We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are – as far as we know – the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don’t know that, but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we’re combined in such a way that we can describe what it’s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.
~ Mark Strand
If we were having coffee, I would be delighted to see you again. Big hugs, if you are amenable to hugs. Come on in! It’s incredibly warm today, isn’t it? It almost feels like summer. That may not bode well for those of us (me) who don’t care for hot weather. If it’s near 80°F now, what will it be like in July and August?
Let’s get something to drink and nosh on, and take our food and beverages out to the deck. We’ll be in the shade for a while and that should keep us from getting too hot or from getting too much sun. Do you think it’s possible to get a sunburn in this hemisphere during this time of year? I’m not sure, but I’d rather not test it (or have to put sunscreen on just yet because that stuff is obnoxious and makes my eyes burn, even the hypoallergenic varieties).
I can offer you the usual assortment of teas, coffee, and sparkling or still water. I was thinking about making up a plate of nachos for our snack today. It’s an indulgence, but I think we should indulge every now and then. I’ll be sure to pile on lots of veggies with the cheese. If you want something a little healthier, there’s always hummus and veggies.
How are you? What have you been doing lately? Have you gone on any good walks or hikes? Are you seeing signs of spring (or fall) yet? Has life been treating you kindly and well, harshly and not so well, or something in between? Have you traveled anywhere? Seen any new sights? Have you gone to any concerts or plays? Read any good books or seen any good films?
I had hoped to tell you that I finally finished reading The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson. Alas, not yet. I just couldn’t find the time to finish it up this week. I’m almost there, and should be reading something else by the time the next coffee chat rolls around. I haven’t yet picked out the next book to read, but I’m thinking it will be something easy on the brain.
As for films, M and I watched Denial last weekend instead of the Janis Joplin biopic. Elisa mentioned watching Denial in one of her comments so I went looking for it. The film is a historical drama about a Holocaust denier who sues a Holocaust scholar for libel. I thought it was well done. After reading a couple of reviews that mention the film doesn’t quite do the story or book justice, I’d like to read the book. That’s been happening quite a bit to me lately. Back in the olden days, when I spent more time reading (and less time on the internet!), chances were pretty good that if I movie was based on a book, I’d read the book before seeing the movie. Not so much anymore.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that some of the images in today’s post were heavily manipulated by me in order to produce something abstract. It’s something I used to do for the fun of it, and I was inspired by Gabe in his (Almost) Wordless Wednesday post to try my hand at it again. Some of the other images are from a sunset walk in Cambridge, Maryland, one night this week. I took them with my phone. The rest were taken around the ranch this week.
If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that it has been a mostly quiet week here on the Wabi Sabi Ranch. The Great Bathroom Renovation continues. We thought we would be finished by now. *sigh* We’ve had to ask friends and family to put off visits until it’s completed. Hopefully this project will be nearing its end soon. M finished installing the flooring. He’s painting the walls today and will be installing the new toilet sometime this week if all goes well. There have been a few plumbing glitches along the way. I think that’s all taken care of now.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had some huge trees pruned this week. Three of the trees are in the backyard — two loblolly pines and an old oak. They had some dead branches on them that needed to go before they hurt someone. One tree is near the vegetable garden — a pin oak. It was shading the veggie garden during the summer months which retards the growth of the veggies. We thought about cutting it down, but it’s a beautiful tree with a lovely shape. We are hoping trimming it back will be enough. And the last tree is near the cemetery, along the driveway — a loblolly pine that tried to kill my brother when he was visiting over Thanksgiving. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say nothing was broken other than a branch on the tree and he survived to tell the tale.
The branches that were trimmed away were also huge and will give us enough firewood to get through next winter. They put the smaller branches through a chipper and I now have a humongous pile of chippings to use for mulch. The problem with the mulch is that they mixed the pine and oak. I spent a little time reading up on using pine for mulch in the scrounger’s (flower) garden. When all is said and done, it will be best to use it for the path and buy some more hardwood mulch for the flower beds. I read that pine mulch retards germination more than hardwood mulch which will make it perfect for the path as it will mean less weeding. I hope.
If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that I’ve been enjoying my trips to Cambridge to go to boating/seamanship class. M and I took a lovely walk through town at sunset, and had salad and pizza for dinner at Carmela’s Cucina. Both the walk and the food were wonderful. The class this week was about navigation and plotting a course on a chart. Fascinating stuff. We had to plot a course and answer questions about what time we would arrive at a certain spot which also involved figuring out the distance. Did you know that one minute of latitude equals a nautical mile? A statute mile, just for the fun of comparison, is about 87% of a nautical mile.
I learned about using a compass and how to take a fix to figure out where you are and whether or not you’re going in the right direction. Wind, waves, and current can have an effect on your course so it’s a good idea to know how to do that (especially on a long trip). I learned the difference between true north and magnetic north, and how to use the compass rose on a map. A GPS system, of course, does away with needing to know all of that, but what if your GPS isn’t working? Besides, there is something fun about standing over a chart and plotting a course.
If we were having coffee, it would be time to turn this over to you. I have to get out to the garden and start moving some of the mulch around. You are welcome to come along if you wish. You can lend a hand or have a seat on the bench and we can continue our chat. Or you can stay here on the deck and just enjoy the day. When I finish in the garden, it will be time for a walk. Come along if you want, and we’ll see what we can see. The little lawn flowers (such as the Persian speedwell) are in bloom. I hate to say it or think it but… the grass is growing and will need to be mowed soon. In February!! I’m refusing to do it until we reach the month of March. That’s not too far off. That will give us time to get the mower blades sharpened before mowing season commences.
Thank you so much for stopping by, and joining me for another coffee chat. It’s always great to see you. Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to #WeekendCoffeeShare which now has a new home. Thank you to Nerd In The Brain for taking on the job of hosting it, and to Diana for starting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.