I returned this week from a wonderful vacation. Away for two weeks, it has been years since I took that long a vacation and it really allows one to shed all the stress of work and life at home. My first visit to Barcelona and I found it delightful and fascinating. I was very taken by the genius of Gaudi. We visited the Costa Brava for a few days and it was a dramatic landscape with twisting mountain roads down to the Mediterranean. Off we went to London and a run from Piccadilly Circus through Green Park and into Hyde Park on a beautiful Sunday, what a delight. We were joined by our three daughters, two of their friends, my mother and my mother-in-law. Surrounded by females I felt quite the fortunate fellow (yes,even with my mother-in-law, whose company I enjoy immensely). The highlight, however, for all of us was a stay for one full week at Fairlight Hall near Hastings. Designed by the designer of Hyde Park in 1850, Fairlight Hall is a magnificent 70 acre estate with gardens, meadows, fields and forests, all sitting majestically above the sea. The home, based on Battle Abbey is a fairy-tale castle. Our hosts, the Kowskis, were generous and gracious. We ate breakfast in the courtyard with the peacocks, visited the lamas, alpacas and sheep and picked fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers from the extraordinary gardens, designed and managed by Tony, the head gardner. We were constantly guided by the dogs of Fairlight Hall, the gang leader, Storm was always by our side with ball in mouth. The flowers and dogs remind me of a poem I wrote about ten years ago. I would like to share it with you.
Does a Rose Recognizes its Roseness
Does a rose recognize its roseness?
Does it delight in its own perfume,
In the velvety softness of its petals,
In the iridescence of its coloration?
Does it recoil from the barb of its thorns?
The dog seems certainly to know itself
Content in its licking
Happy to run with abandon
After whatever draws his attention
Showing no reluctance in seeking an affectionate hand
And how am I to know if I am the rose
Thinking I had for so long been the dog
Perhaps both, perhaps neither
Perhaps all possible things
October 10, 1999