I am writing to you again from the retreat center perched on the edge of the Hudson River. On the glass, between me and the empty courtyard, is a single leaf that is tipping and tilting in the wind. I’m not sure how it’s attached there. Possibly by the slenderest thread of an industrious spider who wanted a little red roof above her spinning.
From where I sit, I cannot see the river. The river which, if I had to choose something to signify the most contented pulse of my life, is running on under a silver sky, past towns and bridges, out, eventually, past New York City, and to the Atlantic.
Beside me, there are the funniest little pumpkin-gourds, made of paper, I think, sporting autumn blooms—silk nasturtium, eucalyptus, golden rod, and something that resembles a Gerber daisy.
Do you ever feel tired, Dear—? As if you are that leaf, red with hope, but only attached to the glass by the slenderest thread? Sometimes, these days, this is how I feel.
Today, I saw a quote from Henry David Thoreau, from Walden Pond. “I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side,” said he. And I asked myself, what is it my feet wear a path to that is as life-giving as that pond? I am not sure.
Last week, I made my way downtown with my girls and we had tea at a little place we’d never been to before. Tea and scones. The scones were sugared, the big crystally kind of sugar, and very buttery. One had blueberries. Another had pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and the tiniest chocolate chips. There was a woman at a circular table, meeting with artists and writers, the whole time we were there. I was happy it was she who was meeting with artists and writers, not me. I was happy to simply be drinking Paris tea, which I’d taught the barista to decaf (just dip the bag in for 30 seconds, discard the water, then steep for the requisite five). I was happy to be with my girls.
When we left the tea place, I was ready to simply go home, but my 19-year-old begged: “Let’s take a walk.”
Always, these days, I have too many cares. I told her no. But she persisted. “Okay, just to the end of the block,” I said.
We passed a plumbing store. All the fanciest tubs and sinks and showerheads. Beautiful. But somehow, these too just made me tired, thinking on renovations and change. A few stores down and my girl suddenly exclaimed, “A toy store!”
And so it was.
Inside were the most beautiful toys I have ever seen. Wooden toys. Colorful puzzles. A unicorn notebook (which I went back and bought a few days later). My girl bought herself a stuffed animal. Frivolous? It was so soft. So needless. We took the newly-named “Rosie” home.
I ask myself, what is it, besides my many cares, that I want my feet to wear a path to each day, each week, each year? I don’t have answers. But I am thinking about the most delightful toy store, about the river, about my girls, the leaf on the glass, and the pumpkin blooms. And I am wishing, for you, Dear—something delightful today. And answers if you need them. Or, just a question to begin you on your way.