Monday, March 12, 2007


The snow has been gone for several weeks now and the warming days have definitely become tinged with spring. This past week it seemed the world stretched and creaked, and finally got out of bed. Suddenly people were everywhere and in very good moods. Giddy even. Especially me. Although the work day continues to keep me running from morning coffee to quick fix dinners in unrelenting overdrive, the evenings, once I've unwound, have sweetened and the weekend's offerings reminded us of why we moved here in the first place.

On Thursday night we heard poet Scott Cairns read from his wonderful new spiritual memoir A Short Trip to the Edge at Cherry Street Artisan. Anthony and Dyan were there as well as several friends we've met along the way. I met Scott last summer when I took his poetry workshop at The Glen in Santa Fe. Coincidentally (?), I found he lives and teaches in Columbia and subsequently we've become friends. He read some poems as well as the first chapter of the memior of which I read three more chapters that night. I finished it yesterday. It chronicles Scott's three journies to the "mystical Greek penisula of Mount Athos," home to twenty Orthodox monasteries and numerous "sketes". Only monks live there and only male pilgrims may visit. He goes to seek guidance on how to live a life of prayer to the extent that his life becomes prayer, to attain not silence, but stillness, to ascertain the indwelling presence of God. It was timely reading for me in that life of late has seemed chaotically out of control with me as the helpless, hapless victim of too many demands. So I am trying to be mindful of the things I know, or used to know, about how to order my life and priorities. Stay tuned.

The next night Scott and his wife Marcia had us to their home for some of Scott's fabulous Greek fare (spinach and feta pies, fish with vegetables, Greek salad and a tasty dish we dubbed giganticus beans) and to meet some artist/writer/professor friends of theirs, one of whom is a Buddhist monk. It was an evening rich in food, wine and conversation, after which we were sent home with gifts of "komvoskini", Orthodox prayer bracelets, for each of us. I got the sense that sometime in the perhaps not too distant future, this place might just start to feel like home.

Saturday held another treat: a all day writing retreat at Carmen's Cottage in Boonville, the next town over (I told you we'd moved to the Boonies) down an old highway that, once it gets past Rocheport, runs through flatlands until it crosses the Missouri River, upon which you take a left, go two blocks and you're there. About once a month, Carmen opens her turn of the century Victorian house to anyone who wants to come write for the day and share work with other participants. Her house offers seemingly endless rooms, nooks and crannies for the writer who desires space and solitude. The upstairs bedroom I tucked away into looks out to the street in front of the house and beyond to the Missouri River. I met a couple of new friends, joined them for a lunch of jambalaya at Emmet's in Fayetteville, and went humming homeward with the beginnings of a poem.

We headed for the Katy Trail on Sunday, mild and warm, stopping in first at the General Store where we greeted people we hadn't seen since December. The mood was festive and we carried that with us as we hiked the trail that, the last time we'd seen it, sported autumn leaves. The Canadian geese were making their way home but they, too, wanted to stop in first at Rocheport. The slightest green was seen leaking back into the foliage.

We've been initiated into the seasons. After a winter described as hard even by native Missourians, this is our first spring. I'd be so bold as to say we deserve it.


Jenni said...

Scott Cairns's new book sounds wonderful, and so does his Greek food. Though Houstonians did not suffer such a hard winter, I'm still glad to see the tree in our new backyard sporting green leaves and crepe myrtle trees flirting everywhere...

Anonymous said...

i met scott at AWP! he was talking to my publishers.