I remember in what were carefree days that I didn't recognize as such, when I would meditate in May in St. Tropez, they would celebrate Spring with a little bouquet, a sprig of Muguet, which I didn't know at the time, either, was Lilies of the Valley. It would be given to all present in the charming village, which it still seemed to be in May,the tourists not having yet invaded, with a ribbon tied to a tiny card saying 'Profitez de la vie', meaning 'Enjoy Life.' I had first heard that expression in French when I was visiting there-- it was still possible to do that for centimes, and I used to go and do silences and swim among the calming Maritime Pine, shading my anxieties like leafy umbrellas-- and Grace Kelly drove off her cliff, and the assistant concierge at the little hotel I stayed at in Ramatuelle, as the whole Cote d'Azur grieved, said "Il faut profitez de la vie." In other words, you better.
Well, today is the last day I will be the age I am, so I am summing up, as Mr. Maugham would put it--does anyone read Mr. Maugham anymore?--remembering all the wonderful friends I have made in these interesting years. When I first started studying spiritual things-- you don't have to gag, I have been less than faithful-- Jack, my Jewru(new book out: The Wise Heart) in his always moving talks quoted a lot of Castenada, so I think it was Castenada he cited as dissing the idea of things being blessings or curses, but just seeing everything as what it is, meaning life, with all its challenges and changes. In spite of this wisdom, I do consider my life has been studded with blessings, meaning the places I have been able to go when they were still go-able, and the friends I have made in the course of my travels, both in the world and in inner space. There was Diane who introduced me to metaphysics, and Pippa who introduced me to Orient Express, and Gerrie Pitt who showed me through the less-than hallowed halls of the Mandarin in Hong Kong, and several fine locales to follow, Sandy whom I loved best of all who was murdered in Bali, so she won't get this e-mail,unless of course there is an Afterlife and it's electronically connected. The rest of you have been on my computer and in my heart for a number of years now,so I will not cite you one by one, but you have all and each given me moments or days or years of warmth and connection, and I thank you.
Yesterday was a good friend's birthday, so to celebrate her I went through the driving and blowing rain, torrential it was, a leftover either from Myanmar or our own tornados, tearing my umbrella apart, to see Iron Man as she told me I should do, and I was happy to sit there soaked watching Robert Downey, Jr. make a new life for himself, since I knew his grandparents(Good God!) the Dorsos, when Dick ruled showbiz and Betty ruled fashion, and I am relieved he took himself by the back of the collar and worked it out. I would wish the same for my own children with whom I am not celebrating Mother's Day/my birthday, but that is another story, actually probably a novel, but one I don't think I will write, as I am weary of children that disappoint and parents who are surprised by that. I have in the past year become entranced with the simple miracle of speech, how it comes into the brain of little people and grows into thought, and eventually words that can lift your soul, and keep you floaty for days. So that takes care of Silas, who is four, and as fine a spirit as I have ever encountered, a personal gift to me, I think, from the mischievous angels who can't wait to see how we recover from the slings and arrows of outrageous spawn.
I have also, I think, come at last to enjoy New York, expecting nothing from it, finally, hoping for nothing from it in the way of acceptance, validation or good weather. It is enough to have watched the park burgeon with Spring, first the daffs, yellow and white dazzling, now withered, which is what happens to all things Spring, then the greens, bursting, growing daily from their shoots, then the great sweeps of white and salmon azaleas, and always and lingering, the little white flowers that I didn't know what they were till I walked with an actress friend and she started singing 'White Coral Bells upon a slender stalk, lilies of the valley deck my garden walls,' a song we used to step-sing at Bryn Mawr, the delicate blossom I finally recognized as Muguet.
So il faut profitez de la vie. I certainly feel that I have. Having all but completed the novel that caused me suffering in L.A. where, if I do not write I have little to make me happy but sushi and Silas(and of course you) stunned at New York's making me more charged up and creative, so you never know, I rest my case.
Thanks to all of you for all you have given me, and all I have been lucky enough, I hope, to receive with some degree of grace when I listened, and was able to give back when I could. We are all part of each other's story. Happy Birthday.