I love a quiet place where I can sit and read. Usually poetry.
Earlier this month, I told you about Juarez park here in San Miguel de Allende (tuesday in the park with steve). Even though it is surrounded by the city, the park is large enough to be a refuge from the downsides of urbania.
I told you about the park because t is public. Anyone can go there and enjoy its verdant pleasures.
But I have a refuge that is not public. And it is my favorite reading spot when I come to town.
For the past few years (I really do not know how many), I have driven up from the beach to attend San Miguel's chamber music festival in August. And I always stay in the same casita on Barbara's property.
The casita has almost become a second home for me. Almost like an old girlfriend. I know the joys and the limitations of the place.
One chef joy is the garden. It has taken Barbara years to get it into the shape it is now. There is always something blooming to attract hummingbirds and bees. Her trees offer shelter to a variety of songbirds -- and some birds who never got past the first audition.
The mornings here are almost always sunny. There is a table with three chairs in the demilitarized zone between the two houses that provides a tranquil place to begin the day. With a book and a cup of green tea.
Or, it would if I did not have so many self-declared commitments. There is my morning walk. And events at the library (that may or may not occur for number of random reasons). There are also the master classes associated with the festival.
As a result, I have sat at that table only once. And it was for just a brief moment.
That is doubly bad. First, because I need the rest and I enjoy it. Second, this is my last visit to the casita. It will not be available after I leave.
This is not original with me: in our rush to do things, we often get caught in the vortex of "busy-ness." We misconstrue activity with finding meaning in our lives. When the opposite is true. We find meaning (and coincidentally God) in those still moments of our lives when we feel comfortable just being with our own company.
In that silence we also often find how absurd life can be and how we revel in our own version. Ted Kooser, whose poetry book I am now reading captured that sense of self-deprecating humor in "Selecting a Reader:"
First, I would have her be beautiful,And I would chuckle, sip a bit of tea, and quietly move on to the Frostean "First Snow."
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up. on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.
In a tranquil garden that will no longer be mine. It will belong to the songless birds.