Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Long Days of Summer

What do you do on a rainy night in Rio?
What do you say when the lady says, “Si, Si”
Where do you go when can’t go for a walk—
Do you stay home and talk, or do you sit and sigh
“Ay, Ay.”

This old song from either a Hope/Crosby movie or one of those extravagant musicals of the 1940’s runs through my mind. It’s Latin rhythm keeps me swaying. Here’s my poetic entry:

What do I do in Madison, when the temperature is high?
What can I say when I’m asked why not New York?
Looking outdoors I see the sun and dappled shade
and turn back to my book, and, yes, I sigh
“ Oh my,Oh my!”

That’s the record of my days at home, battling the urge to move around outdoors. No interest in improving my jewelry work, no custom orders, no deadlines. Reading six books a week (Don’t ask me names or authors) has become a nighttime labor of love. So for daytime business—no television for me—I’ve returned to my roots. On I’ve begun to enter into my family tree three years of methodical gathering of letters, public records, and correspondence, as well as notes from hundreds of phone calls scratched on bits and pieces of paper. A lot of updating from the last time I worked. This move came after emphasizing—in the harshest tone of voice-- to my kids not discard a single box of genealogy. Being unable to predict their interest in holding on to thousands of pictures gathered from over 100 sources and those notes no one can interpret, gave me impetus to go online.

Sitting before the computer during the morning, I turn my head occasionally, looking through the window to check the droopiness of the plants on the patio, making the decision to water or not, then gulping a mouth full of cold water before resuming work.

By 2:00 p.m. I take a siesta and dream of what I could be doing at our bit of heaven in the lower Catskills. I like to imagine that the temperature there is similar to Madison this summer. (We still haven’t discovered a battery-operated fan that moves the air satisfactorily for the cabin.) In this state of mind with the air conditioning keeping me cool, I don’t miss lying on a steaming mattress in a stifling cabin on a sun-drenched hillside waiting impatiently for the cool of the evening.

Be satisfied with what you’ve got, I remind myself. And that’s why I’m not pining for the hills and water and woods of New York.

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