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My (almost) Perfect Day, by Beth Kaplan

The best day of the year here, perhaps – 17 degrees. I set out for a walk on the Don Valley Trail and ended up removing and carrying back most of my clothing. It was odd to be in hot sunshine surrounded by dead, dried wildflowers and the leafless branches of trees. Some of the bare branches were covered in soft fuzz, like reindeer antlers – I stopped to stroke them.

And then … I saw a deer. Ten minutes from Bloor and Yonge, there was a young white-tailed deer, nibbling branches and grass. She watched me, and I watched her. A male mallard floated past on the Don River, his head glinting green. Above, a tiny bird’s nest was nestled in a crevice between two branches. If it weren’t for the relentless surge of automobiles on the Parkway behind, we could have been in the countryside.
On the way back I walked through Riverdale Farm, packed with families, and stopped in to see if there were any fresh eggs. Only two; enough for breakfast. At home, I put on Kathleen Battle and Itzhak Perlman performing Bach Arias, made tomates provencales like Lynn taught me in Gordes, leaving the tomatoes frying for a long time till they were very soft, and then made fresh coffee, fried my eggs, toasted a bagel.
It doesn’t get better than that.
Except that it did get better, because my son came over shortly afterwards. He had a bad flu last week that sounded like swine flu, but he’s now well and able to provide much-needed upper body strength – I’m reaching the end of the basement ordeal, needed help moving box springs and chests of drawers. This is something married women cannot understand – the single woman’s search for another pair of arms, strong arms. A friend came yesterday to return something he’d borrowed, and I wanted to ask him in to help me move box springs. He’s a man; he has muscles; he should lift something. But luckily I have a son who does the trick, when I can lure him over to this side of town. So we tugged and lugged.
After I’d spent the afternoon doing every possible chore outside, because it was still so lovely, and Sam had hoovered down everything not nailed down in the fridge, he proceeded to cook dinner for us both. We talked; we called my mother in Ottawa; he texted and Facebooked and checked his email, and I read the New York Times on-line. And then, after Family Guy and a few other favourites, he went home. The house is almost in order. I am glowing inside with a store of Vitamin D from today’s sun. The cat is snoring on the sofa beside me. All is well.
Except for this sharp little pain in my left heel. If only that would go away. If only someone in my family would win the lottery, and Obama would end world hunger and disease and war, and my new book would spring full-blown from my head and hand. Then everything would be perfect.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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