Monday, June 8, 2015


In Palm Springs, I'm staying at a condo complex on Racquet Club Road.

From my host: "The stars I'm aware of who lived here are Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kirk Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, and Tab Hunter. In the 40's the Racquet Club (that derelict property just north of my condo complex) was Ground Zero for the Hollywood community. It was founded by Charlie Farrell, who has a street named after him in PS. The Racquet Club is where Marilyn Monroe was "discovered" at the swimming pool. In the early 70's, when the paparazzi started coming to Palm Springs, the stars needed a refuge from the camera lens. So, they built three condo complexes adjacent to the Racquet Club: The Colony, the Club Condos (my complex), and the Garden Villas. The stars could "make the scene" at the Racquet Club and then retreat to the privacy of their little near-by condos. Up to the late 80's the Racquet Club would provide "room service" to residents of the condos. If you notice, outside my front door is a little clip. That clip was used for room service orders in the hey-day of the Racquet Club.Stars such as Kirk Douglas,"

Wild, right? So not what I think of as "my style," which tends toward the more picturesque and inconvenient, the better I like it.

But you know what? A person can get used to wall-to-wall carpet, a state of the art dishwasher, a ten-foot long vanity with two sinks in the bedroom, and mirrored ceilings way faster than you might think.

In fact, I fell in love with the place straightaway. What's not to love (and be insanely grateful for)? The forageable, unbelievably sweet grapefruits that fall from the trees each night (unfortunately, citrus season is past but there are still a few strays). The birds who come to sing from the patio each night. The almost complete quiet (especially during the week). The views of Mt. Jacinto, the wind rustling through the palms, the good water pressure in the shower (of course we keep those showers short: draught!).

One of my prayers is to have a view of a tree as I die.

I'm always super sensitive to and feel a special affinity to trees and though I am still mourning the loss of "my" pepper tree in Silver Lake, since then I have been graced with a eucalyptus tree, several birds-of-paradise, and now olive trees, fan palms, and bougainvillea.

Lying in bed reading the other afternoon, I looked out the sliders and noticed the profound beauty, the breathtaking vulnerability of a spray of overhanging grapefruit-tree leaves (see pix above).

You could make a whole life out of watching the light filter through leaves, the gentle flutter of leaves in the breeze, Christ's "I am the vine, you are the branches."

Later I pondered the way windows make a natural frame, and that what's on the other side, if we're patient enough to develop our imagination and heart, is so infinitely more exciting and instructive than what's often inside, say, a TV frame.

The mirrored ceilings add several more dimensions that I haven't begun to fully plumb except to see that they serve to multiply the greenery, the leaves, the frames, the reflections (outer and inner).

Ever more alone; never alone. Such is the mystery!


  1. From a book on the French painter Pierre Bonnard called Bonnard: Shimmering Color:

    "Invited to visit the Louvres in the company of Georges Salles, director of the French museums, [Bonnard] gazed in delight at the nearby riverside quays in the evening light, confiding to a young assistant curator named Jean Leymarie that 'the most beautiful things in museums are the windows.' "

  2. "You could make a whole life out of watching the light filter through leaves, the gentle flutter of leaves in the breeze, Christ's 'I am the vine, you are the branches.'"

    Are you familiar with the famous passage, from Annie Dillard's Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, about "the tree with the lights in it"?

    1. No--will search it out, thanks, Dianne!


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