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QUINTESSENCE

In August

Huckleberries
SWIMMING, ONE DAY IN AUGUST
It is time now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.

Something had pestered me so much
I thought my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.

I went down in the afternoon
to the sea
which held me, until I grew easy.

About tomorrow, who knows anything.
Except that it will be time, again,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit.

- Mary Oliver

Tomorrow I head north to a cabin on Luby Bay, to the remote tranquil beauty of Priest Lake, Idaho - a long, deep, cold water lake surrounded by the forested Selkirk Mountains. The northernmost tip of Priest Lake narrows to a shallow canoe and kayak thoroughfare that connects to a pristine unsettled upper lake. We hike every year through the spice trees along the shores of the thoroughfare to picnic by the upper lake, picking huckleberries, basking in the wisdom of the wilderness and its quiet. For me, this is the week that restores the soul; the place and time, as Mary Oliver writes so beautifully, for the "deepening and quieting of the spirit."

I am taking a sack of books with me (yes, actual print books, bright and beckoning in their artistic jackets) and I thought I would share with you my mixed fiction, poetry, and nonfiction reading for the week:
"& Sons" by David Gilbert
"The Love affairs of Nataniel P." by Adelle Waldman
"The Examined Life" by Stephen Grosz
"First, Do No Harm," by Lisa Belkin
"Long Life, Poems & Essays" by Mary Oliver
"The Interestings" by Meg Wolitzer
"Beautiful Day," by Elin Hilderbrand

Who knows how far through these treasures I'll get between swimming in the lake, hiking the trails, basking on the beach...but trust me, I will be reading, feet propped on the porch rail in the shade of the cedars, glass of wine in hand. It will be lovely to sail into seas of new thinking. At ease.

See all of you in a week or so.
En Vacance

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