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Unmarked Crossings: a poet and her journeys

Last Night at Kangaroo House, Days Six and Seven

I’m sorry that I played hooky for a couple of days and did not write here at my blog. Two nights ago, I did not sleep well, then did not nap all day so that I would sleep well that night. I did. About ten hours. Yesterday I felt great! Breakfast was marzipan tart, with that great coffee and juice. Cannot complain!

I spent most of the day bird-watching out the back window, with time in between for editing and revising a couple of pieces I have been working on for some time. I nibbled at lunch, so by dinner time was ready for a real meal. Bibi and Bob were heading out about the same time that I was, so they gave me a lift to Eastsound about a mile away. They let me out at the first restaurant I saw, and I made my way into Luna’s.

I was so hungry by then, I could have gnawed on one of the branches of the rosemary shrub just outside the window. I kid you not—the branches were five or six inches thick! But a basket of warm bread and a dish of olive oil kept me sated until my salad was delivered. I had not had a salad since I’d been on the island, so I savored every last sliver of green. My entrée was to be Linguine with pesto alfredo sauce and chicken, but there was no chicken! By the time the waiter realized he had forgotten the chicken, I was halfway through the dish. He volunteered to bring me a free dessert, so…well…you know you have to be nice to the locals.

OK, let me say this. Tiramisu is about the best dessert ever. I’ve never met one I didn’t like. However, this was the ultimate tiramisu. A huge piece of lady-finger encased, espresso soaked, mascarpone-laced dessert was set before me, much to my delight and dismay. I couldn’t possibly eat it all, but knew I had to persevere. When I commented on the dessert, asking if it was made in –house, I was told that no, it wasn’t. It was imported from Italy! No wonder it was so deliciously perfect. I ended up bringing about a third of the tiramisu and half of the linguine back to Kangaroo House with me, which made a fine lunch today (with a bit of the roasted chicken I bought a few days ago).

Did I mention that Bibi and Bob dropped me off in town? Did I mention that it was a mile away? Odd that that mile seemed so short while moving in a car and so very long when walking alone in the dark. Pitch dark. No street lights. All I had with me was a tiny little emergency flashlight from the room, which only provided a small pool of dim light on the walkway. Fortunately, a car would come along just in time to illuminate yet another puddle of water I might otherwise have stepped in. After what seemed hours (it was probably about half an hour), I could see the lights of the airstrip. I knew that Kangaroo House was not far beyond. I made it with time to spare before our resident reading in front of the fireplace.

Liz read first. Her poems are of new love and hope. I read a few poems of doom and destruction (but ye, that’s me!). Kate read some new work about her father. How I love her writing voice and humor. Then Bibi read a chapter from a sequel-in-progress about her life in the Adirondacks. Laura showed us her updated work with avian embroidery. We drank wine, ate popcorn, laughed, and enjoyed the company of other artists. It was another perfect evening.

Today (Thursday) was a glorious day. I awoke refreshed and ready to do a bit of the gardening promised for this residency. The weather has been so cold and/or rainy that we’ve forgone getting our hands dirty by helping Charles out with some of his spring gardening preparations. After a breakfast of Kafuti (a sort of soft dough with blueberries all through it) and coffee, Kate, Liz, Laura, and I went out to the front yard to do a bit of pruning, digging, and planting.

Due to a back injury, I am unable to do much that entails digging, raking, or lifting, so I had volunteered to prune the two huge rosemary bushes next to the steps leading up to the front porch. Charles had gloves ready for each of us, along with any tools we might need. My gloves fit so well, I wanted to slip them into my suitcase, but refrained. I started out by casting grass seed along what had been a driveway, but was being grassed in, as Liz and Kate dug holes for some large plantings and Laura prepared to plant some primroses. By the time I got into my rosemary pruning, I took the gloves off so that I could let that wonderful, spicy scent permeate my skin.

Pretty soon, Bibi came back and began trimming the lavender that grew along the edges of the rosemary beds. The scents that rose from both our cutting and pruning were heavenly! When I had finished my job, there was a large brown paper grocery bag full of rosemary cuttings. I gathered some to take home and expect that before we leave tomorrow, others will be taking some, as well.

I would have spent the rest of the day working on my writing, except that the fresh air and actual physical work finally caught up with me around 2:00 p.m. I headed for my bed with a book from the library, The Casebook of Forensic Detection, to read and nap. By 3:30, I was up again, dressing for an early dinner out with whoever had planned to join the dinner party.

It turned out that Liz, Kate, Laura, and I were the only dinner party, but we had a great time at Allium, the restaurant of an award-winning (major awards, by the way) chef. Each of us had a delicious appetizer: goat cheese and pear tart, gnocchi with bacon, and saffron clam chowder. The latter was mine—I’m eating all the seafood I can handle while I’m near the sea.

We ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir to share, which came about the same time as the tiny little biscuits, sweet butter, and sweet onion jam. Our entrees were just as delicious as the appetizers: braised beef (raised humanely), duck, and sole filets. We couldn’t get out of there without ordering a couple of desserts to share. There was a four-nut/chocolate tart and some sort of tart with a crust made with Douglas Fir (yes, Christmas tree needles!). A beautiful evening with windows looking out over East Sound, great food, and new friends.

Back at Kangaroo House, it seems that everyone is reluctant to go to bed. It is our last night here. It seems as if we just arrived a day or two ago. I know I will never forget this time and these people (and of course, my new love, Campbell). What a beautiful place to muse and write, to rest and rejuvenate. I hope to come back some day, but it will never be the same as it is now with these people at this time.
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