Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bird land.

My last day amidst the pelicans and palm trees - back home tomorrow to grey and minus four. It has been a great week. I saw the accountant and the real estate agent and talked twice to the lawyer. Helped load twelve boxes of records that have been stored under the stairs here for many years into Cousin David's car - my Uncle Edgar's collection of baroque masterpieces that Mum couldn't bear to let go but never listened to. Now David has them and is doing research to figure out how to store and play them.

He and I have spent more time together than we ever have before. There's a picture of us taken in Chinatown in NYC in about 1961 - I ten or eleven, he six year older, the youngest and quietest of my father's Uncle Bill's three sons. We've connected on rare occasions through the years, but what a gift that he took his retirement in Bradenton. Last night we went to see Birdman, an excellent if wild and crazy film, a must for theatre people, and then had a small seafood dinner overlooking the water, watching a white egret stalking about on the deck of a boat. We're having dinner on the beach again tonight. I haven't been nearly as alone here as I usually am.

And yet I've been alone a lot and still haven't done as much work as I'd like. A huge editing job, barely begun, the stacks of New Yorkers still not finished. Where does the time go? My indulgence was reading the NYT every day - that took an hour. Walking on the beach. But every morning, I did go down to sit by the pool and write longhand and then transcribe on the computer. The new memoir is now nearly 15,000 words long. That's a victory.

Thanks to the neighbours who lent me their wifi, making this visit infinitely easier than previous ones, when I had to drive to the local donut shop to access the internet. And the weather - just warm enough that I could enjoy the pool, not so warm that others wanted to. Oh the blessed silence down there. And that long long white sand beach. The first blast of freezing Canadian air will be tough.

I honour my mother, yet again, for her choice to winter in this unpretentious, quiet, lovely place, and my father and uncle who made that financially possible for her and Auntie Do. Thank you, all of you, I am forever grateful for the time spent here, for the pelicans and palm trees. And now, I and my brown arms and my new collection of tiny shells and my 15,000 words are going home. Love, Beth

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