"Margarita-love and destroy"

I just finished Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita. I feel a bit intoxicated from it; I want to turn back and reread it with more care and attention. This first time through was mostly for plot. I had to struggle with who was who and how they were connected. I still don't understand all of the connections and relations. I need to let the book settle within me a bit, but I want to include some enticements and some support for the curious reader.

Margarita's flight:
Margarita gave the broom another upward prod, and the mass of rooftops fell away, replaced by a lake of quivering electric lights. Suddenly this lake rose up vertically, and then appeared above Margarita's head, while the moon shone beneath her feet. Realizing that she had turned a somersault, she resumed her normal position, and when she turned to look, she saw that the lake was no longer there and that in the distance behind her there remained only a rosy glow on the horizon. A second later and it, too, had vanished, and Margarita saw that she was alone with the moon, which was flying above her to her left. Margarita's hair continued to stand up like a haystack, and the moonlight whistled as it washed over her body. Judging by how two rows of widely spaced lights below had merged into two unbroken fiery lines, and by how rapidly they vanished behind her, Margarita surmised that she was traveling at monstrous speed and was amazed that she was not gasping for breath.

The Queen:
The march was being played in Margarita's honor. She was given the most gala reception. Diaphanous mermaids stopped their round dance over the river and waved to Margarita with seaweed. Their moaning salutations carried out over the deserted, greenish shore and could be heard from far away. Naked witches jumped out from behind the willows, formed a line, and began to bow and curtsy in courtly fashion. A goat-legged creature rushed up to Margarita and kissed her hand. Spreading silk on the grass, he inquired whether the queen had enjoyed her swim, and suggested that she lie down and rest.

Satan's ball:
Margarita's head began to spin from the smell of the wine, and she was about to leave when the cat performed a trick in the pool which detained her. Behemoth cast a spell on something near the maw of  Neptune, and hissing and bubbling, the bubbly sea of champagne drained from the pool at once, and Neptune started spewing forth a foamless, bubble-less, dark-amber wave. The ladies shrieked and squealed, "Brandy!"--as they rushed away from the edges of the pool and took refuge behind the columns. The pool was filled in a few seconds, and the cat, after turning three somersaults in the air, landed in the billowing brandy. He crawled out, shaking himself off, his necktie shrunk, his opera glasses, and the gilt on his whiskers gone.

The Moon:
Night began covering the forests and meadows with its black kerchief. The night ignited sad little lights somewhere far below, alien lights that were no longer of any interest or use either to Margarita or the Master. Night overtook the cavalcade, spreading over them from above and scattering white specks of stars here and there in the saddened sky.
Night was thickening, flying alongside the riders, grabbing at their cloaks and pulling them off, unmasking all illusions... And when the crimson full moon rose up to meet them from behind the edge of the forest, all illusions vanished and the magical, mutable clothing fell into the swamp and drowned in the mist.

Cast of characters (I compiled this for my own sanity while reading. It is not exhaustive and may not be 100% correct):

Berlioz: literary editor (Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz or Misha)
Ivan: poet (Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyrov or Bezdomny)
Rimsky: financial director of theater
Varenukha: theater manager (Ivan Savelyevich)
Latunsky: the Master's editor
Styopa: theater employee; Berlioz's roommate (also Likehodeyev)
Andrei Fokich: bartender at Variety Theater
Vasily Stepanovich Lastochkin: bookkeeper of theater
Prokhor Petrovich: chairman of the commission
Anna Richardovna: Petrovich's secretary
Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoi: chairman of the house committee
Maximilian Andreyevich Poplavsky: Berlioz's uncle
Woland: Satan
Korovyo: black magician, Woland's retinue
Hella: Woland's witch
Abaddon: figure Woland's retinue
Behemoth: the cat; Woland's retinue
Azazello: Woland's assistant
Natalya: Margarita's maid
Nikolai Ivanovich: Margarita's downstairs neighbor


the woes of a lazy gardener

My Catholic guilt is trying to poke out it's ugly little head. I will let the guilt speak for one line:

I am a lazy gardener.

Now, I will defend with this: I dream of a lush garden brimming with vegetables but have found no time to do anything to get there, because I've been too busy trying to host a shower on the East coast, work, be a part of a book club, exercise, and socialize with friends. Third quarter grades were due Monday which resulted in a weekend of grading rather than planting last weekend as well as two nights of being able to do little more than decompress afterwards by running, cooking, watching movies, and going to hear some free bluegrass.

This weekend, I am going to snowy Mt. Hood to camp out in a look-out cabin, hopefully surrounded by snow since there won't be much or any sun. So while I  hope to read, read, read, I will  not be able to dig, dig, dig. So, where does that leave my garden?

In a sad, neglected state. That's where. My seedlings are somewhat pathetic looking this year, in part because we attempted to put them under grow lights in the basement. I do not like this arrangement. I feel alienated from my plants, because I do not particularly like my basement. Plus, I think it's too chilly down there for them to thrive, and they seem rather stunted and plagued with powdery mildew. Ugh.

I have to read over 200 pgs. of our book club book by Thursday, which I'm hoping beyond hope to kick out this weekend, but after that, my project is to plant seeds outside and baby my little seedlings. I want to move them upstairs and repot them in newspaper. Hopefully, they will be okay.

Boo. I should be posting pictures of tulip magnolias and cherry blossoms. Instead, I rant. Next weekend, I will redeem my little garden.



It's that time of year. The sunshine is more potent, more plentiful. The wind has less bite. The earth smells musky. Everything seems verdant. And there's a frenzy to produce, to do, to make, to get done. Suddenly, everything still needs to be done, the job, the chores, the loving, living, laughing, plus the fierce energy of spring: the planting, the sewing, the tending. Then there are the moments when one must sit, sphinx-like, in a sunny spot. And just sit. In the sunshine. Totally in repose, surrounded by warm light, totally at peace, totally happy. Rare, blessed moments indeed, until it's back to the frenzy. Life seems to be so much about trying to do to do to do; that unquenchable thirst to try and taste everything (youth?) and that desire to sit in the sunshine and rest and soak every.thing. in.