A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Poisson d'Avril

Poisson d'avril! Or Happy April Fool's Day, if you're not a francophone.

The holiday sort of snuck up on me this year....no time to plan an elaborate hoax. I had to go to a funeral this morning, so I thought it best to forego pranks, although I was around a lot of just the sort of people you'd ordinarily want to play tricks on, because they themselves love to play them.

Hard to play tricks on the boys, either, because they're rarely around. Amir and I are vampires, especially on weekends, so there was a fair chance I wouldn't even cross his path till the holiday was over.

So that left the dog. And, hey, that's what dogs are for--to take up the slack around the house. Although she's a certified canine genius, and as such probably deserved to be the butt of an elaborate, sophisticated joke, I didn't have the head for concocting one. Since she's learning French, and is in fact catching on very fast, I decided to play the classic French schoolboy prank on her and tape a fish to her tail.

A few morsels of ferret food on the floor kept her busy for maybe six seconds--barely long enough to tape the fish on and snap the shot. Another six seconds to chase her tail and catch the fish. And less than that to eat her catch.

Charlotte Lesquier, aged 97, was buried today. Only a couple of weeks ago she was inquiring with interest about my trip to France--which cities I would be visiting and so on. Charlotte studied at the Sorbonne, taught French for many years, and visited France often. I think she would have appreciated the prank.


Spring Field in Springfield

crocusesThese are the first flowers I've spotted in my neighborhood this year. They're growing in one of the vest-pocket front yards on Mattoon Street, behind just the kind of cast-iron fence that I would like to put around the Emory House. The fence, unfortunately, is slipping further and further down the list as other priorities surface. The flashing needs repair on both chimneys, for example. The exterior walls in the front part of the house need to be insulated. The basement should be waterproofed. I'd love to sand the kitchen floor and stain it a lighter color. It seems to be soft pine with a dark brown colored varnish, very scuffed and messy looking. Most of the walls are a dead grayish-white with a matte finish, impossible to clean. On the other hand, a couple of ominous cracks in the plaster ceilings should probably be attended to before any painting gets done....

One of these days, I'm going to wake up and say to myself, What am I doing with this monstrous money pit? I won't do my children any favors and saddle them with twelve rooms of mahogany, thousands of books, and a cellarful of old junk. At that point I'll start thinking of a very small stone farmhouse in Provençe. But meanwhile, maybe I'll at least plant the crocuses.

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