… It’s spring. It’s sunny, cool, slight breeze, Garrett Park, Maryland. “The Park,” as some people call it (sounds pretentious to ol’ UD) is in industrial-strength bloom. Many friends, old and new, are emerging for brunches, lunches, and dinners at Black Market Bistro, a few hundred steps from UD‘s house.

And why not? This is the time to be here, a boffo Sunday in the right season, with UD‘s hometown arboretum pumping out its best views ever. Visitors don’t need to know how these tranquil plantings represent endless quibbling and kvetching at the Town Council (Why are we taking down the tulip poplars? Is that cherry tree unusual enough? What do you have against bamboo?…); they only need to breathe in the scent of the viburnums.

All of which is to say ne quittez pas. UD will get back on the blog horse in a few hours. At the moment, on top of her social obligations, she’s got to practice reciting It is Marvellous to Wake Up Together, which she will be reading next week at the wedding of her friends Courtney and Alicia. They asked UD to choose something, and they both very much like Elizabeth Bishop’s love poem.

It is marvellous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvellous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof,
To feel the air suddenly clear
As if electricity had passed through it
From a black mesh of wires in the sky.
All over the roof the rain hisses,
And below, the light falling of kisses.

An electrical storm is coming or moving away;
It is the prickling air that wakes us up.
If lighting struck the house now, it would run
From the four blue china balls on top
Down the roof and down the rods all around us,
And we imagine dreamily
How the whole house caught in a bird-cage of lightning
Would be quite delightful rather than frightening;

And from the same simplified point of view
Of night and lying flat on one’s back
All things might change equally easily,
Since always to warn us there must be these black
Electrical wires dangling. Without surprise
The world might change to something quite different,
As the air changes or the lightning comes without our blinking,
Change as our kisses are changing without our thinking.


‘Course, UD could get the same message across at the ceremony by clearing her throat and singing this.

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