Friday, January 10, 2014

Heidsieck & Co. Monopole "Blue Top," and ...

Could this be a champagne that connoisseurs would call "feminine"? It seemed that way, compared to another I drank later in the week (we'll talk). It seemed full, round, rich, and eat-able, as if you were to select from a dessert table a cookie for your kickshaw, while the man next to you picked something spare, masculine -- a plain almond perhaps. 

And what nicer way to celebrate the going to and the return from vacation?

I brought quite a bit of reading material with me, so we will have a lot to talk about. I learned that the middle star in the handle of the Big Dipper is actually two stars together, one bright and one faint, and that the Arabs and some American Indian tribes used to use it as a vision test. (I passed! as long as I was wearing my contacts.) I read Fanny Burney -- before there was Jane Austen, there was Fanny Burney -- and afterward was forced to reflect, as I walked around the little lake marveling at the neat houses and pretty gardens tucked away in obscurity (my God, I salute you but

who cares whether you have a bridge and lilies?) -- I was forced to reflect that the society of Fanny's King's Lynn was probably not much more numerous than the society of Grand Junction, Michigan today. What do they all talk about? Of course when she got to London and met Dr. Johnson and his circle, that was different. A bit like going to South Haven and Saugatuck combined, only moreso.

 And there was a full moon, luckily on a clear night.


 There were hummingbirds, whose deep, rubbing buzz seems, at first, like it must be coming from the scariest and biggest insect you have ever seen; there were the roadside flowers, all blue chicory and white Queen Anne's lace and whatever the purple misty thing is below, which Backyard and Beyond tells us were scattered here by Europeans glad to use familiar plants to quickly cover recently cleared but useless ground. Fanny would have recognized them.

And there were swans. When they take off from a dead calm in the water, their powerful flapping wings sound exactly like a motor chugging to a start. We were told that a few years ago, someone got angry enough to take a machete to an aggressive male. (He used to chase jet-skiers, and nip at their backs as they fled, cowering.) I should think there is a very special place in the afterlife for people who behead a swan.


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