Today for example: I tried to go into the city to hear a speaker at the JFK library whose glass walls reflect back so beautifully our cold Boston Harbor.
I never did get there, because I also wanted to:
One, mark the birthday of a dear friend who is just turning 86. I had already mailed her a card and I knew she was out today but, I thought, I’ll bring her a book. No, two books. But first I’ll wrap them in this nice gift paper if I can find it. Oh and I know she doesn’t cook much anymore so why don’t I stop at Whole Foods and get her something she can enjoy for supper.
Two, sand and paint an old bookcase I want to use to house the books another who is dear to me left in my basement a couple of years back because he had no room for them in his dorm room. “You can just throw them out, it’s fine,” he said when I wrote and asked what to do with them. But how could I do that when I know how much he loves these books? When I know that every book he reads, every sky he looks up at, every walk he takes feeds his poetry, for he is a poet born? So today I worked on the bookcase. Then I drove 20 miles north to get more of the paint which that the manufacturer isn’t making anymore in my color, as my four phone calls to hardware stores all over revealed.
Three, make two flower arrangements to say thanks for two people who have given unsparingly of themselves in service to others, one a medical man who for the last 30 years given free care to those who need it, and the other a chef who has made our local ABC house a real home for the dozen people she has fed every weeknight for the past five years. She leaves tomorrow to work more intentionally on her Master’s degree and will she ever be missed.
The flowers took a long time because I’m choosy and because the hydrangea blooms outside my house were so heavy with moisture I had to stop and go put on a raincoat to harvest them. Both bouquets are done now but as I look at the clock I see that it’s hours and hours too late to deliver them.
I didn’t get to deliver the two books or the hot food either. A two-hour medical appointment I had mid-day spoiled that whole idea.
I didn’t get on the treadmill, which my body fervently prays I will do every day, to pull it out of its stiffness.
I didn’t work on my weekly column, which is due Friday.
I didn’t connect with my sister by picking up the phone and how hard would that have been?
So I guess I will close now, at almost 10 on this school night. I I don’t feel great about how I operated today but maybe I’ll be better tomorrow. In the meantime I’ll take pleasure in the pretty blossoms that came into my hand today.