Sunday, May 10, 2015


Dear G —

Happy Mother’s Day! of which is today.

Sweetheart and I worked the yard early then took off for the village on bicycles hoping to catch a friend at home but no such luck. She seems to have a woman staying with her, not wanted, maybe planted by caring family (elsewhere) so she is simply tolerating this treatment, the same way my mother sounded this morning when we finally located her in a new nursing home in Naples, Florida. I said “Florida”, she responded “Williamstown” meaning the “Villa” (as they call it) must remind her of her times in Williamstown, MA. which I would recognize, in my mother’s eyes, which means she’s now wondering why I haven’t visited her yet. This is dementia. A publisher friend just wrote to me, sadly, that Robert Bly is now in that state. The longer we survive.

Glad you got to California; glad someone still gets to California. Sweetheart and I now debate, agreeing fully with one another, California now is not our California, but I bet we’d still have a great time if the season was right and we were right in Big Sur. Alone. With the wilds. It still may happen soon enough. While you were away I had a month of the flu but I didn’t stop and just kept building or tearing down. I removed to the ground, to the last stone, the old duck shed I built 35 years ago, salvaged 75% of the pine lumber that was already used lumber and even slipped out the mighty oak rafters in the shed that I had originally hauled out of our living room and where the bookshop now is many decades ago when I rebuilt the house and ordered hemlock joists to replace these heavy oak originals. In the duck shed the timbers just went to sleep for the last 35 years. They felt just as sound and were just as heavy when I put them in 35 years younger. This time I looked where all the old nails were embedded and chopped the oak up for late spring firewood. Nothing more ideal. The 75% salvaged pine went into a small tool building I built on the back side of the studio and sided as well with white cedar, roofed with green steel, and there you have it. The mowers and bicycles and the snowblower I’ve yet to use are now in there. I did pull awake the snowblower to see how it ran from the woodshed to the studio and I like its power. Except I saw I was moving in 5th gear. I might have tried 1st.

My flu stayed all April and into May with a cough. Then Sweetheart picked it up and it looked like she would toss it off and instead it did a number on her and turned into pneumonia. That’s where the lyme disease havoc on her immune system now comes into light. We got her onto antibiotics quick like and yesterday we climbed Sugarloaf for the first time in a month and she’s about 80% lung power. She had already put in a morning crouched and pecking away at a book sale basement with me so I reminded her of that. The feet and legs get heavy on cement for so long. The bicycle ride this morning was a breeze. But we missed our friend. We did run into a woman who had shared a hospital room with Sweetheart when Sweetheart had the lyme and this woman was in for a mysterious bite (spider). She had forgot what it was she was in for so I reminded her. Younger than us, including her husband, who walks past us without any degree of recognition. The last time we saw him he was giving us the finger from his pickup truck being stuck behind us coming down the steep village hill. And then five years before that he might remember when I came close to side swiping him while he was taking an evening walk north of the village and we were coming home. Sweetheart said, “That was close,” calmly as passenger.  Ah, the neighborhood. A kid in a jalopy just tried that with us on the bicycle ride this morning; he seems to be holding a grudge. You were the last person to visit here. Although Sweetheart has already lost count how many people are stopping at the house, looking, pointing, waving to us, taking photographs etc. all day today. Right now a kid in a coup just stopped, his shirt off, he looks just like Justin Bieber, and he’s taking a cellphone photo of the chalkboard. Up on the board is a quote by former Halifax, Vermont resident Saul Bellow.

Books are still being designed and printed. You’re getting the notices as they clip.

all's well, Bob