The cats and I write in the mornings, ski in the late afternoons. In the middle part of the day, on these cold weekends, I paint the downstairs walls yellow. The yellow approximates the hue and consistently of vanilla cake batter. If this is my way of keeping sane in a pandemic winter, I suppose it’s holding firm enough.
While I paint, I listen to stories about Sidney Poitier, about the teachers’ union strike in Chicago, about Ginni Thomas — spouse of Clarence Thomas. If nothing else, the words remind me that the world goes on. The first room I ever painted by myself was a room I rented in a house on High Street in Brattleboro, Vermont. I was 21. It was July, and the windows were open. I was drinking gin and tonics. Now, water has replaced the G&Ts. I have two daughters, two books, and I’m imagining a little orchard I’m going to plant this spring. Maybe it’s just the yellow paint (or the fumes) but more and more, I dig down into my imagination, into its deep reserves.
Our cats dream of good cat things: cardinals and tuna on a little flowered plates and sunlight before the wood stove. A loving hand on their furry heads.
Words from Thich Nhat Hanh:
“We have the tendency to run away from suffering and to look for happiness. But, in fact, if you have not suffered, you have no chance to experience real happiness.”