and a t-shirt and an old orange sweatshirt of mine with LIFE NATURE LOVE emblazoned on the back. I forced her to sleep this afternoon, by taking away her laptop, and she complained bitterly but has slept for three hours.
The boy/man is 19 and he comes with me at lunchtime to get Japanese noodle soup for our sick patient. School is out for the Jewish holiday. He doesn't wear shoes and stays in the car while I run in to pick up our order. On the way home he makes up noises for each car we pass, a high toot for a small car, a deep snort for a big truck. We laugh idiotically. He shares my indignation for enormous vehicles and dislikes it when people try to snake around me on Crescent Heights. "Okay, Mamma, when the light turns, you gotta gun it, okay?" I oblige happily.
And so it's quiet and the windows and doors are open and there's a chill in the air and the dogs are by my feet and I've time to reflect on the last year. There is never enough gratitude. I am sorry for everyone I've hurt and for everything I've misunderstood or misconstrued. I'm sorry for not being a better wife, for not being a more patient mother. I'm sorry for bitching, for being negative, for not saying "Yes." (Did you know that the key to happiness may just be saying "Yes" more, instead of "No.") I am so grateful for my lovely family, my little house, the animals that we live with, the trees in the garden, the great blue skies. I am grateful for my lovely friends, all of whom support me even when I'm a big ninny or a depressed fool. And for my lovely Mamma who now greets me with a smile on Skype in the morning. And for my lovely, lovely father-in-law, who should have his own sitcom (a cross between Weeds, Two and a Half Men and Nip/Tuck -- more on that later) and lives life to the full, despite the crap he's going through. (Mrs L has something lovely to say about that here -- how about that for a good friend).
And thank you God, notion of God, God-in-Nature, Omniscient/Benevolent Being, Take-My-Breath-Away-Sunsets, Beauty in the World, for buoying me and those I love along. I'm still trying to figure it out, but it's a humbling, bumbling experience.