8/05/2007

Reading Recovery

My friend Lucy sent an email this morning, "you need a spa day." She is right on target.

All the adrenalin running for the past week - to finish my grant and turn it in before Jim's cardiac cath and to get through the worry of the procedure itself - has really left me whipped. Tired out. Even my gratitude does not overcome it. But sleep is helping.

I stayed in bed this morning reading and I could feel myself recovering. Diversion is great medicine.

Last night i started reading a new murder mystery. Nothing special. A paper back I picked up on a library sale table. But its turned out to be the right book for my escape today. A 2003 copy the original owner bought for 6 pounds in Great Britain, "The Bone Vault" by Linda Fairstein - a murder at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC . It is full of art talk through-out as they look for the murderer. It even includes forays to the Cloisters Musuem and talk about medieval manuscripts. Could the victim have been poisioned by the arsenic used to restore the vivid yellow on the old pages? I can visualize the places and that brings the story to life for me.

As the detecive steps outside the Cloisters the author describes the narrow stone steps down to the winding path through heavy foliage. I have a picture of Jim holding Jimmy, then 18 months old, taken at the top of those steps. We lived in Brooklyn when Jim was an intern in the late 1950s. On his Sunday's off we occasionally made sigthseeing trips into the city. The Sunday we went to the Cloisters was a bright cold Fall day, bright foliage and a stunning view from its location over the city. The author's description was so vivid it brought that afternoon back clearly.

Last week I watched a TV interview with southern author Lee Smith. She talked about the southern attachment to the past.

As I get older the past I refer back to is my own rather than the historical or family past. I like things that remind me of or reconnect me to moments I have lived, to places I have been, to people I have known. The memories enrich the today moments and sometimes explain why things are going as they are now. Sometimes its like collage where each moment has its own separate identity and other times it is a true weaving.

Whatever, this is a good way to be spending my time today.