11 pm 11/9/11

I don’t know much about palm reading, but I have noticed that my life line is about a third the size of anyone else’s that I’ve seen. This used to make me nervous, and then I read somewhere that this can mean that one’s path in life is not certain. I like the thought of making it up as I go along, so I chose to believe it.
Still, there are points that I can spot in my life, moments that seem to change the direction I’m going in. Perhaps it is utterly predictable that September 11, 2001 was one of those moments. I was teaching in Harbin, in northeastern China at the time. September 11th spoiled the taste of being far away from my family, as what had felt like freedom curdled into something more like isolation.
Tonight, though, we commemorated other events. It is our dear friend Deniz’s birthday, the day before Baki starts school and we move to Antalya, and it is the day before the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, the night of the year when the moon shines brightest. I didn’t want to celebrate in the city, so we celebrated tonight with Deniz and Suleyman.
I made a steamed fish, steamed egg with Chinese chives, General Tso’s chicken from Fuchsia Dunlop’s amazing Hunanese cookbook, and green beans in black bean sauce. Afterwards, we turned off the lights and ate mooncakes my mother had sent from NYC and enjoyed the moonlight. It was a moment that I could feel being written as we lived it, and I knew then that I would look back on it later. The moonlight shone slickly off the banana leaves and made the evening primroses glow.
It is so bright as I write this that no flashlight (or night vision) is required to walk outside. The garden is silvery blue, with deep black shadows. I feel an awful tugging sadness at the thought of leaving this place, the pleasure of sleeping beneath these tall pines and hearing the owls call, and waking with the sun to see the sky lighten and blush before the sun blazes across it. We are doing what we feel us necessary, but I can’t help worrying. I feel disappointed that I cannot just forge ahead, but at the moment I feel more morose than anything else.
I will miss the daily pleasures of visiting the plants and watching them grow. We’ve just had flowers on our Crinum, for the first time since we moved here three and a half years ago. Here are the photos of three consecutive days:




2 thoughts on “11 pm 11/9/11


    Don’t feel sad, Siobhan. The future will bear as memorable moments as you have just written. I believe they will be from your growing boys. Seize those moments…

    much love

  2. nina

    what i always find superb is that you cherish every moment and every second much more than i do. this is something so special about you and i am so happy for you and your family. i think all of our lives change when our kids come to school and we all have to make small or big sacrifices. but for sure you will manage and you will cherish the holidays and weekends even more then before! best regards and all the best

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