Wednesday, July 21, 2021

In love with Margaret Renkl

A quick note because I share everything with you, almost, to say that I am partway through the most exquisite book. I discovered Margaret Renkl through her op-ed columns in the NYT, so ordered her memoir, "Late Migrations: a natural history of love and loss," from the library. I've read 100 pages and find myself making a noise as I finish another short, gripping chapter, a sigh of wonder at yet another gorgeous piece of writing and thought. The chapters are quick snapshots of her childhood, blended with essays about her life now seen with a naturalist's eye, as she writes about the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and snakes that populate her garden. With beautiful illustrations by her brother Billy.

It's rich and filling - a banquet.    

Yesterday's treat: the book club, six men who all LOVED MY MEMOIR. They wanted to talk about paths to publication, about what it was really like at L'Arche, about why I reveal so much of myself so bravely in the book. "Because that's the job of a memoirist," is always my answer, but we also discussed how doing such a thing is easier for women than for men, generally. We laughed and talked for an hour and a half. It was grand. And they say their wives also loved the book and want it for their book clubs. Wouldn't that be amazing? We'll see. Let us hope. 

Today's treat: on a perfect day, sunny but not too hot, I went swimming in my friend Toronto Lynn's pool, which is like a grotto. She has created a lovely garden which also has a small pond which, while we were eating on the deck, a young raccoon came to visit. We watched a father cardinal feed his youngster on one of her trees. And then we plunged into the cool water - my first swim of the year. She has been going through radiation treatment for breast cancer, but you wouldn't know it; her energy and cheer are unchanged. 

Blessings, all round, today. 

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