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Point of View: Rites of Spring

Wed, 06/22/2022 - 11:59

I got my first tick bite this morning, on the left ankle, a rite of spring, following hard upon another, my first shower out of doors since last fall. And the lawn mower, which a kind passer-by, taking pity, helped me lift into the trunk so I could transport it, may be returned in time to banish any fears our daughter, Emily, who was to have arrived today from Ohio with her friend Abby, may have had that we’ve gone to seed.

All she need do to assure herself that I’m still in my right mind is to ask me what goes into my margaritas, and in what proportions, a test I ought to pass, even though I’ve not made any for a couple of years, with aplomb. (She says that in such ways I express my love. It’s not words, it’s deeds, I say, handing her one.) And I think she will be impressed that I can, without hesitation, say paroxysmalsupraventriculartachycardia should she inquire again as to the nature of my recently-diagnosed arrhythmia.

It will be fun to see her again, for I’ve rarely known Emily to be downcast. She’s just about always upbeat — funny yet sincere, full speed ahead. I think she and Mary are of the type who would have made it to California in 1846. (I’m reading of the Donner party now, as part of Bernard De Voto’s “The Year of Decision — 1846,” and while my father used to say that the Graves family, 30 of whom joined the wagon train this side of the Wasatch Mountains, were “eators, not eatees,” I doubt I would have held out.

The more I read this book of endless slogging through Midwestern prairie mud, of scaling and descending precipitous mountains with ox-drawn wagons, of parched deserts, of famine, of successive 10-foot blizzards, and still other ills, the more I reach for my squishy pillow.

“It’s so vast,” I remember saying once to Mary as we gazed down the rocky coastline at Big Sur, yearning to get back to the embrace of the trees and the estuaries in Bonac.

So, yes, things are comfortable here, so much so that one wants to stay put, at least at this time of year, rather than venture forth, to Southampton, say.

I consider Emily’s visit a rite of spring too, a tonic, a spirited stimulant like an outdoor shower or one of my margaritas. Intellectual interplay with her and Mary ought to provide adventure enough for one inclined to read of the venturesome while in a recliner.


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