So, to paraphrase Paul Simon, the sound of my study is silence. And the joy of it is its massive bay window: three eight-foot-high panes of glass, embedded with rondelles of glittering stained glass depicting, in the left panel, Cardinal Richelieu, l'Éminence rouge, founder of the Académie française and patron of the arts, studiously wielding a feather pen. In the center panel, Penelope sits patiently at her loom with the words Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work) inscribed in the bright jewels of the framing glass. In the third panel, attired in sapphire blue, to contrast, presumably, with the Cardinal’s ruby red at the other end of the triptych, Sir Thomas More pores over a thick volume of either law or scripture, since he was both lawyer and martyr.
A very Christian window, and on a sunny day, my personal answer to the marvels of Chartres Cathedral. When the muse is late in arriving, I can stare at it, dazzled, for minutes on end.
And now, finally, the miracle itself.
Spring. In our garden. Seen through the stained glass. Framed by the central panel, stands a tall magnolia which, as I write this, is heavy with fuchsia buds opening into exotic, erotic flowers. The left panel offers two flowering fruit trees, and the right panel another, each of them for some mysterious reason a different color, one pristine white, one saucy red, one chaste pink.
The three fruit trees will soon catch up to the magnolia, turning the entire north wall of my study into a blaze of radiant color to rival Notre Dame’s Great Rose.
That’s the annual miracle, and, with those propitious buds, it’s beginning to happen as I write these words.
And in a moment, when I’ve pressed the key that will send these words through cyberspace to my blog – and you, with the hope that you’ll forgive their subjective indulgence, I’ll return, refreshed, reanimated and restored, to the task at hand: preparing for my next four guests, whose names (every one of them worthy of a headline) will be revealed by Bravo shortly with the customary network fanfare. This much I can confidently promise you: every one of them will arrive with the springlike promise of a brand new explosion of incandescent color...and maybe even a miracle or two.