Catching up.

Yesterday morning, I awoke in my own bed, alone in my house, for the first time since June 29. First there was the trip to Iceland with my beloved Clevelander former-student-now-friend; then there was a stay in London with said beloved Clevelander, concluded by a night in London with my beloved Brooklynite; then there was time in Topsham with both of those excellent women; then there was time in Topsham with my excellent Utica friends and their daughter, my mighty little goddaughter. When the alarm rang yesterday, I silenced it and then, instinctively, waited to hear the large voice of a small person crying out, "Mama! Mama! Is it morning yet?!" And I realized that my body was also preparing itself for a quiet creep out to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and a creep back to my bed and books. The return to silence and solitude was both welcome and monstrous.

I am out of here in just over a week now. Yesterday, my new packing boxes arrived, and I promptly taped them into performance mode and began filling them: one for quilts and pictures and my winter coat; the first of many book boxes; the box of fragile things that soon included my large Buddha and nearly all the objects from my main altar. That last was the tipping point: now the house begins coming apart, and now my year here is really coming to an end. Now the books that I'm still fantasizing I'll read before I go home should also go into boxes. Now the essay revisions and article reviewing and report-writing that I do need to do before I go home will need to happen in amongst sorting, discarding, wrapping, taping, phone-calling, cleaning. Now I will close down utility accounts, learn how to steam-clean carpets, eat my way through what's left in the refrigerator. Now I will try not to think about the fact that I will re-enter central London, with at least some of my possessions, on the day after the opening ceremonies of the Olympics (about which we've been warned, repeatedly, not least through this website, about which the Mayor of London himself now informs us ad nauseum, via the PA system, in every tube stop and train station).

The various things I need and want to do stack up against each other in interesting ways: packing keeps me from revising; posting here keeps me from packing; revising will keep me from having to go deal with the bank or with shipping companies. But the up-side of all this playing-off-against-each-other is that these things are starting to get done--including catch-up posts here, which I will put up in back-fill fashion so that you can see some of where I've been and what I've done this month. Among what's to come: road trips, icebergs, black sand beaches, lupins, shingle beaches, and sea tractors.

But probably not too much more of this small person, highly photogenic though she is, so here she is on the beach at Budleigh Salterton: