Thursday, December 15, 2011

Florida and the kids.

December 15, Ft Myers.

Fridman comes back from a month in Peru today and soon we will be in France and stay there until spring.
I dreaded staying in Florida for a whole month by myself with the boys. Time dreaded metamorphosed into time enchanted, like the butterflies Dylan loves to catch, precious time, daily walks in a Florida wildlife and nature preserve not far from the house, and with a net he found at a yard sale Dylan became a butterfly catcher, my son the poet, catching butterflies, the first time he tried, letting them loose, the walks a daily wonder, seeing an alligator by the marsh on the side of the trail, careful to step around a snake seemingly sleeping on our path, taking in the beauty of the native Florida scenery, the kids engrossed in a cricket, and the house cat. There were hard times too, Dylan can be difficult, and especially so when his father is not around, but these were all the more enchanted times because I thought they were going to be just that, a prolonged trial of boredom not altogether avoided morphing into discipline nightmares.
When we weren't a the nature center saying hello to the rescue bald eagles before hitting the trails the boys played with their Legos, doing and undoing them over and over again, and we read books and did school and read more books and went to the playground and went to garage sales and the days went by in a dream of soft breezes and carefree, warm afternoons.
This morning we visited Lee County Manatee Park and didn't see any manatees but discovered another beautiful peaceful place to keep in our heart for when we are deep in school and winter.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

In memoriam.

December 3, Ft Myers.

My friend Lily died Thursday after complications from a stroke, the second she'd had.
The first one defined her life, leaving her unable to speak, walk, remember, redefining her life and making her an even more beautiful person than I imagine her to be, before, refining her down to the essential, the pure joy of being alive, like a child.
She died and left that joy in all of us an empty place, resonating with the sound of her voice velvety and lulling, the touch of her hand strong, stubbornly irresistible, the feel of her lingering pace. She walked at her own pace after that first stroke, she forgot things, she moved though life slowly, lingering behind, she drove you crazy sometimes and then you would catch yourself and feel remorseful and cruel and wait for her as she walked to you softly smiling and there was nothing you could say but yes, we are here, now.
She was a photographer, before that first stroke. A photographer she met another photographer, who would become my friend Marie and would introduce me to Lily, and they walked the road together for many years.
In the end I didn't know much about Lily all these years but that she was a photographer and then she had a stroke that left her like an infant, the heart of a child in the body of an adult woman for the rest of her life, her heart that betrayed her again and then stopped. I didn't know much about Lily but that she was to live forever with us, our angel lightness, walking life softly.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Kristine's visit.

December 1, Ft Myers.

Enchanted days on Sanibel Island.
With my friend Kris here for a week from New Jersey we discovered an enchanted national wildlife refuge full of slim graceful birds and the occasional alligator. The vistas are what I sometimes imagine paradise to be when I daydream there were one. It's turned Florida cool, but before it did we enjoyed our usual spot at the beach, and coffee on a canopied deck, trying to keep the kids under control.
She is leaving tomorrow.