Summer and So Long

 

On Sunday Gyorgyi and I drove back from Canada, where we spent the night falls-gazing and 1c slot-pulling. We weren’t there on holiday, as would normally be the case when August rolls around in most of Europe. Instead we were there so that Gyorgyi could leave the US on her visitor’s visa and finally enter the States on a student visa.

This summer has been such a tumultuous, brilliant whirlwind, but I am so glad to note that school will be starting soon and the rush of students will somehow bring a sense of measure to my life again.

Most of you know that I accepted the position of Program Coordinator at the Wick Poetry Center. I’m thrilled to be part of the amazing staff and the mission of bringing wonderful poets and poetry outreach to NE Ohio. And of course, it all feels a bit reminiscent–like I’ve come back home.

I won’t be updating this blog anymore. This project was always meant to be a way for me to make note of my time in Hungary. I hope some day to turn these posts into a book–whenever I have just the right amount of distance between the old country and my current one for the familiar writer’s longings to stir something inside of me.

I can’t even begin to thank you all. All of my family, friends, readers. So much of my time in Europe was framed by a sense of wanting to document certain experiences for you all to read, and without you, who knows.

Though I won’t be posting any new stories to budajest, you can always find me on Facebook and Twitter. And for anyone interested in following my writing life, pop over to my professional site and say hello.

Cheers to you, Internet–with a palinka of course.

I wish you love and adventure, always.

Brecksville Reservation Redo

It’s been over a month since I last posted. I couldn’t get myself to do it, I’m sorry– since Gyorgyi was so close to being here and I was all sorts of worried, stressed, etc. But she arrived this weekend with Barnabas and all are safe and sound. And today we went for a little two-mile stroll on the Brecksville Reservation path. Feels good to be starting summer in Ohio in the metroparks. The best season for new beginnings!

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Barnabas got a little hot and tired during the walk. When we let him into the little river for a drink, he just collapsed–too hot to drink standing up–and so he laid down and had a few sips. He has since gotten a bath and a few BBQ chicken pieces. Peacefully, quietly moving forward.

Bath Community Center Trail

I spent a lot of time at BCC in High School because that’s where the tennis team practiced. It was always a pleasant place and well kempt over the years.

I’m not sure when they constructed the hiking path, but it was sometime over the last five years. You can now start from the parking lot next to the chief and walk under Cleveland Massillon road, through the trail, up and over many hills to Ira Road, 1.4 miles away.

I’m glad that we explored this little trail because it would be an ideal place to get in a challenging 5K. Or a sled ride or picnic, if that’s your thing.

While of course I want my parents’ condo to sell quickly, but I’m sort of enjoying these afternoon open-house excursions.

Mea Culpa and One Red Door

I have been a terrible blogger. And to all of my loyal readers, I really owe many mea maxima culpas. Since December when I knew for sure that Gyorgyi would have to go back to Hungary, at least for 4 or 5 months, I just sort of disappeared into the terrible, confusing ethers of immigration policy, lawyers, and facing an Ohio homecoming alone. But after a few turns-for-the-more-confusing, things have, suddenly improved. My ancient Catholic bones have a little lingering superstition in them, so I won’t go into details, but it seems like Gyorgyi will be back next month. She’ll have a student visa and a little fat black pig in tow. And I couldn’t be happier. So blogoverse, I’m back!

So it’s occurred to me that now that I’m back and I should resume my life–i.e–stop holding my breath and waiting for the next floorboard to give way. And what better way to do that than to resume my blurbing. So without further adieu…

Two weeks ago I went into hiding because it was my 32nd birthday. What a weird thing that happens in the early 30s. Suddenly, you pass from one digit to the next and it’s just no deal at all. 32. Meh. I like the way the number looks in this font, so that’s a positive. The other major positive is that my parents took me out to a truly wonderful dinner at One Red Door in Hudson. The night began with my Mom putting my Dad’s newly long hair into a rocking red pony.

 

One Red Door is a casual fine dining joint  that mirrors what a lot of casual/quality European restaurants are doing these days. Not tapas, and not a micropub, but a condensed, thoughtful menu featuring local products and drinks. Chef and Owner Shawn Monday, previously of Downtown 140, has injected a bit of joy and comfort (both in the offered dishes and atmosphere) in the First and Main area.

I drank French 75s and ate terrific lobster, along with some notable apps of spicy olives and perfectly cooked calamari. My Dad had the lamb, which was sumptuously prepared according to the chef’s recommendation. And my mom’s grouper was truly unique. I had a taste and we both remarked that we wanted to just drink the reduction. Does One Red Door have a saucier?

I was still on my Lenten “no sweets” fast, but my parents didn’t mind indulging in the chocolate bombe with a vanilla espresso sauce. I had a local coffee and ate the strawberry.

