Less than an hour after I rolled (flipped, really) out of bed this morning (flipped up and out like my old Fortune Fish, which I rediscovered and then reburied during the move), my excellent friend and I were on our second trip to Columbus this week, heading to retrieve my framed Wendell Berry poem (huzzah), to choose some fabric for a project of hers (not so much huzzah), and to get her a haircut and sprucing up (huzzah huzzah).
Because I was in need of no beautifying procedures this morning, I had carried with me Kay Redfield Jamison's Exuberance: The Passion for Life (2004), which I'd picked up as bedtime reading last night. And because my excellent friend's salon is my salon too, and because I've spent a fair amount of time and money there over the past few years, I made myself at home on the purple velvet divan in one corner of the lounge: silver Birks placed neatly on the floor, legs curled up under, pillow on lap, book on pillow, coffee in hand. I read and read, engrossed and even able to block out the background music, most of the time.
An hour into my reading, a woman in a smart black and white checked suit clicked into the waiting area in her high, high heels and said to me, "Well, don't you look comfortable?" Indeed I was comfortable, and I did my best to turn back to my book without offending this talkative stranger, who wanted to discuss our dearth of rain (since it was threatening rain this afternoon, everyone was talking about how much we needed it) and what it's been doing to her flowers and her lawn and her lawn fountain. The book is such a celebratory one, and it was such a lovely luxury to rest there without reason to run off, that I didn't want to have to pretend to participate in a world of which I don't even want a part--the suburbs, the lawns, the lawn decorations, the forced cheer.
Instead: a day of real cheer, from thinking about the neural implications of childhood play, right on through experimenting my way to a new salad dressing (a blueberry vinaigrette) and resuscitating my pesto for a long midsummer dinner with my excellent friend and my poet friend. Right on through cavorting with the excellent dog. Right on through watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers tap dance their way through the ship-and-shore comedy Follow the Fleet (1936). Right on through strolling home down the middle of the street, my empty picnic basket over one arm. And now all of my people are, I hope, where they're meant to be, and all is safe, and all is as well as we can hope it to be.
And at midday, a message of real cheer, from my flaming-sworded friend (thoughtful enough to get it on its way before leaving for island climes): a card asserting, "Your life is much more important than you can imagine." There's the comfort, there the grounding for the exuberant life.