Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bonne Annee from St. Barth's

This entry marks the fulfillment of one of my New Year's resolutions--to begin writing at least three times a week. And for me, that's always easier if I feel there is even one reader out there who might resonate with my thought--positively or negatively. So, I decided to execute my own blog.

I am, as the blog name implies, nearing sixty, and it isn't what I expected--certainly not my mother's generation's version of sixty. My life is ordinary. I do the day to day chores that threaten desparation unless I have something to feed my soul. Writing offers me an important resource to access that fundamental nourishment. So, in a very postmodern way, I'm hoping that this little note every day or so will be my humble gift to all of you. It is one woman's carved out slice of the planet.

I've just moved to New York City, a place I've wanted to live since I was 18. The move to New York has changed everything. It's as if an entire new world has opened up to me that doesn't require getting a plane to Paris or Hong Kong or where ever. It's not as if I just arrived from Peoria. I've been coming to New York pretty regularly since I was a girl. But I have to say, I am a first timer everytime I leave my co-op for a walk in my neighborhood on the Upper West Side and hear four different languages within the span of one city block.

So, a little bit of bio. Let's see. I've already told you that I'm almost sixty. I was born in 1946 on the prairie ( sounds more romantic than it was, especially the long winters ), educated in Minnesota, and moved to the MidAtlantic in my early twenties with my (then ) husband and two small sons who I adored then, and now. Since then, I've been mostly on the East coast: Washington, D.C., a five year stint in Chicago ( yes, too cold ), then Philadelphia, and New York. More on all of that another time.

I'm visiting friends on St. Barth's where 100 foot yachts are commonplace and bottled water is 3.5 Euros. All that said, this is a most beautiful island. St. Barth's is a smorgasbord of soft rising hills with red capped houses tucked behind lush foliage and a perimeter laced with stunning beaches.

My friends' house is on one of those hills. The biggest challenge I have faced since I arrived last week involves not losing my nerve when I drive my Samarai 4 wheeler. I put the car in low and slam the pedal to the floor ( hope Hertz isn't reading this ). The road that feels like a 90+ degree incline for the last 200 yards before I reach our aerie overlooking the harbor. It helps to have had a Caribe, local brew, before I attempt the whole journey.

There are beautiful people, too, lots of celebrities ( thus the expensive water ) and tons of extraordinary places to eat more fois gras than you could every consume.
Case in point: today, I went to SalineBeach to do some lap swimming midmorning. The beach is a bit remote, and to get there you walk the equivalent of a long city block, up a very rocky hill. As I reached the crest of the hill, a medium build man came toward me. He had collar length, thick silver hairand a leathery tan, fins and goggles in either hand. We passed and I tried to place him.
Well, my new friends, it was Lloyd Bridges. Who knew? I am old enough to remember him in ( I can't remember the name of the series ) his wetsuit introducing a weekly deep sea adventure. I'm not sure, but I would bet he's 80 or so, but he looked great-- as fit his character on the series!

New Year's Eve here is a real scene. All week, the harbor has been filling up with big sailboats and yachts that have cruised here to spend New Year's Eve. Last night, the harbor looked like a Gulf of Mexico oil rig site because it was so full of huge boats.

I watched the harbor fireworks at midnight from the Carl Gustav Hotel atop another hill with a not-very-good band playing BeeGees tunes. It was, as Hew Year's Eves go, one of my best. I'm not sure why, maybe because I just let it be what it was instead of making it prom( more fun to prepare for than to actually attend ) or a life review ( a good idea occasionally, but not as often as I tend to do it ). I was with old friends, friends who can take me contemplative or gregarious. They know my chapters and vice versa. Not a bad way to begin 2006.

I hope to post some pictures of St. Barth's but not until I get back to the Etat Unis, since the downloading via internet is maddeningly slow here.

So, my new friends ( and old, too ), Bonne Anne'e. I'll post again soon...

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