Tonight I overheard someone on 14th Street say, "You wouldn't drink an old fashioned on the beach." His friend replied, "Yeah, old fashioned's definitely require a certain context." That context is D.C. in January, where a whiskey blanket would be so wonderful, except I dislike whiskey. Temperatures have been less than twenty degrees for most of the week, surprisingly on par with my sister in Kansas City. For the first time in my life, hats are an essential part of my wardrobe.
I'm reading my Bible chronologically this year, and last week's reading included Noah and the ark. I was struck this time by the long amount of time he, his family, and the animals and creeping things were stuck in the ark — not only the forty days of flooding but also the many months the earth dried out in the sun. And then, of course, once they got off the ark, they were the only ones left to repopulate the earth. They really couldn't escape each other. Did they get on each other's nerves? Did they get frustrated or resentful or resigned? I thought of families home for Christmas. The Manning's had a wonderful Christmas together. In moments, though, as in all families, I could see old frustrations and dynamics like hairline cracks in the china. But we keep using it, every year and throughout the year. We keep calling and trying and visiting and praying.
Speaking of china, I want to remember this fragment from Wild:
"...the jet-black glass shards that wondrously cover the trail, making each step an ever-shifting clatter beneath me, as if I were walking across layers upon layers of broken china ." (page 281)
I finished the book this week and am remembering this year how much I love reading. A fellow lover of words, my dear London friend wrote to me this week that routines have been key to feeling at home in the city because they provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. How I agree. These weekly letters — this is the first — will be a new routine of an old practice for me of writing my reflections on these days, hopefully in a small way to keep in deeper touch with my friends, and also myself.
Sincerely, Mary Scott
Note: the painting in my thumbnail photo is Child Wearing a Red Scarf by Eduoard Vuillard. Seen, admired, and loved in the National Gallery of Art.