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evening rhapsody, early fall

It’s dusk – the sun is fading, the air is filled with birdsong, and I am eating cheese, drinking wine and looking out at the garden, still valiantly blooming, the gardenia like a white cream-puff stuck to a bush, the Rose of Sharon, impatiens and cosmos, the little pink roses and buddleia still going strong, and the geraniums (gerania? Bruce?) sturdy and bright. Some of the hostas are yellow and withered, and the maple trees in the city are turning, some now half blazing scarlet and half green. But the weather, now the rain has passed, is mild and sweet, and my ginger-gold apples are the best ever. What a glorious time of year.

I just left the house for my jogette – literally, five minutes around the block – and there, right at my gate, was a couple walking home with groceries, he with the little round cap and long top favoured by Muslim men, and she shrouded head to toe in black with dark eyes barely showing. I stood there in my sneakers, tank top and Spandex bottoms looking at her, she looking back at me from the 17th century. The wonders of our city.
I was going to go to a mayoral debate on the arts at the Art Gallery yesterday, mostly to have something fun to report to you. My guess is that I would have said that Smitherman knew more or less what he was talking about and Ford did not, and as for the others, who cares? But I stayed in and worked instead. And then watched Jon at 10, and simultaneously, the new “Law and Order – L.A.” Phooey is what I say. I loved the old one with those weather-beaten New York cops and sets. Who wants to see more L.A.? Boring.
Another report from Ottawa, where my mother is still wrestling with her conflicts – on the one hand, the many advantages and safety of a residence, on the other, the misery of having to make decisions about and pack up five thousand pounds of stuff. We are no nearer a resolution, and so I continue to worry, long-distance, as she continues to live alone and not eat well.
The great thing about this crisis is that it’s bringing me closer to my brother. He and I have never been close, for reasons having to do with our childhoods and temperaments and physical distance. But these days, we are talking often about our mother, and thus are also getting to know each other. Today he said that Mum recently showed him a huge packet of letters from a lover she’d had in the Fifties; she’d left my father for a while to live with the other man, and my brother and I stayed with Dad. I remember that horrible family crisis, as I was 6; he was only 3, a playful little boy with blonde curls. I told him that once, during that difficult, sad time, he set out to cheer me up, and he did so, making me laugh, over and over again. I’ve never forgotten the tears of laughter on my cheeks, thanks to my little brother.
That was one of the first times he and I have ever talked about our past. It was a joy to paint such a glad picture for him.
And there, overhead – the honking of a flock of Canada geese, going south.

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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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