AUTHOR | SPEAKER | PHILOSOPHER | DESIGNER
March has a reputation for being the cruelest month, but there is no bad weather, only different kinds of weather. In Connecticut we had some cold days and snow after a warm stretch. Looking forward, I enjoyed the first day of Spring and daylight savings. Having light longer is so uplifting, and we’ve enjoyed some of the most vivid dramatic pink sunrises and sunsets. I feel I’m in the rhythm as we spring forward. The middle of March, however, the forecast was for a giant blizzard, predicting up to two feet of snow. I was on the phone with Brooke and she made me hang up and call for a reservation at the Marriott Inn and Spa. Our winter was relatively mild and this was a 100% possibility. The inn was overbooked. My buddy Jason moved sky and water and got me a room, one floor higher than Peter and my usual room on the third floor, overlooking the reservoir. As you know, I’d been there earlier in the winter for a storm that closed down all the local restaurants. There is something so luxurious when I'm comfortable in a hotel room, and take a quick elevator ride to the lobby where I enjoy some favorite treats I look forward to when I go to this home away from home.
When we have thoughtful expectations of what to predict, by being prepared, we can actually have a grand experience where we disappear until the coast is clear. It’s quite remarkable how refreshed I was when friends picked me up after I’d checked out of the room. The only interesting detail is that the exact location of the inn in Groton only got six or seven inches of snow. By the time I went down in the elevator, the huge snowflakes the size of marshmallows had turned to rain as the temperature warmed.
When Keith inquired, “Did you get your newspaper?” I thanked him for delivering it at five in the morning. I’m so spoiled to be able to make myself a cup of good Columbian coffee that the hotel provides, and sit at the desk I’d moved in front of the window, and enjoy the serene view. Listening to classical music is such a treat, warm and cozy in the terrycloth bathrobe and slippers I brought with me from a hotel in Scottsdale that were indispensible.I sprayed eucalyptus shower spray I’d bought at the Elizabeth Spa, on the tile walls. The utter sense of relaxing leisure time caused me to ritualize everything, moving more deliberately in slow motion. Before I left the cottage I’d snipped four sprigs of blossoming gardenias I’d plucked from my eight healthy plants, and I brought a pitcher of pink spray roses and pale pink tulips. The gardenia candle enhanced the subtle fragrance of the gardenias. Thump. I got a lump in my throat when Keith announced, “The storm is over. We’re getting rain now. New York City was spared snow; they were supposed to get 18’-24.”
My expectations were that we were going to have a giant blizzard with massive power outages and the roads closed. Schools were closed in Connecticut and New York; trains and planes were cancelled. Everything was shut down. The massive storm, however, went elsewhere with most inches, 41”; the little we got melted. I had a serious consultation with my heart and never had a talk with my rational mind. I was at the inn and spa for fun. I was going to stay the next two nights as intended. As my mother enjoyed saying to her four children when she gave us a definitive order, “there are no if, ands, or buts about it.” Clearly, I wanted to be there, and didn’t choose to cut my stay short. If the roads were clear and my friends still wanted to go to Rhode Island to the theater to see Little Women, I’d be in temporary residence there.
Imagine being disappointed that the storm missed us! It was because I planned to pace myself, have a spa treatment, and have my hair done while I was there. The next night the roads were dry and the theater musical was delightful. We toasted Peter; he’d be 95 if he was alive. When the waitress at Legal Seafood asked us if we were celebrating anything special, Regan smiled, “Yes, friendship.” A most perfect answer.
Other than three mini visits to Groton and a few dinner and movie dates, I’ve been in the village all year. The day after I came home, refreshed from the peaceful retreat away, the weather turned frigid and the sidewalks in the village were treacherous with invisible sheets of black ice. I walked like a duck, mostly in the road and was safe. The moment of bliss upon walking up the staircase to go to the bedroom was to discover three fresh blooms on the gardenia plants.
Brooke and Cooper came on the train that Friday and we watched AB on television after supper in the village at Water Street Café. They have “Happy Hour” small bites that are delicious and it's so much more fun to have a variety of small portions of tasty savory treats than ordering an entrée.
Saturday we went to Beauty and the Beast at the Mystic Deluxe Theater with reclining leather seats that are so luxuriously comfortable. Before the movie begins, anticipation of the new Disney film is intense. The write-up of the movie’s headline was “Living, Breathing, Joy.” I was enraptured. I know this kind of film isn’t for everyone, but I loved seeing it with my granddaughter and Brooke, and I’m considering seeing it again for the sheer beauty of some of the scenes, the actors, and their parts they portrayed persuasively. The beast was splendid, and his library was, indeed, impressive, and he was well read. Let me know how you like the “Living, Breathing, Joy.”
