write about Japan because that's what's consuming all of us...the thought of so many people dying, of their homes being destroyed, the families with nowhere to live, the boats, cars, trucks tossed as if they were toys, seeing all those image....I was talking with a friend who said, "How lucky we are," and "There's nothing to do but to do the best we can." She's done a lot of community work, political and community building. And that's really all I can do...since there's nothing, absolutely nothing I can do (except, I suppose send a contribution) about all that suffering.
On Friday, two days after I got back from Tucson, the day of the sunami, I went to the Empty Spool Quilters at the senior center, where I've been spending many Friday mornings with these women. They've been making quilts for babies in the I.C.U. at Boston Medical since 1989. There are six left. And now I've joined the group. Angela has already started making the quilt that she's going to donate to the Chelsea Community Garden for fund raising. These squares are just gorgeous...sewn against a 10" square of newspaper so that very small pieces can be patched on.
I have to say that I was exhausted after those three hours. My first quilt is close to having the squares all sewn together...but not close enough. My idea was red, red, pink, purple, all together now. But I realize that it does make sense if there's some planning. My general attitude is Why Plan? And that usually stands me in good stead, but it took three of us twenty minutes to make more sense of my squares than I had thought necessary.
It is work -- quilting. Physical work. Even though they, all of whom are in their eighties, say it's fun, a good way to pass the time, something to do in the evening. But there's a lot of measuring, cutting, bending, pinning and unpinning, sewing, leaning over, cutting, etc. They laughed when I complained since I am a baby.
I did look at houses in Tucson. Though this was on a busy street, there was very little noise to be heard inside. And it was large, interesting. I'm not ready, yet, but part of me could have jumped into this house if only it had air conditioning, rather than evaporative cooling.
Imaging a yard of dirt and cactus. Bare. Sparse. Dull to look at, really, but it would be a great place to live.
First of all, it was eighty degrees for many of the days I was there. And the park near N. and W's house has a lot going on, including drumming that starts at 3 on Sundays. I imagine that most drumming groups are welcoming, as was this group. One lady, banging on some interesting looking metal instrument, was using oxygen and in a wheelchair. Her daughter must have pushed her up for the afternoon. What can be better than a group that's so inclusive?
If I move to Tucson, I'll join this group.
The kitchen manager in Rincon, the local hang-out, restaurant, grocery store, had this tattoo drawn on when she was older, she said. It took her a year to decide exactly what she wanted , but her niece had a book with an illustration of these wolves. And so ... at that point, she had a job, an important job, so she had to have a whole wardrobe of shirts that covered it up.
Older women seem to like it, she told me, when I slobbered over it.
It's far more gorgeous than this photo.
For the first few days I sat in the comfortable chairs at Rincon, eavesdropping. The conversations were mostly about stocks and also about the viscosity of oil in pipelines. One nice, old (maybe six years older than me) fellow had lived in a Buddhist community in L.A. and had a large part of developing a still-successful community garden around there. After that he lived off the grid, but now has moved to Tucson, for health reasons.
And then one morning, by good fortune, a fellow sat down who obviously had planned to drink coffee and read the New York Review of Books. Well, I thought, this is interesting, everyone else is reading about stocks, and was glad that we began talking. And even gladder that he was willing to take out a temporary adoption of me, drive me out to meet a couple who have been restoring an old adobe house -- what a gorgeous place they've been saving for the last nine years and to see the racetrack and where the bats roost during the day.
It turns out that his wife worked with my friend, N., in the line of small world coincidences. And that they live on the other side of the park where folks learn to walk on tight ropes and juggle and drum on weekends and where we went for a walk with his dog, Gillie................ In case anyone is interested in casting this dog in a starring role in a clever dog movie, I have many more photographs........