So brass tacks: It’s not an inexpensive restaurant, though I suppose if you didn’t order all of the drinks you could come out for under $40 pp. We came out closer to $75 pp. But I have to say that they didn’t charge us for the bottle of sparkling water. I don’t know if it was a mistake or just gratis, but it honestly made me smile. I will definitely go back again.

One Red Door

49 Village Way
Hudson, OH 44236
(330) 342-3667
onereddoorhudson.com

Indigo Lake and the Great Blue Heron

Indigo Lake and the trailhead by the same name is located down in what I consider to be the heart of the Cuyahoga Valley–at least in the way that I orient myself there. Nestled between several reservations and across a few acres from Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm and the Beaver Marshes, Indigo Lake has always been a little calming treasure, train depot and tree-lined path to Hale Farm and Village.

We went for an hour or so on Sunday during my parent’s open house. I had been last winter and the previous winter when I was in the States. But it was such a pleasure to be back during the warmer weather.

Some days the water does look Indigo–no doubt from sentiments and bacteria built up over millennia and the microscopic organisms that chew on them. Fishing and swimming are not permitted in the lake–even though there are two lifesaving rings buoying in the cat tails. That’s America for you!

Perhaps its my melancholy mood as of late, but I couldn’t stop staring. Melancholy is the wrong word. I guess after all of the immigration battles and lawyer-speak I’m almost entering a state of what could be considered calm.

Hale Farm and Village is at the end of the trail. For a lot of folks who grew up around here, Hale Farm was the signature field trip destination. I find as an adult, though, identifying more with the pastoral.

There were so many people in the Valley that day, but the only figures we came across at Hale Farm were two huge bulls taking a nap.

On the way home, we drove by the Great Blue Heron habitat (herony) on Bath Road. It was so nice to be back and  see the males carrying their nesting sticks to the females.

Last year, 293 chicks were born. I’m not sure what it is about those birds’ particular grace, but it is certainly the single most fortifying memory of my childhood and young adult life. And I think that being back there makes me open up my heart again to Ohio.

Brecksville Reservation

On Sunday I went for a nice walk with my parents at the Brecksville Reservation. As a born and bred Ohioan, I sort of pride myself on knowing the Metroparks and knowing them well. But I must admit that I’ve never been to the Brecksville Reservation. And it’s a shame, because it is truly beautiful.

The reserve surrounds Chippewa Creek and its floodplain, making the towering willows, cottonwoods and sycamores commanding giants.

My parent’s Cockapoo, Coco didn’t get eaten by a Coyote, but I think it’s only because the pearls that my mom bought for her at Christmas shined an intimidating, blinding light into the nearby brush.

What kind of emergency would require a horse to be on the bridge?

The nearby stables, however, enticed with a peaceful meadow full of grazing mares and the promise of spring riding guides.

Visitors can hike the trails and gorge, picnic along the river and even join in regular early-morning bird walks. And in the spirit of enjoying this freak Ohio non-winter, get out and enjoy the Metroparks!

For directions, click here.

 

A Great Poet’s Passing

When I was sixteen, I went to Borders with my Dad. It was a Saturday morning and something that we did on a lot on Saturday mornings. We parted ways at the door, he going to the Lit or Sports or Obscure Mathematics sections, while I headed toward Poetry. “Pick out something interesting,” my Dad would say, as always.

That was a time when bookstores actually stocked books of poetry. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to find a huge binder of Shakespeare quotes paired with sleeping kitten clipart or any number of Edgar Allen Poe’s works, you can probably still find them in Barnes and Noble’s bargin bins. But 15 years ago things were different.

I remember I was sixteen because I was finally an upperclassmen in high school. Majorly cool, in other words, and open to exploring  just about anything outside of the Ohio norm.

I saw her name first: Wisława Szymborska. And then the cover:

And I knew that I just had to have it. I’m not a believer in these kinds of things–but it honestly spoke to me. Something calling from between the covers.

For years I read and reread and rereread that book. And her others, as well. I have many of them in my bookshelves, nearly turned to dust from the repetition of fingers turning the pages.

She propelled me to take an interest in poetry beyond what we were discussing in High School English class. And a few years later, when I met my first poet mentor, Karen Kovacik, who spoke of her Polish roots and her deep admiration for Wisława Szymborska’s work, I felt almost a kind fate in the whole thing. After that book, absolutely everything changed for me. I truly started looking, really looking at everything around me.

So when I learned yesterday of Wisława Szymborska’s passing, it truly shook me to my marrow. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than to guess that her work and her voice has played such a big part in so many moments of my life–personal and professional, that it’s hard to imagine that she’s not out there anymore. Although her poems are, I keep reminding myself.

The New York Times featured a nice piece on her today.

I’ll post just one short poem. I cannot say that I have a favorite from her collection, as it is always in flux. But here is one that I cherish:

Under One Small Star

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.