Armchair Peregrinations

May 20, 2002

What a splendid and beautiful, springlike day in Charleston. So cool for this time of year. Clear blue skies, brisk winds, small, puffy clouds, and air as transparent and clean as any I have experienced in a long time. The light was golden all day, and especially this afternoon. I love days like this. I want them to roll on and on and never end. But end they do, and today's faded into a sunset over the Ashley River, as we took a drive along the Battery after supper.

May 19, 2002

The past two days have been windy, cool and rainy. Last night, all evening, the wind blew, softly rattling the window panes. I love that feeling of anticipation and mystery which the wind brings with it.

Right now as I write, the oak tree outside my window is bending in the wind, the pane is rattling, and it feels very cozy and nice to be indoors. When it is sunny and bright out, as it is 99 percent of the time in these drought years, I feel guilty being inside, and it is less pleasurable. I keep thinking I need to go to the nature preserve and do a bit of walking, or head to the beach and lie out by the ocean listening to the waves and daydreaming. I think I am losing the capacity to be content indoors -- away from the computer -- and in my recliner chair in the living room just listening to CDs and enjoying doing nothing. I have to reclaim that. And, realize that it is good, in fact, just to do nothing.

May 12, 2002

The last of the legustrum blooms are appearing on the bushes near work, and I pass by them and invariably bend over to get a whiff. This always takes me back far in the past to my childhood. I stop on a busy street, traffic whizzing by, and smell the legustrum. I am always so sorry when it is gone. It is the smell that floods my senses with quick memories of my youth and later. The associations have remained strong all these years. Why I am this way about that particular plant, I do not fully understand.

May 11, 2001

Drove to the nature preserve yesterday afternoon about 1:30 on a hot day that had every appearance of being mid summer. It's only May, but there was that hazy, smoky pall in the air, the humidity was high, and the winds elusive, that is until I reached the open waterfowl resting area, the former flooded rice fields. There the wind was fairly steady and cooling after my walk through a section of shaded woods.

I sat on a bench under an oak tree and enjoyed the smells of the marsh and earth, the wind transporting memories to me from far back in my past. There was that ripe, fecund, heavy, dense, and heated feeling in the air. Again, it was summer that had come early, and I could imagine myself back at the lake swimming when I was a kid on summer vacation. The water in the rice canals was low, but the tide was coming in. I watched birds soaring on air thermals, and daydreamed a bit, but left after about 30 minutes. It was too hot to do any major walking around the trail. This may be one of the last visits out there for the season, unless I go early in the morning when it first opens.

May 8, 2002

I looked around the other day in the bright sunshine, on an early May morning and had to marvel at the transformation. The trees were fully leafed out. The azalea blooms were long gone. The day was starting to get warm. I felt that undefinable shift, the transition to another season. I stood there while summer made a brief appearance. It seemed as if I had just yesterday been enjoying early spring. Now that all seems like some gauzy, distant memory. How strange.

May 4, 2002

Unexpectedly, we had a thunder and lightning storm last night about 10, and the winds whipped up and the rain cam down hard, and I remember feeling that it was such an odd sensation to hear the rain in these drought times where the days go on and on without a trace of rain. We need to have many more of those storms.

I walked to the laundry room about midnight, after the storm had raced off to sea, and exulted quietly in the peacefulness and the freshness of the air, the way it smells only after a good rain has washed the atmosphere clean. Being out in the fresh air made me grateful once again that I don't live in a city that is afflicted with smog and dirty air. Living right near the sea, our air seems to be cleaner than most places.

May 2, 2002

College of Charleston,
May 1, 1:15 pm

A windy and warm day at the college garden during my lunch break. The students are leaving campus after final exams and it's beginning to take on that near deserted summer appearance that makes me a bit sad. I will miss the energy of the youth when I am here in coming months. With the streets and walkways crowded with students, a sense of aliveness, energy and possibility permeates the whole downtown area, especially in spring.

There's a soft breeze blowing now. The birds are singing and the first gorgeous yellow and white flowers of the summer have appeared in the lily pads of the goldfish pond. Flowers on the magnolia tree in front of me are just beginning to bud. Hints of summer are all around me, even though spring is still relatively young, this early in May.

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