Archive for November, 2013

Saki and me

November 30, 2013

  “You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon,” said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.

“It is quite warm for the time of the year,” said Framton; “but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?”

“Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it.” Here the child’s voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. “Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing ‘Bertie, why do you bound?’ as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window – ”                                from Saki’s “The Open Window”

My 90 year old landlady spent part of her childhood in Britian.  She likes her lapsang souchong around 4 in the afternoon and has an Edwardian sense of etiquette.

She and I are the only people dwelling on the 18 acres property, of which less than half is formally maintained.  The remaining portion remains as woods and field, as quietly scenic as an English countryside.

Around the end of October, I saw a truck in the field just south of my end of the house, parked there before dawn.  “That would be the Colonel,” my landlady’s day companion told me later.  “He has permission to hunt.”

All day long, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I heard shotgun blasts reverberate throughout the valley.  Rain misted the landscape.  Around 4, a shot close to the house rang out.  Although the truck wasn’t visible, I trusted the Colonel was near.  Not more than a half an hour later, passing the french doors, a man was striding across the lawn, dressed in camouflage, replete with a beret and orange vest.  Just in time for tea, I thought, and recalled that there are moments when life and fiction seem equally improbable.

my french door view

Nomadic Property Management: This must be the place

November 3, 2013

I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve moved. Not thinking about moving is the best policy.

Aside from all the agony and all the losses, moving has given me the chance to create in some incredible spaces. The view from my ex’s Salt Lake City apartment, for instance, perched high on the western hills of the Capitol, is as easily conjured as his smile. Would I have been so besotted if he’d lived in a musty basement, willing to switch from my sweet 1 bedroom in the high desert of Southern Utah?

With no additional evidence beyond past experience, when I learned I would be required to, argh! move again, I did my due diligence: memorizing craigslist postings, querying friends and acquaintances for any leads, working to stay upbeat after touring the down-scale rentals with up-scale rents. Mid-September, nothing was looking feasible, so I put a deposit down on something barely feasible even with the income from an additional, imaginary job. Good fortune was riding with me when the agent forgot to bring the lease and was obviously too scattered to get it in front of me quickly.

That weekend, the unsigned lease for the too expensive place in my in-box, what I’d really been hoping for arrived – a lead. It arose in the quarter I’d expected it to, an acquaintance I’d formed only recently but fortuitously. His mother knew a woman with an empty in-law apartment. Would I be interested?

I didn’t know the woman, only vaguely knew the area, didn’t know the rent or whether she’d accept cats, but I already knew I would say yes. The universe was letting me know I was going to be okay.

More than okay, and more than just me. My new home ranks as one of the most charming apartments I’ve lived in, situated on grounds as beautiful as an English landscaped park. My two cats, Bandit and George, have landed in paradise, a mere door separating them from their cozy home and the great outdoors.

Although the apartment is tiny – more correctly labeled a bedsit – the grounds are a second, vaster room, providing horizons when I’m looking for perspective, as well as sunsets, sunrises, the moon and the stars. It is here that I’m continuing my attempts to be a better person, do something constructive, and step lightly.

My luck in finding this spot has been so overwhelming that there are stretches when I forget to feel gratitude. Or, more specifically, I forget to allow the gratitude to squelch the flares of anger, hurt, and resentment that other encounters ignite. Deceit and discourtesy have disturbed my balance as have decisions others make to further their life goal’s. The ten thousand things. I’m afraid the luck is making me lazy too. Why strain to change the course of events when what’s coming for you will arrive in due time?

I suppose my life will be composed of such questions, lingering discomforts, and a few bright moments of unclouded joy. Maybe that’s why I keep enduring the moves. Because there’s nothing like the experience to rouse you to the quest of searching for where you belong, ending with that moment when you look around and know that the world is your home.