All week I've been hoping to head to Maine but all week it has been either snowing, or just finished snowing, or about to snow again, or sleeting, or icy, with terrible driving. So we have put off heading north until tomorrow. The weather man says, a la "Annie": The sun'll come out tomorrow. This is the view this morning from our front door. Tomorrow we will have a different view from a different front door and it will be MUCH DEEPER snow in maine. As I emailed to my son: Great skiing in store. (And my smartass son replied: Who wants to ski in a store?)

So: all week I have puttered around, accomplishing nothing much. We watched a fascinating film..."Looking for Richard"...Al Pacino's very unusual take on Shakespeare's "Richard the Third"...not new, but I had never seen it, and someone recommended it; and I read a biography of Sonya Tolstoy, also not new, and in fact I had read it years ago, but something made me pluck it out of the bookcase for a satisfying re-read. I started working on a speech to give in Minnesota in late January. I cleaned off my desk and then started messing it up again. I watched DVDs of a BBC series called ""State of Play" directed by David Yates, the British director who is to do "The Giver." I cooked a large lamb curry to take to Maine. I slogged through the snow with a friend and saw "Juno" at Harvard Square (a sweet film, I thought, but not as good as the reviews would have had us believe)

Ashley Bryan was to be here last Sunday but couldn't get here because of sleet/snow/ice. He was at the home of friends in Newton, and we always get together when he comes down this time of year from the island where he lives off the coast of Maine.


Here (click to enlarge) is a corner of my office, and there is Ashley in a photo, in good company with a number of other friends. ON the far right, next to Ashley, is Middy Thomas, who illustrates the Gooney Bird books. In front of her (small photo, light reflected on it) my Danish friend Annelise, whose remembered childhood inspired "Number the Stars." On her left, Trina Schart Hyman, my close friend who died it 3 years ago? Two? seems yesterday... and behind her, on Ashley's left, my other close friend Carol Otis Hurst, who died a year ago next month. Trina again, in the front, (next to my son Ben holding his first baby nine years ago), this time with her friend/partner educator extaordinaire, Jean Aull, founder and head of the Open Fields School in Vermont. Left of Trina and Jean, me with my friend Tom Smith; more grandchildren; and then, on the far left, Gregory Maguire with his partner (husband, actually; they live in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is blessedly legal) the painter Andy Newman, and their three adopted children: Luke, Alex, and Helen.

Above all of that, a painting of me in my garden, done by my friend Middy. Ah, green grass and flowers! I can almost remember those things.