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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sunny Seat of the Scots

It has been a week since my last blog-fession. Pretty sure that's the longest I've been away from this vanity table since the get-go.

Partly, the gap has been due to a long weekend invented for the purpose of having Flame-Haired Angel introduce me to Edinburgh. Partly, it's been silence in the face of not having much to say that wasn't immediately overwhelmed by thoughts of what's going on in New Orleans. When words fail me, I prefer stunned silence to meaningless noise.

I feel no less speechless, now, about Katrina and her entourage of suffering and incompetence, but sitting glumly mute ain't helping anyone. So, here I sit feeling blessed, as I do every day, in my cozy study in Paris, listening to music and writing in what amounts to a diary. Perhaps there's un-funny irony in that I'm listening to a band called Dead Can Dance.

Yes, I'm sure there is.

As for the introduction to Edinburgh, I could fill screens with glowing tributes to the place. The only bad thing I've ever heard anyone say about Scotland is that the weather is abysmal. We had three sunny, warm days out of three. So, what wasn't to like?

Answer: nothing. Everything was delightful. Everything.

Most delightful of all were our hosts, the Fortunes, at whose behest we'd planned the trip. There are people in the world from whom you learn lessons of graciousness and magnanimity at every turn. Those people take classes from the Fortunes.

The trip was also notable for being a reunion with one of our closest friends from Shanghai: Shell Huang, who's just begun her MBA at Edinburgh University. (Less notable was the play we saw with Shell, called Three Thousand Tangled Threads, or some such. Part of the Edinburgh festival, it was more interesting than it was wonderful, upon hearing which Donald Fortune sighed, “Ah, so it was Festival drama, then.”

But much else was accomplished in the pursuit of pleasure and exploration, even if I didn't return home with a kilt in family's tartan. Yes, like most white boys in the world, I'm one quarter Scottish. Maternal Grandmother. Fraser tartan is even good looking stuff, and I've got darn nice legs. Ah, well. Maybe next year.

One theme throughout our short stay in Edinburgh was how much older Flame-Haired Angel is, today, than when she was 21: the last time she was in the city. This picture is a duplicate of one taken back then. She's sitting on the exact same rock, 17 years later. I wish I had the earlier pic to post beside it, but I'm afraid it's in Australia. What you'd see, comparing the two, is that she's gotten more beautiful.

The picture above is of the Fortunes' last perfect rose of summer on one of Edinburgh's perfect sunny days. And here's your lucky correspondent (below) with his arm around the beautiful bride of Chen Bin. (Chen Bin's pretty damn lucky, too, dontcha think?)

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