The spring flowers are coming into the flower shops and grocery stores. On the rainy days when the sun is hiding, having a pot of daffodils can be excellent company. I buy them when they are tightly closed; I can stare at them while sitting at my desk and literally watch them open up to their full glory. I recall Peter and me going on a garden tour of the most breathtaking daffodils—thousands of them in dozens of different varieties. The host of daffodils of Wordsworth’s poem makes every day the first day of spring, and every blossom a symbol of the promise that, even when we mistakenly turn our backs, the buds on our flowering trees and bushes do appear and the daffodils will burst forth through the moist soil, and what we want, we already have. We’ve invited ourselves to see with new eyes, and to imagine all the bulbs that are hidden in the earth, and surprise us with joy in unexpected times.
Last Christmas season we were expecting a frost and we had to take the hot pink geraniums out of the window boxes and put in evergreens. One frost and we’d lose them all. The man who helps me maintain and plant my tiny garden knew I was torn because they were flourishing and it would be five months before Memorial Weekend when we can plunk in some fresh ones. The geraniums were in soil, not pots, and I didn’t ask Steve to pot them for me and leave a few inside for me to nurse through the winter. He’s a busy man. The end of March I received a phone call from Steve who asked me if I’d be home for a few minutes, he had something for me. When I opened the door, he was hugging two terracotta pots brimming with the most gorgeous hot pink healthy geranium plants with lots of blossoms and buds. “Happy Spring.” I was flabbergasted. Where did you ever find such large, lush geranium plants in the hot pink I love, this time of year? “They’re yours Alexandra. I put some in the greenhouse when we took them out of the window boxes in December.”
We’ve turned the corner. Happy Spring to one and all! When Steve walked into the kitchen, he was surprised at the strict blue and white color scheme. (Remember when Brooke didn’t want anything red or green in the kitchen for the New Year’s morning Breakfast Party?) I have a blue porcelain cache pot that Alexandra bought me many years ago that is my favorite shade of blue -- a signature color of our artist friend Roger Muhl, the blue shade we painted the batter board in the kitchen, below a score of blue and white tiles above; everything else is a bright white with the help of lots of recessed lighting. The geranium plants in terracotta pots, one placed on a white lacquer desk, and the other one on the white table with a white glass top, are strikingly beautiful, especially when the outside is not terribly attractive. The blue hydrangea echo the garden out the windows on the north side of the cottage, and behind the white desk, the evergreens in the window box will be transformed in the rightful time in May. Until then. I have now, and the wondrous power of bringing nature’s beauty inside is one of the most important things we can do to keep us in close touch with the beauty that is seen and unseen, and thrives with our tender loving care and appreciative affection.
On Sunday April 23, 2017, at 1 PM, I’m giving a talk: “Choosing Happiness” at a beautiful Botanic garden to raise money for this garden, Tower Hill, in Boylston, Massachusetts. I’m excited to spend the day for this exciting event and would love to welcome you. If you do feel you can come, please drop us a note. After the talk, there will be several of my different books for sale. I’m happy to personalize them, and I hope you’ll think of gifting them as Mother’s Day and graduation gifts.Please try to come, bring friends, and we can make a memorable celebration together.
Thank you and your family and friends for staying in touch, and reaching out to me in thoughtful, generous ways. If I have been quiet it is good news. I am making progress on my book. I have found a typist for when I’m completely ready, and I’m completely absorbed in the work. If my literary agent Carl and my beloved Peter are watching over me, they are witness to my hard work. Thank you for letting me know that I’ve made a difference in your life, and for your support and encouragement. I feel there is still so much I have to say. I’m enjoying all the challenges, and the exhilaration. The process is the reality; the process is what I love most – the work.
Happy Easter! Happy Spring!
Great love to you,
Love & Live Happy
Please come April 23rd and celebrate Happiness with me!
Peter's ashes -- in the box and pitcher and his essence
Seeing eye to eye
Anticipation of hydrangea
Peter is always with me in paradise -- the garden
A host of daffodils
Geranium and rambling roses from the Water Street view of the harbor
Peter blows kisses to Colleen; Alexandra and Colleen's mother Kerri -- sisters?
Matt, Peter and Alexandra on Water Street, together
The beauty of the peony
"Sound judgment, with discernment, is the best of seers."