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spring, rain

The gorgeous days over for now – two days of hot sun, and now back to grey drizzle – but it’s mild. Yesterday, I watched two sparrows mating on my fence. It was brief and I would think not much fun, but I guess it got the job done, because after he’d climbed on her a few times for a few fluttery seconds, they flew away in separate directions. Ah, the rites of spring.

I go out to ogle the buds, the bursting of green – the miracle of renewal, especially after such a long hard winter.

I am feeling it too, slowly – budding, coming out of months of chaos, then travel, then loss. The house is settling; though the work isn’t quite finished, the repairs and purchases still needed are minor, and I no longer need the long lists that I carried everywhere. Yesterday I actually made it to a yoga class at the Y, first time in ages. Today U of T starts, Ryerson tomorrow night, on Friday back to my piano teacher after months of very little practice – that’ll be painful. The joy of routine. And yet every time I climb the stairs into the airy bright hall or step into my shining bedroom and closet, it feels like a brand new spring inside, here.

I finished Sally Rooney’s Normal People, the hot novel of the season, though confess I skipped some bits. She’s an extremely talented writer but I was just not that interested in the obsessive detail, however beautifully and cleverly written, of these young people’s lives. Plus the book was due back. Now I’m reading Middlemarch, at last, for a book club at the end of the month. With my B.A. in English, I’ve always felt guilty not to have read Middlemarch, so am happy to have been pushed to do so. And I’m also reading The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash, which recreates New York in 1980 and imagines John Lennon as a main character – delightful.

Last night, something horrible and then a treat: I watched, with jaw dropped, a bit of the coverage of the Met Gala, an obscene gathering of the world’s celebrities wearing the most preposterous clothes, accompanied by fawning discussion. Utterly nauseating; talk about fiddling while Rome burns. But then Gentleman Jack, a terrific British drama on PBS, the adventures of a fiercely independent landowner and lesbian in 1832. Bonus – it’s based on the diaries of the actual Anne Lister. From an interview with Sally Wainwright, the showrunner:

Reading between the lines of the journal, I believe she had very robust mental health. And I think she had an enviably healthy opinion of herself, and though that’s often an insult, I don’t mean it as an insult. I wish I had a healthier opinion of myself, I’m sure I’d be a lot happier. She believed her sexuality was God-given, she believed it would be against God if she slept with a man because God made her like this. And she seemed able to live with that in a very healthy way.
I find that really uplifting that for someone 200 years ago to have the courage and intelligence to be able to navigate her way through society, not to be ostracized from society, and to be truthful to who she was is why we should celebrate her. That’s why the story is unique, because it’s about this unique human being who was capable of being like this. I think that’s a beautiful message for anyone, no matter what gender or sexuality they are.

Speaking of unabashedly being who you are, Wayson was like that too. These days, despite spring, my heart feels muted, maimed, diminished. Something key is missing. I had not realized how automatically I thought of Wayson, called him, invited him over. The impulse is there all day, but he is not.

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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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