Days of Grace and Pleasure


Anne Michael

It is a Sunday morning, and it looks as if it’s going to be a rainy day. The wind picks up in wild bursts that are reminiscent of watching a baseball game when the pitcher throws the ball over home plate. The clouds have lowered so that the last vestiges of sun have winked silently away. Stepping outside to let the dogs in from their morning romp in the dewy grass, I noticed that the birds have gone silent, as though hunkering down to wait out the coming storm. The air is thick and heavy with moisture making me feel as though I am breathing through a scarf in winter, and the smell of jasmine blooming outside my lanai fills my head. The brightest things in my yard are the ripening lemons weighing down the branches of my small tree. I find myself hoping that the lemons for which I have been patiently waiting will survive the winds and the almost certainly heavy rains. 

It is a perfect day for napping at will, curling up with a good book and perhaps some popcorn or a cup of hot spicy tea. It is a day for writing letters or reading them. It is a day for thinking about all kinds of things—mortality, immortality, old relationships and new, the things that live under rocks and the people that hunt for those things. It is a day for card games or board games by candlelight.  

I love days like this that are full of possibility and the potential for peace. It is odd to consider how a sense of peace can coexist with the violence of a storm. During the week, I don’t often take the time to consider the potential of such days since I’m in the harness that allows me to buy food, books, the roof over my head and insurance. But days like today, weekend days, when the hours are all mine to shape any way I like, are a joy, a treasure and a delight. It is a day for storing images for the poems or stories I will write in future days, no matter how tiny those images might be. I imagine I feel what Michelangelo must have felt when he was picking the marble to carve the Pieta or his statue of David, the marble telling him what it should be, what it could be.

Because a Florida storm writhes and pushes its way through the heavens, it is a day to be prepared. Candles and matches are put within reach. The books I want to read are removed from the darker recesses on the shelves and stacked where I can get to them in the event of a power failure, as are note paper, pens and envelopes should I decide to write a letter. I’m ready for the day.  

Just yesterday I got a copy of a page from the August 2007 issue of The Sun magazine, in the mail from my friend, Susan with a note that the article seemed to be worth sharing. It was Sy Safransky’s “Notebook.” Mr. Safransky is the magazine’s editor. I enjoy his writing and especially his observations. In this particular essay, Safransky ruminates about dying and getting old. While he is only 62 and young enough by anyone’s standards to have a great many more years ahead of him, he is old enough to see the passing of friends and acquaintances his age, and to contemplate the past and his future on this planet. It is an age where one realizes that the years left are not many, at least as not many as there were at 21 years of age. What I liked about this article was the lack of politics which is what made me stop subscribing to the magazine. Instead, it was a very human exposé of his emotions and concerns as he navigates the slower moving waters of old age that precedes the final meeting with Death. It was quintessential Sy Safransky, reminding the reader that there is more to life than just what we see on the surface and it’s how we deal with those things beneath the surface that matters.

In the end, Mr. Safransky chooses to be grateful for the life he has, for his life’s partner Norma and for the cats he loves so much. He evinces an appreciation for the days that he will acquire till Death takes him to his resting place and if he can touch the God he honors when he is close enough, then he will. I like that.

Just as I have chosen to shape my day and make it into my own particular work of art, reading or writing, Safransky has chosen to shape the rest of his life, however long that may be with an appreciation for the life he lives and for the other people in the world who have made what he does for a living possible.
The storms are going to come, whether we want them to or not. The best we can hope is to be prepared in some small ways, to be grateful for the simple pleasures of the people we live with and love. So on this particular Sunday, I’m prepared to make it a wonderful day, doing things I enjoy doing the most. It is going to be a peaceful day, I think.  I will write Susan a note of thanks for having shared Safransky’s column with me. And I will enjoy the wind, the rain and be grateful for it all, making this day something to cherish.

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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