April 24th, 2008


Berne, Texas

Berne (pronounced, as I've said before "Burney") Texas is what my mother (born up the road a piece in DeLeon), would call a wide place in the road. It's maybe four streets wide, perhaps 3 miles long, and boasts a population of approximately 4,000 souls, give or take a few hundred.

It's summer here, by my standards, anyway. The roses are blossoming, the privet is intensely fragrant bloom, the wild flowers are going by, but still presenting lovely little surprises in the verges of the roads. The weather veers between humid and very warm indeed (in Texas, nothing below 90 counts as hot, and I don't think it's gone much above 80, "very warm" will just have to do).

I suspect Ellen has posted all about our hike in the nature preserve. Perhaps she even remembers the name of it. Wait, I have it! Cibolo Creek. Lovely place. Huge cypress on either side of a clear running stream, lots of rain lilies and wild peas and evening primrose. The bluebonnets have mostly gone by, and my friend Becky said they weren't much to write home about anyway, because there hasn't been a lot of rain.

Becky is a great influence in my life. She taught me everything I know about cooking and gardening, years ago, when we were grad students in Boston. Later, she kept chickens in Sudbury and her twins provided me with the first small children I'd ever had in my life. She's a downright, practical, remarkable woman, and I modeled Elinor in Through a Brazen Mirror on her. Spending time with her and her husband again has been a wonderful, if slightly disconcerting, experience for all concerned. People change in 25 years, you know?

As I sit and type this on the gallery of our pleasantly unpolished hotel, I'm watching a woman of a certain age and weight, dressed in shades of turquoise from head to toe, circumnavigating the town green on a thing like a three-wheeled scooter, around and around, over and over, swaying gently from side to side to propel the thing forward. It's very soothing.