Okay, here's a true confession from someone whose passport looks like it's the 1999 Yellow Pages no one remembers to take out of the drawer and throw away: I am so freaking glad I am not in Beijing. There I said it. I said it and I own it. I am glad to be at Bellemaison in The Den of the Three Colors, drinking Vietnamese coffee, eating walnuts from Sud France and watching TIVOed Olympics. I'm no less of an American and no less of a committed Student of the World if I don't lumber onto a plane, fly over the Pacific Ocean and stumble my way around a major city in Asia. I do not need to be there to love, savor and cherish the thrill and the splendor of the Olympics, although that opening ceremony did criss cross me with longing and regret. But I'm over it. I loved watching the archives at olympics.com on Saturday afternoon. So there it is. Now let's start talking.
Did you SEE Michael Phelps in the 400? What a moment! He has shoulders like goalposts and doesn't part the water, but becomes the water-- the ripples, the wake that quickly, so quickly, can scatter, disrupt and destroy the glassy, serene surface of a body of water-- to then emerge in a high flash at the blue wall, morphing back into human form. What.an.athlete. He rips off his cap, uber-victorious, and scans the crowd. He says later he was looking for his mother but he couldn't see her. This mother is a single mom who raised three kids. She pounds her fists in the air in victory as her only son nails the first trial of his quest to become the greatest Olympic athlete ever. And this is supposed to be about the swimming?
The women's fencing medalists were all American. This medal ceremony was moving to me; we have such problems in this country at the moment and these three pretty girls collecting their confirmations of excellence gave me such respite, such relief, from the despair and degradation that is currently the state of the USA. I thought the version of our national anthem that was used was just lovely. One of the loveliest ever. I cried with the medalists; but probably for a different reason.
I loved watching the Chinese women defend the goal against the Christine Sinclair and the Canadian national soccer team. They are smart and tough, those Chinese! But that's come up before, right? 1-1, if you missed it. Sinc couldn't get around their defense who were half her size.
I'm watching dressage now; the competition is played against classical music, strings. The horse is gleaming ebony, a sharp contrast with the rider's immaculately white jodphurs. The silky tail of the horse swishes as the pair move through the circles and loops that is dressage, becoming one in a prescribed dance with music that has entertained the world for hundreds of years.
The Chow Nation has a major disagreement over Sunday Brunch which necessitates me stepping to the doors to referee; the squirrels screech and chirp in the tall trees as the quail wander around the garden, bathing and noshing. The mountain ash berries begin to show orange and the roses begin their second bloom, heavy in dew this morning. Joe Montana boils the water for Grandma Jo's macaroni salad for Sunday dinner and the turkey burgers await my touch and finesse, honed over many years at the kitchen counter.
Life here beyond the Big Sky and in between the wheat fields and the plains and mountains is sweet, soft, silent and slow. And I like it. Especially today.
The 'Kan EWA