Saturday, March 19, 2011


It's full-moon day today, with a big fat moon promised for this evening, the largest and brightest for some years they say. It was already huge last night. I have no idea why it would sometimes be brighter and others not... Whatever the wattage, the full moon has a magic, not measurable, just there. Wonderful.

Last night I was out with some old friends for supper at the Niagara Street Cafe. Such a pleasure to be with people with whom I don't have to edit or filter or in any way watch what I say. So often we make conversation with others, trying to reach out or to not offend or to put the other person at ease. All these goals are laudable, some more than others, but best of all is the luxury of full human to human communication without political or social worries. It's so much fun to just let go.

We ate slow-cooked Ontario lamb, and also some deep-fried frogs'-legs (from Ontario too? not sure) and duck confit and special Japanese-bred pork. There was a delicious parsnip soup too. It was a treat to have tastes from others' plates...

And after watching several old episodes of West Wing on the computer with Tashi, I headed for bed to read some more of my current book: The Man from Saigon. It's extraordinary, a vivid novel set in 1967 in Vietnam at the height of the war. The book is by Marti Leimbach; it's a Nan Talese/Doubleday book published in 2009. This copy is a bound galley lent to me by a friend. I can't remember reading about the book or seeing it in stores. Did it get noticed? Did it have any success? I hope so. Do go and look for it in a library or bookstore.

This week is new year (Nouroz) in Iran, a time just before the equinox when people eat green and growing things (sprouted wheat berries for example, and fresh herbs) and celebrate the return of the sun and new growth everywhere. New year in springtime makes a lot of sense to me. The Thais and Burmese and Lao have their new year in mid-April to mark the end of the death that is hot season and the arrival of the first rains that will bring the ground back to life...

Speaking of spring, I celebrated the arrival of warm weather this week by flinging open the doors of the house and spring cleaning. No, it's not glamorous, and it certainly didn't advance my word count on the Burma cookbook. But it did feel great. All rugs got aired and shaken and vacuumed, the floors washed, and some non-essentials purged. The house now feels relatively dust-free and refreshed. And a feeling of light airiness as light and warmth return is visible on people's faces as they walk down the street. Despite the harshness of news from the wider world there's a lovely optimism in the air here.

What a pleasure.

Who knows if this no-fly zone will help the democratic forces in Libya; let's hope it doesn't just lead to endless fighting and bloodshed. And let's hope that the beleaguered people in north-eastern Japan get more warmth and shelter and a measure of healing this week. We've all been so concentrated on the nuclear crisis that the living victims of the earthquake and tsunami have rather faded out of our consciousness. SImilarly, the democratic forces in Bahrain and in Libya continued to struggle and suffer this week without the encouragement of the eyes of the world upon them. It's heartbreaking and overwhelming.

Let's hope that there is dialogue rather than bloodshed that results in the end of autocratic rule in the Mahgreb... and let's rejoice as the sap continues to run, the birds return, the snow melt, the green return... There's such a sense of expectancy as all the signs of new life appear. They're like a fanfare announcing that the death that is winter is finally leaving for another year!

And don't forget to take a long pause to wonder at the full moon's radiance today.

1 comment:

cassandra said...

Are you still taking comments? I left one on the last post, but don't see it.