Happy April, No Fooling! I am savoring the coming of spring, one bloom at a time. My neighbor Charlie – in the pink house with the green door – has a host of snowdrops in his garden path in front of his federal-style house. We share a white picket fence and a neighborly friendship that joins us together in loving kindness. In Charlie’s back yard, a blanket of white snowdrops are scattered abundantly, spilling over to my dormant garden. These “friendlies” are a metaphor. As I wrote earlier about the common fence that was rebuilt last November by my neighbor to the east, the Portuguese Society … fences build friendships.
To the north, I can see a house Whister’s mother lived in, now occupied by friends. The other morning I heard a knock on the front door. By chance, I was at the desk in my bedroom by the window, and seeing Paul, I opened the window wider, “Entre’! Come in Paul!” Paul is French, 88 years young, swims every day in Narragansett Bay, and lives unmarried to a dear lady in her eighties. They met when Paul was teaching a yoga class at our cultural center, The LaGrua. Years ago Paul bought a French faience factory that was in bankruptcy, opening a store a few blocks from here, on Water Street, and another in Washington, DC, called Quimper. About five years ago Paul came to see Peter and me with an offer for us to purchase some sweet dishes on which is written “Je t’aime,” I love you, knowing we’d loved them over the past years, giving them to close friends for special occasions. He arrived with a cute smile with a little silver bag with tissue. Here, inside, was a Je t’aime dish, a treasure. “Alexandra, I was able to find a few online that I’m giving as gifts. I want you to have this dish as a reminder that I want a personally autographed copy of your new book, Men in My Life: A Love Story. From Aristotle to the Dalai Lama, Things they Taught Me About the Good Life. Paul didn’t know it, but the day he came was Peter’s birthdate. Freshly inspired, I went to my writing room with renewed inspiration. His generous spirit gave me such a boost. Later that morning, I heard another knock on the door. Tino from the Verdant flower shop had an arm full of white lilies with a card wishing Peter a happy birthday. Tino got teary as tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. My body tingled with Peter’s presence. How blessed I feel to have one love grow more sacred over time.
I have good news! After working for months and months, I didn’t feel ready to let go of a portion of my manuscript to let my new literary agent see it. I have a new typist, Aaron, who mysteriously entered my life one day after my friend Anne could no longer help me with the literary project of typing my longhand into print form to submit the manuscript for review. I intend to have my work ready to be reviewed no later than the middle of April. Fingers crossed! Aristotle believed in the good luck factor as an important ingredient of the Good Life.
For all of my friends who have been following me closely, I am so deeply involved with “Men in My Life,” I believe it is time to move on to hear from my agent her opinion about going forward with a publisher, and editor. This book will find its way. I am very passionate about it and believe it is extremely relevant to all our lives today. How we choose to live the good life matters deeply. Because of my focus and enthusiasm, my correspondence has gone unanswered. Please keep your good wishes coming. My silence has no relationship to the pleasure I’m receiving from hearing from you. When the pause comes, I will temporarily leave my writing room and respond to you with a note, card or letter. Until then I want you to share the joy I feel having the majestic red cardinal singing to me pre-dawn, and coming to perch on my roof a few feet from my desk. The red cardinal is a sign, a trigger, for many people. My connection is especially symbolic because Peter was called “the bird man.” His bird calls could literally bring birds to our back yard. “Cardy” the cardinal brought mutual joy to us both. Whenever I see Cardy return, I feel Peter’s loving spirit and presence so profoundly. I was asked by my friend John, the manager of Bank Square Books in Mystic, if I had any travel plans. When I told him about Peter’s red cardinal, he paused, “Well, you can’t leave your cardinal!” I also can’t leave my garden sunroom while in full bloom. I feel paradise is indeed right here, right now, where I live, in the wondrous consciousness of love and work.
Because I have spent all of my time from the December holidays until now mostly on Water Street, the gentle rhythms of daily life unfolding, I feel the joy of spring approaching. The cardinal re-entered my life the day before the first day of spring. From here on, birds are singing, the buds will blossom, and I will look for the miracle of “becoming.” I am enjoying watching my book show its innate truth and wisdom.
Have a beautifully colorful, fragrant, most happy, April. My new gardenia plant currently has seven blossoms, countless buds. Ah, I’m seduced by the garden writing room.