June 2013

Dear Friend

Happy June! Finally we’re having some warm weather. We’re not used to hazy, hot, humid weather after such a cold spring. When it was freezing cold, we all realized soon it would be too hot. There’s something important the weather teaches us: we have to take it as it is and make the best of it.

I hope your May was a happy, productive month. Ours was spent quietly in Stonington for the most part, but we went to New York City to be with friends for champagne and truffles to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary at La Grenouville, our favorite restaurant in the world, the place where Peter and I had our first date all those years ago.

Rather than focusing on one specific day to celebrate, we chose to have several fun times together and with friends, to be nostalgic about our halcyon days and years together, and feel the gratitude for the joy we feel for the blessing of our union.

All May, the merry month, we enjoyed our cottage. The lilac and lily-of-the-valley are especially sentimental for two reasons: I fell in love with our cottage after a heavy rainstorm and the white lilac tree in the back yard was more beautiful than thousands of precious cut diamonds as it shined radiant divine light in all directions. And, when Peter and I married May 18th, 1974 at the Saint James Church in New York City on Madison Avenue and 71st Street, I carried lily-of-the-valley in my floral bouquet, and Alexandra and Brooke had halos of this delicate white bell flower in their hair.

The fragrance of both flowers is utterly intoxicating. Besides our white lilac we have pale pink, and our wonderful neighbor Charles Clark’s purple lilac hugs our common fence. He was going to be away over Memorial Weekend when our family was coming for a family reunion, and he told me to pick as many blossoms as I wished. What a gift. I was able to make a huge bouquet to give to Alexandra for her room at the Inn.

While we had an exciting book event in Westport May 11 at Terrain, I spotted a Nikko blue hydrangea plant with giant blossoms that I bought for myself for Mother’s Day. It is the glory of our cottage living rooms, sitting on a round table that is in the center of all activity. I water it faithfully and marvel at the amazing grace and energy the color creates. Looking around the room at the Roger Mühl paintings with the deep rich blue sky and water and mountains creates a mood of quiet elegance that is enormously pleasing to the eye and spirit.

As soon as we had our last frost, the designer hot pick geraniums were put in the window boxes. After the evergreens were removed we had a few weeks where there was a void – a lull between seasons. But on a sunny crisp day in early May, the electric charge of fuchsia pink ignited the atmosphere and the inside and outside of our sweet cottage was magically transformed.

Whenever Alexandra comes to Stonington with her children, we seem to have miserable weather. They brace themselves and buck up. This Memorial Weekend was no exception. The weather was rainy, windy, and freezing cold. The saving grace is the third floor. We can all go up to “three,” turn on the lights, play some peppy music, and play. The art room is a huge hit, as is the ballet area, and in the front of the house there are high desks with swivel chairs where Peter and I like to sit and work surrounded by our favorite things. All the nostalgia is on “three,” and we enjoy going up there when we’re alone, but especially love being there with our four grandchildren, who find inventive ways to amuse themselves, act silly, be creative, and have a lot of fun – rain or shine.

There had been an accident where the trains were derailed causing there to be no train service when we’d planned to be in New York City. The benefit from having to take a car service was being able to pick Brooke and Cooper up at their apartment house and wisk them to the cottage, door-to-door. Tony joined us a few days later. We’re so fortunate Cooper loves it here so much, has friends and her routine pleasures where she likes to go on her bike or when she takes the stroller for a walk with her “babies.” Cooper doesn’t play with dolls; she takes care of her babies. So cute.

At four and a half, she is at a perfect age. Everything is delicious, fun, and full of whimsy. Not only is Cooper a princess, she is a shining star. Her cousins support her performances as she sings and dances. Her parents are not allowed to record her! The joy the grandchildren bring us is incomparable and their joyful spirit sweetens every inch of the cottage.

In between the rain, the “grands” had a lemonade and cupcake sale raising money for the Oklahoma tornado relief fund, raising $100.00 for the American Red Cross. They are adorable as they sing out that 100% of the money goes to the Red Cross. The 25¢ lemonade usually became a $5.00 donation. I’m convinced that an innocent child can move mountains to move the hearts of even the hard hearted.

Our irises are in bloom. They only last a few days. I love Claude Monet writing his artist friend inviting him to Giverny on Tuesday “when the iris will be in full bloom.”

Peonies are next. I’m watching the rose buds carefully. I intend to enjoy every pretty blossom as it presents itself to us. The peaceful beauty of our cottage is extremely uplifting to us as we tenderly do our work in a relaxed, pleasant environment.

I’m grateful to my readers for their wonderful letters to me about my new book, The Shared Wisdom of Mothers and Daughters: The Timelessness of Simple Truths. It is indeed most satisfying to be happily published and considering the enormously changed and difficult state of the publishing industry, I’m deeply and most humbly grateful my book is getting in the hands of my readers who are enjoying the essays.

I sincerely hope this newsletter finds you in good spirits, enjoying all the gifts of life, receptive to what circumstances present themselves to you and your loved ones. One lesson I’ve learned from being in love with Peter, who is the village elder, the wise sage we all look up to, is to never take anything for granted. Each day we’re alive and can smell the roses and love one another is a precious miracle. I intend to fully appreciate being invited to participate in this great drama as it unfolds.

Soon I’ll be able to tell you about my work. I’m sorting out some subjects and haven’t figured out quite yet what feels like the next book for the publishing schedule. Onward and upward. Stay tuned.

I hope June brings you many quiet surprises, lots of leisurely time to contemplate the wonders in front of you, and a deep sense of gratitude. My good friend Claire Jones gave me a green beaded bracelet with the word Gratitudes. For each letter, the exercise is to think of ten things you’re grateful for. Begin with loved ones, and then move on to all the other areas of your life. The glass will always be half full, and if, for whatever reason it isn’t, you can fill it to the brim.

Great love to you.

Love & Live Happy

Westport, CT at Terrain

Alexandra and Claire

Alexandra and Claire

Alexandra, Claire and Marci

Alexandra personalizing a book at Terrain in Westport, CT

Grace Note

"Right now a moment of time is passing by! We must become that moment."
Paul Cezanne