trope #2: leaves of grass

Had another very cool weekend, which I should blog before it gets flushed from the cache (Yatima is pretty much all I have for a long-term memory these days; that and Google). Spent all day Friday at Burlingame again. Shannon and I tanned ourselves in the flower garden while Claire (large sunhat, SPF 30) inspected this strange new life form we call grass. Cian made bombing raids on the plum tree, and Jeremy and Bryan headed out to hunt and kill fine Mediterranean foodstuffs for their womenfolk and children… folk. The O’Sullivans left for Ireland that afternoon and I had to hug them quickly and run away lest I blub. I miss them more than somewhat.

Saturday morning I had my second lesson with Toni McIntosh, and continued to not fall off. Merlin is a terrific pony with beautiful manners and a nice big jump. My muscles are so rusty I can hear them creaking, but I still remember how to sit still, balance in the saddle and give with the reins, more or less. I did kick him in the ribs at one point and he bucked so hard that I ended up around his neck, laughing and admitting: “I totally deserved that.”

“Yes you did,” said Toni.

She is a wonderful teacher, and had us doing a not-unchallenging pattern over a couple of decent verticals, one on the diagonal. She made us do it again and again until I had my legs underneath me and the pony in the tack and everything balanced and forward and harmonious. There were red-tailed hawks hunting over the creek and the sun blazed down. It was a spectacular day.

Laura Miller’s piece on Hayao Miyazaki contained this, for me, striking sentence: “The image of a breeze blowing silky ripples over a hillside covered with young grass might just be his chosen emblem of pure happiness.” I’ve loved that particular image ever since I read Stevie Smith’s “Scorpion”:

I should like my soul to be required of me, so as
To waft over grass till it comes to the blue sea
I am very fond of grass, I always have been, but there must
Be no cow, person or house to be seen.

Sea and grass must be quite empty
Other souls can find somewhere else.

…but at Creekside it’s not just a literary trope. There are actual hillsides there that every March or April turn brilliant green with the spring grass. There are verifiable breezes that ruffle the soft blades like swell through the Sydney Harbor heads. This all conspires to make me idiotically happy.

Saturday night there was an amusing BBQ at De Haro, and Kiki made her essential avocado-and-mango salad. Sunday we picked up lunch at Tartine and headed over to ActivSpace to spend the entire afternoon enjoying the good feng shui of Jack and Salome’s new apartment. The boys played PlayStation games. Jeremy kicked Jack’s ass.

R: My husband is the alpha geek. So there.

S: Yeah? Well nyerr.

Sunday night we started watching My Neighbor Totoro, which is, in my very humble opinion, perfect. As I said to Jason at Oz, it makes me feel like a complete tosser to have to admit that all my favourite films of the last year were Japanese, and all by two (count ’em, two) directors: The Seven Samurai, Ran, Spirited Away. It comes as no surprise to learn that Kurosawa loved Miyazaki. (I am sure the reverse is also true.)

Completely irrelevant aside: Alex used to joke that he wanted to write a play about the man who came as no surprise. This man would walk into a room and everyone would say: “Oh, there you are then,” and go about their business.

Well, it seems pretty funny after three glasses of Jameson’s, I tell you what.

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