Friday, September 27, 2013

Last Summer

Lying in a hammock overlooking the Damariscotta River at 5:01 on a Saturday afternoon. Our daughter is at camp; my wife is resting in the bedroom of my parents house up the hill. There is a faint breeze soughing through the trees and the sound of water lapping at the rocks below. The faint rumble of an outboard engine as a teenager in an aluminum skiff motors toward the beach at Dodge Point. Scraps of voices, shouting, daring ... a splash followed by laughter.

There is a feeling that this could be the last summer. 

So many reminders of the summers that have gone before ... the shrill whistle of an osprey wheeling above the scrim of black spruces ... the fern-tangled road from the Hunter farm through the woods down to the landing, where chunks of Caribbean coral lay scattered in the marine clay that had been fired in kilns along the river by barefooted men, hardening to become the spines and shoulders of buildings in Portland, Boston, New York .. the fragment of a 17th Century iron pot dug up in my parent's side yard...

A pale grey cloud spreads toward the sun, but there are slashes of brilliant light in the west. They will come; when we need them, they will come.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Commerce of Spirituality

Ojai, California is a place where people, residents and visitors alike are desperate for enlightenment. Flip through the local phone directory or the classified ads at the back of the high-end, regional magazines, whose titles tend to include the words living, style or simply a Zip Code, and you will find an abundance of "caring," "loving," "gentle"  practitioners, spirit guides and mediums who will read your aura, tweak your chakras, boost your qi, and even patch in Jesus in for a phone consultation, all credit cards accepted. This amalgam of the spiritual and the commercial would be cause for ridicule in the East, and elicit downright scorn in New England. But here in the Golden West, it is simply part of the "lifestyle," like cucumber water, Bikram yoga and PABA-free sunscreen.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Halloween in Ojai

A conspiracy of ravens gathers in the trees above the lap pool of the spa, preening their glossy plumage and cocking their heads at the silent passage of the golf carts on the other side of the white-washed stucco wall. Their calls and snapping bills are an affront in this sanctuary where cell phones are prohibited. Several of the birds dare to swoop down to the poolside tables, snatching up remnants of organic fruit and gluten-free crackers. The boldest of them alights on the back of a lounge chair, eyeing the diamond tennis bracelet of the woman who lies motionless with slices of cucumber on her eyes. It is the first day of spring, but the atmosphere feels distinctly autumnal. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Studies in Eccentricity #3

She favors cheap ball-point pens that leave explosions of ink and battalions of wounded words.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Perfect Sermon?

As the morning traffic streams past, the bearded man in the torn flannel shirt stands at the edge of the traffic island at Park Avenue and 46th Street, howling "Suck on your Bible!"