The first thing I looked for this morning was the 6 to 8 inches of snow that wasn’t there. I was almost disappointed that the storm hadn’t materialized, though I would have had to coax Oliver’s paws into those silly cerulean rubber booties, which is a pain. Is this nor’easter going to be the last threat of big snow? Is warm sun around the bend? How are the hundred or so tulip, jonquil, yarrow, and iris bulbs I planted last October doing in the frozen earth up in the Northern Catskills? I hope no critters ate them as treats.
Slush, rain pattering—
We walk out, cerulean
booties on dog feet
The painting above is courtesy of my favorite artist, Pierre Bonnard.
Oliver’s been extra antsy today. He can’t get enough play, treats, socks, or balls. And he won’t leave me alone when I try to be quiet and read or write or just scribble and ponder.
The weather’s dark, rainy, and indistinct. I waited until the late afternoon to go out, and I didn’t stay in the open air long, even though it’s warm (50ish degrees) and soft on the skin. The rain was almost gone by the time I emerged with Oliver on the street.
The lack of light and contrast between light and dark gets to me. I become blue and unsure of myself and my path. I worked on a haiku about a homeless man, which didn’t make me feel any better.
On a day like today, the best thing for me would be to go look at paintings by a great colorist like Bonnard, whose settings and colors and women and dogs make me endlessly hungry for more life and more color.
I loved Bonnard before I had a dog. This is probably why I never noticed the dogs in his paintings or knew that he had done quite a few paintings of dogs, including poodles and greyhounds. Once I got Oliver, all images of dogs intrigued me, so I was particularly happy that Bonnard had rendered them in his own unique way with his paint brush.
Here are just a few of the Bonnard paintings I love. They cheer me up for some reason. If you’re feeling blue too, I hope they make you feel better.
I’m not sure whether to be glad or sad that the city snow drifts have disappeared. In the city, the snow begins with astounding purity but is soon so dirty and dog-paw-befouling, it’s hard to imagine that the two snows are the same element.
I do miss watching Oliver bound about at Amster Yard on East 49th Street in the untouched snow as I threw him snowballs that dissolved before he could touch them.I wish I had taken a photograph of him thigh-deep (he’s a mini poodle, after all, though a tall one–a big mini, I say) in the snow drifts. He has to use a lot of energy to rise up and down, in and out of the snow.
My haiku-a-day promise to myself has been productive, if not entirely satisfying. To get the immensity of this cosmos, outside and within, into three short lines is a challenge. The form shows me just how verbose my writing can be. My goal now is to use as few words as possible. Here is one recent attempt:
Dog star, your sapphire signature piercing cold air: Is beauty worth it?
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI) and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)
Oliver and I are relaxing together at the dog park. He likes to observe the others–dogs, kids, adults, and cars passing by. At six and a half, Oliver is more standoffish, less apt to play, though he still enjoys some catch. He’s in bad need of a haircut, and so am I, but we’re not worrying about that right now.
Saturday, I did a little basking with the dog outside until the wind started to whip things up. Today, O and I were back to walking our desultory way through the 30-degree air in our coats to the dog park, our illusions dashed by the persistent squirrel-fur hues of the urban out-of-doors.
As a child, I knew that the colors and substances of New York City parks were impoverished. The tan and gray cement sandboxes and pools, the sprinklers and the hydrants flooding tar beaches, the institutional green see-saws, the grim monkey bars.