Sunday, June 08, 2008


My friend Jewel came over to visit today. I apologized for the mess in my apartment. The stuffy humid air. The cats were strewn about like lions in the hot Sahara.

It didn't really matter. We went out onto the porch where there was a slight whisper of a breeze off the lake. We opened a bottle of chilled white wine. It was a lovely Vermont wine Emi & I just discovered at the Farmers' Market—Montcalm Lacresent. A perfect wine for a hot summer afternoon on the porch. The nice gentleman at the market (I think he looks like Don Quixote might've looked) said the Lacrescent grape is similar to muscat, I told her.

"My father loved muscat," Jewel mused. "So this is perfect. White wine balances the vata."

"What's vata? I asked.

"It's ayurvedic. It's an Indian belief that the body is made of three elements called doshas. Vata is the airy, spacey one."

I love Jewel for these colorful bits of conversation. I said, "It kind of sounds like the French word for void or empty, vide." I wondered if there was a connection. If so, I thought, then what she was saying was somewhat true. I'd been in up in my thoughts all weekend. Some of that is good, but too much can be debilitating. You need a balance. The wine, the company, the conversation was all very nourishing–it brought me down to ground level.

We started talking about Jewel's dad. She showed me the eulogy her brother had written for the funeral. She talked about her father's last words and how they made her want to go to start going to Temple again.

I wanted to say, "I'll go with you next time, if you want." But I don't know if that's allowed. I'm not Jewish. And I really don't know how I feel about Temple or vata or death.

I started thinking about Mama Sonia, my grandmother. I wish she wasn't so far away... I hope when we go to visit in a month... I hope, I hope...

Jewel helped me deadhead my petunias and thin out some potted herbs that were suffocating each other (her green thumb balances out my brown, albeit well-intentioned one). She complimented my window boxes—and I was proud. That means a lot coming from her!

We made plans to get together soon. And then it was time for her to go. It was bittersweet. I was sad for Jewel. I was sad, because then I thought of Mama Sonia and how much I miss her and how I wish I was a better granddaughter and called her every week like my sisters and cousins do.

But despite it all, at that moment, I felt serene. I felt glad for friendship and silly conversations. I felt glad for my petunias and basil. I felt glad about Vermont wine (if you can believe it!). I felt glad that there is so much to feel.

So much to feel, right now.



Unknown said...

Soe - Please don't compare yourself to your sisters and cousins, that can be so destructive. You are who you are, and I think you're just about right! However, others can inspire us on our journey, and so if you want to call Mama Sonia more often, go ahead and do it, and be thankful for the gifts of others, who urge us to be more caring and giving. I love you Soe, and our trip to Florida next month will be very special, and we can face things together then, OK? To quote Solomon: To everything there is a time and a purpose under heaven...A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to harvest;... a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to grienve and a time to dance;...a time to be quiet and a time to speak...Mama xxx

Unknown said...

And I am glad that I am the mother of three extraordinary girls who feel to such depths, who love life, and who question such things as 'vata' and 'Temple' and 'death', all of which are basic truths and all of which are so often overlooked because we need to take the time to understand each one. I'm glad that you're glad that there's so much to feel. I love you.

Penelope said...

I love you, too, Maman

jewel said...

I am moved by both your journal/blog entry and your mom's comments, Penelope. Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Most Sincerely,


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