May Update

May has been a busy month, with very little time left for blogging or even for processing the various social events, small trips, walks, and other doings, which included:

    • a 5-day trip to Darien, CT to visit a good friend, including a day spent in New York City with another friend whom I’ve known since college (so for 40 years), and part of another day spent at the Philip Johnson Glass House in nearby New Canaan


    • a good friend over for drinks and nosh for a couple of hours one afternoon (served food)
    • lunch with another college friend at a Turkish restaurant (that neither of us had tried before) midway between the two of us in New Hampshire; I saw this same college friend a few days before at a concert she performed in with the Monadnock Chorus in Peterborough, NH
pistachio and almond baklava at Mediterrano
      • several 1-hour tai chi classes (weekly)
      • an art walk around town one Friday evening
      • a permaculture discussion meeting with long-time friends here (brought food)
      • a wine dinner (under the auspices of a wine society) with neighbours and other friends (brought food)
      • two beer-tastings, one at Henniker Brewing in Henniker, NH, and one at Polyculture Brewing in Croydon, NH
    beer flight and BYOP at Polyculture Brewing
    • plant buying at Foundwell Farm in Pembroke, NH (one summersweet, aka Clethra) and at a local farm stand (one spicebush, aka Lindera) … however, no plant planting has occurred yet, though I did plant arugula seeds
    • semi-regular tapas dinner with six other friends (brought food)
    • a few hours helping a friend thin her amazing array of golden and red raspberry canes under a cloud of black flies
    • hosting one of the weekly Friday afternoon salons this month (served food)
    • early springtime walks on seven NH trails
wood turtle at Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Concord NH)
    • a trip to Tower Hill and Garden in the Woods in Boylston and Framingham, MA, respectively
Olivier de Serres lilac at Tower Hill Botanic Garden
    • lots of garden clearing, pruning, and weeding
pile of old iris foliage on 11 May


I’ll be blogging about some of these walks and trips, and of course the emerging garden, in coming days, as I find time, but for now, I’m soon off for another short adventure on Cape Cod.

I’ll leave you with these lovely thoughts from the School of Life’s Book of Life: Chapter 6: Leisure: Getting More Serious about Pleasure :

“Sometimes, without thinking about things too much, we end up in a water park or hosting a barbecue. …

“For too much of life, we assume we may be like everyone else. Only gradually, if we are lucky, do we come to see that our characteristic way of drawing pleasure – from nature, books, films, dinner parties, clothes, travels, gardening etc. – bears the imprint and distinctive timbre of our particular individuality. To lean on an associated example, we learn how to be proper fetishists. The sexual fetishist is to the ordinary lover like the established artist to the novice: they too are someone who has worked out what they in particular really like, and held on to it with rare fidelity and tenacity. While most of us go along with general suggestions of what good sex might consist of, the fetishist discerns their own proclivities. … The fetishist is akin to the artist in having the stubborn presence of mind to defend their own tastes, even – and especially – when these depart from the mainstreams. … Great fetishists, like great artists, know the power of details to generate happiness.

“Most of us are, by contrast, fatefully modest about what we enjoy. We don’t dare to foreground our own discoveries. What we do with our leisure hours is therefore marked by a dispiriting uniformity. We go skiing because we hear that’s meant to be fun. We invite guests around for dinner and talk about what everyone else talks about and have melon for a starter. Our weekends unfold a bit like those of all our colleagues. We die with our particular appetites and intense sensations tragically unexplored.

“To save ourselves, we need the equivalent of an artistic breakthrough. We should – across the board in our leisure pursuits – be prepared to be redemptively weird. If we were to use only ourselves as our lodestar and point of reference, what would a dinner party look like? What would we eat? What would we talk about? Where would we sit? What have we – the we that’s going to be dead in a few decades and will be as though it never existed – enjoyed in the past and might we recreate going forward? … What might we learn to say no to and contrastingly, to emphasise going forward?

“It’s so often drummed into us that we may be selfish and should learn to relinquish our interests for the sake of the community that we fail to notice an even more horrific possibility: that in many areas, we’re not selfish enough. We fail to pay any appropriate attention to our fragile, extraordinary and scarce nature. We don’t give outward expression to our true sensations. We don’t give our weekends and our spare time the imprint of our own characters. We don’t ask our lovers to turn us on as we should. We kill our uniqueness out of politeness and a fear of being odd. We spend far too much of our brief lives defending an impossible idea: that we are pretty much like anyone else.”

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