Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Hope and Hop
And so here is a last picture of Iris stateside, well equipped my darling, for this next chapter: pink beret that actually says "Paris" on it along with the Eiffel Tower: check; swank satchel packed with Mr. Popper's Penguins: check; new watch that totally tells time: check; iPod with French folk songs: check. And in all this, what fills me with gladness in this picture is how her satchel turns her little t-shirt which reads "Hope" into a message of "Hop." A nice little surprise, that's all - something to put a little skip in our step as we come back from this difficult week-end. We were able to e-mail her and her dad that Darwin had a great vet's appointment: that he's healthy, although taking antibiotics just to protect him further, that he'll be ready for a companion in about 10 days, and that his proud little tail and his really loud purr bode very well indeed for a lifetime of adventure.
And he's settling in, is Darwin. With tremendous liveliness and affection. Oliver is overjoyed and Eleanor honored but uncertain - he nuzzles and paws and purrs and it's not so much the memory of Miss Frizzle that's going away as that presence of death that's dissipating. Darwin's scamper seems to defy it somehow. I've been screening many a Crusade movie for my "Crusades: Fact, Fiction, and Film" class (today: Youssef Chahine's 1963 Saladin) and with the many Baldwins involved in the Crusading history of Jerusalem, I've slipped and called him Baldwin several time - the name shares just enough letters with Darwin I suppose. Though he could be a Lion-Hearted if ever there was anyone in our household who could be.
Times when someone in this house is away, we always find ourselves living half here/half there - maps of India and lots of Indian food cooked over the summer during Mac's travels, now huge maps of Paris and Berlin on the dining room wall frame dinner conversation. The Paris map has Metro lines super-imposed which let the mind wander. They're staying at the Opera Cadet on the Right Bank (it always cracks us up how our school insists on these fine hotels for the student trips - I'm done with youth hostels, but come on, whatever happened to the shower-down-the-hall hotel experience?). No complaints, posh is nice. They're sleeping now and tomorrow Mac will continue to show students 19th century Paris (his course) with a tour of the Opera Garnier (nice!).
It would be nice to start thinking and writing about classes and this article I'm so excited about writing, but for now, it's just nice that things are nice. Darwin purrs on my lap, there's a bit of reading about Reynauld de Châtillon as the elephant of God before bed, and then, yes, rest.