This little four-letter word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.
I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.
Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.
After they finished watching the Bond movies, I figured the next series John Gruber and Dan Benjamin would discuss on The Talk Show would be Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre. But Gruber refused — too personal for podcasting, he said. Disappointed, I rewatched 2001.
Instead of acknowledging the wisdom of leading from behind, the Right jumped on the Obama administration’s handling of Libya as yet another example of at best incompetence. They lost me there.
Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.
It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust this US President.
Nobody from usesthis.com has asked me what my setup us, nor is likely to anytime soon. So I’m just going to mouth off here about it. But first, some background.
On the Leon Wieseltier/Andrew Sullivan spat, Walter Russell Mead seems to want to have his strudel and eat it too.
Defeat in the Olympics bid may focus the mind in the Oval Office where it should be: Afghanistan.
major climax in this sudden round of travels is reunification with Jam, here at Alessio’s place in the country somewhere in Tuscany outside the town of Cortona. She looks better than I remembered. As well as nice it’s strange and melancholy. It’s been just over 10 months since I rushed panicking up the ramp at Ciampino Airport, leaving her temporarily in Italy a little distraught with Davide. Half that time, since May, she’s spent up here in the countryside. This place is more home to her than Tichborne St in Brighton is to me, and now I’ve suddenly waltzed back into her life and it’s going to be all change all over again for her. Here she sits on the balcony, facing the huge rolling hill vista while the last few degrees of orange fade behind one of the overlaps between a closer and more distant hill, while I stand facing away from the view, the laptop rested on a wooden cupboard of some kind. She’s now seven years old. It’s just the two of us now — her mother Maddie passed on two years and a month ago now. But let not the end of the first paragraph of reuniting with Jam be about Maddie.
She looks melancholy, her head through the railings, staring out at the view, but it’s how she and Maddie used to sit at the edge of the yard at the house in Even Sapir, when I think they were at their happiest. Did they look less melancholy then? Maddie I think engrained this habit in her: sleeping outside taking in the view until 4am; none of the other dogs here join her in this. As she does so I wonder whether she feels lonesome for days of yore, to those days when she had her mother to do it with. I don’t think so. I don’t think they dwell in memories like we do. Though do I wonder. Davide says she was mopey for days if not weeks after I left before finally cheering up. Certainly during those times at least she was not dwelling solely in the here and now but feeling a loss of some kind. And now? Just like us, she’s got memories of that loss as well. Perhaps the only difference is that once the healing has occurred, they don’t go back and reopen the wound repeatedly as we feel compelled to do. Or maybe they do.
In retrospect, Maddie had a simpler life; the big adventures of uprooting only came in the last year of her life, whereas Jam has spent over a third of hers here in Italy, with her fixtures — first her mother Maddie and then me — falling away.
Jam and I lack the completely unquestionable bond that Maddie and I shared. That pains me, because I don’t think it will ever get that way. Her way of expressing affection is still as it was: an offering of alternate paws and some licks of the hand; there was no hugely expressed excitement at seeing me. Fair enough. But does that mean she’s reticent, unexpressive or complicated? Certainly Maddie could express much more excitement in a greeting.
After the initial fifteen minutes in the kitchen and balcony we all went for a long hike. The views and the angles brought me back to those happy hikes around Even Sapir and Moshav Aminadav west of Jerusalem. I miss those times more than any (and since I had her and Maddie in other places that I don’t miss as much, then this perhaps should be a clue for us all: twist and turn, home for me should be a moshav somewhere west of Jerusalem).
Now that the sun has gone down and it’s actually a bit nippy (I do get a mild sense of dread when it gets dark in the countryside; I fear the boredom of the long evening and night), it reminds me of the hike we did in Turkey, which in turn reminds me of how much I’ve walked with this here dog. As I said, it does seem incomplete without Maddie, and that’s even without being able to quite imagine any more how it would feel with Maddie. Sadly enough she seems to be lost to me twice now: once in life and now in imagination: I cannot consistently conjure up nor remember the feeling of being with the two of them, Jam the tagalong partner.
Well, melancholy is okay; maudlin is not. Today was Shabbat, which is now over. But instead it somehow feels that Shabbat is coming in now, probably because I’ve been able to see the sun come down, and because last night I spent hanging around that grand institution, Cafe San Callisto, just waiting to get home. There are lovely people there and it’s fabulously humanist, but I would have rather been curled up in a nice bed continuing Andrew Weil’s Spontaneous Healing.
I’ve been looking forward to having Jam with me in the UK, walking with her of a morning in Brighton, then taking excursions with her to Shoreham and even London for walks. But right now all that feels very unevocative. Though as I write the words, it feels increasingly exciting. How lovely to have walked through St James’s Park and whatnot with Maddie; instead it will be Jam. I hope our connection deepens. I suspect however it will not. And that too is okay. My my, suddenly I’m with Jam again.
Saturday, October 13th, 2007
This Trip’s Last Day
Curs to Fate