Wednesday, January 1, 2014


A past holiday with good friends
An acquaintance of mine who maintained the library at the Daily Iberian years ago, once labeled a file containing copies of my column Cherchez la femme as "Diane's Rantings."  Not long ago, another friend referred to my blogs as "Diane's Musings."  While the file of my columns elicited a negative response, the label given my blogs caused me to feel as though I've moved forward with my little essays about what goes on in my life, in the lives touching mine every day, and in those lives that have been linked with mine in the past.

This New Year when the outdoors is shrouded in gray, a day that could stifle and suppress energy or lead to loneliness and winter depression, I 'm contemplating a more numinous subject -- friendship.  For me, if Christmas is about family, the New Year is about friends, and during the past few days, I've received the following blessings from friends:

  • An old friend I haven't seen in 25 years knocked at my door last evening and spent three hours in our home, laughing and sharing good memories with us;
  • A dear poet friend sent me one of Emily Dickinson's poems to brighten a rainy day and told me that he has recommended me to the proprietor of a bookstore in Vicksburg, Mississippi to do a reading of my poetry in the New Year;
  • A new friend, who knows I've been experiencing pain for several weeks, passed on the name and number of a specialist who does acupuncture so I could receive treatment for my bursitis;
  • A British friend I knew when we lived in Iran and with whom I re-connected three years ago, sent me a poignant musical card, via the UK, wishing me a happy New Year;
  • A close Sewanee friend sent me an article by Mary Sharett about one of my heroines, Hildegard of Bingen, who concluded her article with the words: "...May we awaken to life as we begin the New Year.  May we discover for ourselves the ecstasies of Viriditas (the animating life force in nature) and be lovingly engaged with our beautiful, blessed, and sacred world";
  • Sister Elizabeth at St Mary's Convent in Sewanee, sent me New Year wishes and the kind thoughts that we're missed on The Mountain;
  • A friend in Colorado has been sending me happy reports about the antics of turkeys that visit their plateau cabin, attempting to entertain me while I'm ailing and included wishes for a creative New Year.

The list could be longer, but readers can glean the message of my musings -- I, and most people I know, live in a world blessed with people who honor us with their friendship.  I add to this rumination the words of Evagrius Ponticus, who had strong notions about what human beings are capable of and wrote: "Is isn't possible to love all the brethren to the same degree.  But it is possible to associate with all in a manner that of resentment and hatred."  And, I might add, Open your eyes to see your friends and the gifts they have given you in recognition of you as special kin.

Most of my friends who know that my retirement has been anything but inactive have told me, from time to time, that I need to play more, and, at their urging,  I'm resolving to honor the Spirit of Play in the New Year.  However, the following poem that I wrote 'back when' shows that I've been working on this objective for twenty years now:
The poem is entitled "Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Come Out To Play" and is included in my book, Afternoons in Oaxaca:

I'm looking for the child within,
the one who broke though last Spring
and decided life was as much a playground
as a battlefield,
who once sailed leaf boats in city gutters,
casting off as the mistress of adventure,
the one who believed that fairies slept
beneath toadstools, and that toadstools
were made only for hypermagical flight,
who hoisted an umbrella,
along with her mother and Mary Poppins,
learning how to fly in the universe long ago,
forgetting how to fly,
wanting to fly again,
who discovered friends, best of friends
in books and has kept them always,
who has been blessed
with good friends always,
is learning to explore, play,
and enjoy them all over again,
who has been given a play name
that she loves: Elizabeth-Elizabeth,
a double name that resonates
with double wonder and delight,
who, at three, turned the pages
of A Child's Garden of Verse, chanting
"the world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings,
and has, at age 60,

stepped out to claim that world.
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