Yesterday, in Shabbat solitude and quiet, I sat on the backyard swing in 7 o’clock humidity and read the New Yorker. And I laughed. I laughed out loud and I laughed fully and I smiled in a way that was almost a release, and definitely a relief.
It’s serious to get divorced and the aftermath is a little like a tornado. You find debris for days, weeks, maybe months. I went to bake challah last night for a holiday that begins this evening – and found that Avy had taken some of the cookie sheets. No matter. I am determined to persevere.
I mixed orange-yolk eggs – oh how I love spring eggs! – with oil, sugar, salt, and then flour and yeast, let it rise in a yellow melamine bowl covered with a kitchen towel for hours. And then as night fell, I rolled out long snakes of dough and criss-crossed them for a beautiful round loaf. I found other cookie sheets. Life does go on.
On the swing, though, I tore out cartoons to keep, one in particular that said, the key to being a writer is to take all the sadness and turmoil deep in the center of your being and channel it into a diet cookbook.
Another: When I can’t sleep, I find that it sometimes helps to get up and jot down my anxieties. And the man’s wall is covered in words like cancer, taxes, stress, aliens. Covered so that none of the remaining wall can be seen behind the words.
In bed last night, I opened Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, filled as his books are with dialogue upon dialogue, and I started at this:
“This is what I enjoy. This is the best part of life. the life of the mind.”
Leave it to Hemingway to make such an assertion in a memoir about hunting in Africa. But I disagree. The life of the mind is the words written all over the wall in an effort to find sleep. True, it is also the most important part of the body when it comes to attraction and intimacy, but the life of the mind is not the best part of life, dare I say.
It must go hand in hand with the sensory experience of being in the moment, of having now, the nuance of voice, the sound of water lapping against itself, the brightness of a morning walk under leafy trees, and the subsequent feeling of the humidity on my skin.
If we live only in our minds, we never truly live. We must touch, we must inhale the scent, we must taste the moments.