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The River Diaries

Friday, January 5, 2001

Today the sky was light gray, with the sun lighting it from behind: Perry ran before me, bringing me small sticks to throw. He loves the snow, rolling and rolling, looking around for friends to romp with. He has gotten younger, it seems. Now he leads me on our walks. Soon I will be leaving him for five months. I hope he will remember, but Lee is a love of his and as soon as the spring comes, they will spend weekends in the country, while like one kind of mother, I think no one will care for him as I do. As I write, the sky is already dark and snow is falling again. Di will have a good walk home from Columbia University where she goes to work every day.

Last night we went to see The Syringa Tree, a very moving and powerful play based on a young girl’s growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa. Because Di had spent ten days in Capetown before coming to New York, I had gotten us tickets. Word of mouth is keeping this powerful performance alive and I want to join in the effort to get more people to see it. Written and performed by Pamela Gien, the play begins its story in 1964 with Gien playing a six-year-old white girl — throughout the evening she will become over 15 characters, black and white South Africans, men and women, children and adults, but this is not a gimmick play. It is a performance to remember for a lifetime, with the tragedy of apartheid at its center.

When Di lives here with me, I look at my city with new eyes, at its richness of offerings, at its thick textures of peoples and creations. But from now on, I am concentrating on packing, cleaning, getting all things ready for my long trip.


© 2001 Joan Nestle

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