Thursday, Oct. 24, 1996
On Lake Michigan shores, legend has it, it used to be all widows, women over 70, in big flamingo-like boxes of faded pink. A friend told me today that she went to see a woman in one of the boxes, old, a shut-in, but still radiant. “Look,” she told my friend, “out my window. I still have the lake. And every morning see the sun rise. And at night, the moon rise. …”
I thought about how Joel loaned me a new translation–of the Pentateuch, by a Jewish scholar who has made it a wild, archaic keening. “Open it,” he said. I did. The first verses of Genesis, they’re all shouts. Exclamation points: The first day!
Today Sister __ explained to me the title of a book, Sleeping With Bread: “During World War II, there were so many children, orphans, parents dead.” How to deal with their fears? One idea: Give the child a loaf of bread at night to sleep with. The little boy or girl would know: “Next day I won’t be hungry.”
The pink at dawn from Ashland Avenue, where I am, is pretty feeble. Miles away from “the proclamation” taking place on the lake. Wednesday: The third day! But today I think, “I won’t be hungry.” Why? Because I’ll stop staring at the pink phone slips (I can’t return these calls) and go over to the Art Institute. It makes me happy to think that I’ll do this. Though I never do. At lunch, I go to Cafe Baci, gaze at the Italian loaves. It’s like a singles bar, where the goal, or fantasy, of all of us is to “sleep with the bread.”
N., who also is a lawyer, says her discipline now is to do yoga, though another lawyer (male) has been telling her to try … rekai.
“Reggae?” I ask, puzzled.
“Rekai. It means: the striking of Chinese warrior poses. But I do enough of this at work. The thing about yoga is, it frees your body and your mind, it lets you at last start living from the heart.”
Wisdom of the master: Not to be free from the body. But free from the mind.
I’m sick of fighting, too. Cases that last six, seven years. What did Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce say?
We should live each day like the lawyers in Mississippi. By an ethical canon of the Mississippi bar, of which I’ve heard, but never seen: “A lawyer shall return the phone call of another lawyer the same day.”