tucked in for the night…

by bam

dispatch from 02139 (in which we come in from the cold, light the lamps, and await a river of great good company here in new england, on the brink of the feast of the pilgrim et al)…

already i’m whispering my thank you’s.

oh, of course, it’s not yet the great feast of turkey and brussels sprouts. though, come to think of it, i might be the only one in all the land who celebrates the lowly petit chou fleur, sometimes, oddly, translated not to “little cabbage,” but something more akin to “my little darling.”

and for the record: next time anyone puckers up and calls me a little cabbage, i just might up and pinch ’em in the behind. or the apple dumpling, as a dear kindergarten-teacher friend of mine insists one’s bum be called.

egad, here we are a mere three paragraphs in, and already we’re over-tumbling the market basket, spilling fruit-and-vegetable metaphors with no restraint. and while we’re at it, we’re demonstrating how very swiftly we disassemble our thoughts here, watch them scatter like thistle seed to the winds.

the point is, this year’s long list of merci beaucoups promises to pack quite a wallop. thus, i’ve been gathering steam, and preambling already.

might be simply that this week is supremely better than the blurry one that came just before it, the one when at any minute i was aiming to hoist a battle-worn white flag, dial t-i-c-k-e-t-2-h-o-m-e and hightail it out of this intellectual — and virus-riddled — hotbed.

ah, but the flu flew away, the fever broke. the twisty knot of sinew and sore in my down-low back, well, it up and dissolved (er, mostly it did), and i found myself skipping along the cobbled cambridge lanes counting the days till the end of the academic semester, which astonishingly is just round the bend. (meaning i’ll soon be able to roll out of bed, and steal a book from the shelf, for no reason other than its title — or heck, the juicy splash on its cover — intrigues me.)

but even better than that, i’ve been eyeing this weekend with flat-out delight, for a river of great good folk are due to arrive in round after round of cars, buses, aeroplanes and trains.

first up is the boy who’s riding a mere two hours home from his down-the-road college, for at least a few days holed up here with his doting mama and papa and wee little brother. (then he’ll skedaddle down to NYC, and live it up with his aunt, uncle and cousins, till the back-to-school hour beckons). he’ll buzz the buzzer some time round mid-afternoon on the morrow, and from then on in, it’s non-stop company.

dear friends of the newspaper ilk from back in chicago are flying in for a whirl of a weekend, and some poking around of my new favorite haunts. my best friend from when i was little is coming in from california, for cryin’ out loud, by way of connecticut. an adorable fellow whose mother i love way back home is spending the night, sprawled on our couch. saturday morn, we’re due to rendez-vous under a tent with yet another family we’ve loved since the dawn of time, or so it seems. and i’m sure i’m forgetting someone or something.

no wonder the deep-down thank you’s are rumbling and rolling.

and no wonder this week (thanks also to an all-day friday seminar on “negotiations,” no less, one which commences at 8 bells sharp, and stretches till 3 in the afternoon), i am forced to forgo my early-morning habit of writing here at the table. instead, tis now, with dark of night cloaked round my shoulders. all alone at the kitchen butcher block. just me and my tap-tap-tap. the only sound is the hiss of the heat pipes (hallelujah), and from the room just behind me, the occasional but regular turning of a page.

which reminds me: one of my most lasting gratitudes goes out to ms. j.k. rowling who, with her pen and her brooms and her wands, has lit one whoppin’ bonfire under the reading twigs of my sweet little sixth-grader, who has been known in recent weeks to flick on the reading lamp (when he thinks we’re not looking) at 2 in the gosh-darn morning. that child, once a reluctant reader, has in the last four weeks sucked down — at last count — no fewer than 2,425 pages, like some sorta super-sweet kool-aid.

and yes, even after all these weeks, there are still moments in days when i all but pinch myself, wondering how in the world we got here, in this magical place for this gosh-darn-miraculous interlude.

as i walk along the parade of sycamore trees, those mottled soldiers, that line the bend in the river. as i find in the mailbox a hand-penned letter, page after page, from one of my new contemplative friends, the monks, at saint john the evangelist monastery, a place with the gift of hushing the soul.

or, late most tuesday nights, as i say goodnight to the babysitter who’s become a treasured constant in the whir of our weeks, and whose capacity for kindness gives me faith all over again. as i sit in a circle with some firebrand or thinker i’ve never known before, and find my head swarming with ideas i could chew on forever — and probably will.

as i curl up for hours on end with an afghan under my toes, and virginia woolf in my lap. or dorothy day. or mohandas gandhi. as i soak up first-person accounts, over foamy cups of cappuccino or peppermint tea, of long-ago dinners and late-night phone calls with martin luther king.

for all of these things, i am so deeply, blessedly grateful.

and that’s just the beginning…

i know, oh i know, that these days are not without bumps, not without heartache. and these nights are not stripped of the tossing and turning that comes with old-fashioned worry. but because thanks can never go on too long, i don’t think it’s a chore to begin the compiling. so if you’ve stopped by the table, and if you’ve something to add to the list of deep, down thanksgiving (and, yes, gassy little cabbage-ettes are more than welcome), please feel free to scribble your thoughts…..

and before i go, on this eve of the eve of my mama’s birthday, happy blessed day — and year — to the blessed soul who has taught us all volumes and volumes. so sorry we’re not home for this one, but know we hold you close to our hearts……xoxoxoxo